Latvia 2014: Here comes the euro!

It’s probably going to be cold and frustrating morning in Latvia at News Years morning. Not so much because of the weather, but more because of the touchy money change process. At the 1st January Latvians will start buying their products and pay for the rent with euro currency.

Money has always been a sensitive subject, so it’s not really easy to just change your habits of how you manage your expenses. Especially, now when Europe is still facing the consequences from the financial crisis. So it is hard to have 100% positive attitude towards currency exchange from lats to euros.

How is euro seen by latvian eyes?

The debate about euro in Latvia has different opinions. Some people see new opportunities for business and international cooperation, others are worried about the possibility of price increase even though economists say otherwise. And let ‘s not forget the emotional connection to the lats currency which symbolizes our nations independence from the Soviet Russia.

Liva, 23 year old journalist said: “I think people jitter too much around all that euro thing. Lot of people have lack of knowledge, so they just assume government gonna do something bad again.”

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Olafs (23) thinks otherwise:

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Even the pillow has it’s cool and not so cool side, so euro implementation in Latvia has its benefits and losses.

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 Data taken from article “Euro implementation advantages and disadvantages”

For Latvians euro implementation still awaits, but what could we learn from other euro zone participants, who have devoted their wallets to euro currency.

 

ESTONIA – joined eurozone at year 2011

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But after euro was implicated the things started rapidly change in more negative way. Product prices increased, companies rounded up all prices and lot of thing became more expensive.

“People was disappointed, because they believed that euro can solve lot of problems not create more. Also we had to give a donation to the Greece at the time, even we had financial problems of our own. I think it it’s more about bad timing.

Situation is getting better after the crisis so people understand that euro is great way to do business abroad and compare expanses in Europe level. Also traveling got easier because of the euro.

 

SLOVAKIA – joined eurozone at year 2009

After euro was implemented prices went little bit higher and people of course were angry. Some of Slovakians couldn’t got use to the small coins. Also our perspective of the money value changed. We thought the euro is not so valuable, because 60 korunas is equal to 2 Euros. It’s more about perspective on numbers in general.

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 GREECE – joined eurozone at year 2001

“The currency change wasn`t so hard, because people were ready for some changes at that time,” said Greece resident Vivi (27).

vivi-01“At first we had to learn the difference between both currencies, but it was more fun new adventure than frustrating experience. People carried calculators around to see how much things cost now. Suddenly we felt rich. Rich in that sense, that in the past we have to pay 10000 drachmas for pair of shoes, but now it is enough with 35 euros. We saw euro as really valuable money, ” says the girl.

“Of course after the crisis prices went up, but I don’t think the euro is to blame. Some of people want to go back to our old currency, bet I think euro is more competitive in international market. We are better with euro than without it,” concludes Vivi.

 

 Looking at the big picture

So looking at the big picture to the implementation to euro we see Latvia should be ready for little price increase, but from all this comes good things too. Like, easier traveling, international business and faster money transfers.

Maybe we lose one of national identity objects, but we can become more united with Europe market, finance system and development level.

So the main thing that should be done in Latvia is for the government to educate people about the impact of the new currency, so the paying with euro wouldn’t become unpleasant event in the beginning of 2014.

 

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