Estonian Leaders Support Latvia’s Course Towards Euro

Courtesy the Baltic Times (June 6, 2012)

At a joint press conference with the Latvian President Andris Berzins on May 5, visiting Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves declared that Estonia will support the course Latvia has taken to join Europe’s common currency.

Ilves pointed out that those countries in eurozone suffer less from the eurozone crisis than those outside, writes LETA/

“I believe that everyone in Estonia feels safer, because we have euro. Estonia, like Latvia, faced the rumors of national currency devaluation, which scared off investors. The rumors dissipated with the advent of euro,” he stated.

Latvian President Andris Berzins for his part said that after speaking to Ilves about Latvia’s joining euro, he is even more convinced that “this is the road that we must take and we will do so.”

During the high-level conference on the recovery of the Baltic economies, Estonian Finance Minister Jurgen Ligi also said that the euro is also Latvia’s future, and urged Latvia to continue work on moving towards joining the euro-zone.

”The Latvian people have no reason to be pessimistic. Latvia must continue to work and move towards joining the European single currency,” Ligi said.

Ligi added that it would be interesting to find out whether future history books in Latvia would mention that Estonia was used as an example to convince Latvia to join the euro-zone.

Speaking about Estonia’s experience in introducing the euro, Ligi pointed out that the introduction of the euro was a natural and logical decision after tough consolidation measures and structural changes. ”We understood that joining the euro-zone was inevitable, that is why in 2008 we put all of our efforts in joining the euro-zone,” the Estonian finance minister said.

According to him, the introduction of the euro helped remind Estonian citizens that their country is also a part of Europe.

Speaking about the current problems within the euro-zone, the Estonian finance minister expressed the point of view that the biggest problem is for countries to understand that spending is not the only driving force behind the development of national economies, and that countries cannot keep borrowing money all the time. ”It is possible to stimulate the national economy is you have a surplus, but if you have a deficit, the situation is much worse,” said Ligi, adding that Europe has spent too much the past several years, with too little reforms and no savings, thus triggering the crisis.