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Brussels, 23 July 2013
Commission report: Latvia's preparations for euro adoption are well advanced, but further efforts necessary
The European Commission today adopted a report on the state of practical preparations for the introduction of the euro in Latvia. It concluded that preparations in Latvia are overall well advanced, while recommending further efforts in some areas. Latvia will become the 18th member of the euro area on 1st January 2014.
The Commission today adopted the twelfth regular 'Report on the practical preparations for the enlargement of the euro area'. The report focuses on Latvia, which will adopt the euro on 1 January 2014 following the Council's decision of 9 July 2013 that Latvia fulfils the necessary conditions.
The Commission concludes that practical preparations in Latvia are overall on a satisfactory path. However, the Commission has identified some areas where further efforts are necessary. The Latvian authorities are in particular advised to further increase the number of staff available for the monitoring of dual price display and implementation of the Fair Euro Introducer Memorandum. Possible complaints should be investigated very quickly, with a view to taking a final decision within a maximum of 48 hours. The Commission also advises the Latvian authorities to facilitate euro cash supply of smaller retailers by providing extra small-sized coin kits or specific order facilities, to promote use of the official conversion rate for foreign exchange (FX) transactions in euro already as of July 2013 (with a separate FX charge) and to ensure that all ATMs are timely converted to the euro on 1 January 2014. The changeover preparations by local authorities should be regularly monitored as well as the preparations by enterprises, which have to start at full speed now that the Council decision on euro introduction in Latvia has been adopted.
Following the Council's decision of 9 July 2013, the information campaign on the euro introduction by Latvian authorities is entering its peak period. The Commission advises that the campaign is designed in an efficient, targeted and inclusive manner, in view of providing all Latvian residents with all necessary practical information. Regular opinion polls suggest that rigorous implementation of dual display of prices – in shops, on invoices and on salary slips – is perceived as the most essential activity, closely followed by proving the information via mass media.
The European Commission will reassess Latvia's practical preparations for introducing the euro, including its response to the recommendations set out in the report and the effects of the ongoing information campaign later this year.
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