During the cold war, many Latvians viewed themselves as Europeans trapped at the edge of the Soviet Union, not part of it. Now, the Baltic nation’s leaders are seeking to bind themselves ever more strongly to western Europe by adopting the euro.
Other countries in the European Union are relieved not to be part of the troubled currency club. But Latvian leaders have pressed for membership, convinced that giving up their currency, the lats, in favour of the euro will be a ticket to prosperity and protection. Earlier this month, EU finance ministers approved Latvia as the 18th member of the eurozone, a formality that puts the country on course to begin using the currency on 1 January 2014.
Nearly four years into an economic crisis in the 17-nation eurozone, many Europeans miss the powers they had over long-gone pesetas, drachmas and lira. But Latvia’s aims suggest that for some countries, older ideals of European unity still hold sway.
via The Guardian