Latvia is expected to become the eighteenth country to join the eurozone, with formal approval likely taking place on July 9. That means the country is poised to adopt the euro currency over the Latvian lats on January 1, 2014. Here's what you should know as the country pushes closer to joining the currency bloc.
Latvia is in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Lithuania. Russia is touching Latvia’s right borderline. Relatively speaking, Latvia is somewhat larger than West Virginia. Riga is the country’s capital, located near its center.
Latvia has “a small, open economy with exports contributing nearly a third of GDP,” according to the U.S. CIA. Latvia’s geographical location allows its transportation services industry to be vastly developed, along with timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and manufacturing of machinery and the electronics industries, the CIA says. Latvia’s projected 2014 economic growth will clock in at 4.2%, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says.
The Republic of Latvia is a Parliamentary Democracy led by the chief of state: President Andris Berzins and the head of government: Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis. Its Independence Day, from Soviet Russia, is celebrated on November 18.
Latvia’s population is a little less than 2.2 million people. They speak a native Latvian language and consist of 27.8% Russians, according to the CIA. Over 60% of Latvians have an unspecified religion, followed by 19.6% of them are Lutheran.