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EU leaders hail Latvia's euro membership
EU leaders hail Latvia's euro membership, await Lithuania to join soon
Associated Press
2014-01-11 03:01 AM

RIGA, Latvia (AP) -- European Union leaders say Latvia's inclusion in the euro bloc has shown that countries can emerge from economic crises stronger and that fears of the common currency's decline were exaggerated.

During his first visit to the country since its accession, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the Baltic state is a "shining example" of how an economy can reap benefits from painful reforms. It is currently the EU's fastest-growing economy

Barroso said Friday that Latvia's joining the eurozone on Jan. 1 was the best demonstration of the currency zone's resilience despite recent predications it would implode due to high debts and recessions in several member states.

European Council President Herman van Rompuy said he expects another Baltic state, Lithuania, to become the 19th member of the eurozone in 2015.

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