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Latvian euro coins

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Latvia replaced its previous currency, the lats, with the euro on 1 January 2014,[1] after a European Union (EU) assessment in June 2013 asserted that the country had met all convergence criteria necessary for euro adoption. The adoption process began 1 May 2004, when Latvia joined the European Union, entering the EU's Economic and Monetary Union. At the start of 2005, the lats was pegged to the euro at Ls 0.702804 = €1, and Latvia joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM ll), four months later on 2 May 2005.[2]


Latvia's Treaty of Accession to the European Union (EU) obliged it to eventually adopt the euro. Latvia had originally planned to adopt the euro on 1 January 2008, but for various reasons this was subsequently delayed several times.[3][4] After being elected in 2011, Latvian President Andris Bērziņš announced the official goal was for Latvia to join the eurozone in 2014, saying "personally I'm very optimistic we'll join the euro on 1 January 2014. It's our goal and we are working hard to implement this process."[5] In September 2012, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis reiterated that "Latvia is on track for 2014 and permission to join would be sought in 2013."[6][7]


Before Latvia could adopt the euro, it had to meet five convergence criteria set by the EU. An assessment by the European Central Bank (ECB) in April 2012 found that Latvia met three of the five criteria. The Latvian Finance Minister announced in December 2012 that since convergence checks were only conducted biennially, an extraordinary report would be requested in February 2013,[8] but in January 2013 Prime Minister Dombrovskis stated that for "technical reasons" the request had been delayed until March. However, he was confident that Latvia was "fulfilling the Maastricht euro adoption criteria with a considerable reserve, therefore I don't see any basis on which this convergence report would be negative."[9] The Latvian government formally applied for a convergence check at the beginning of March,[10] and the resulting convergence report, published on 5 June 2013 by the European Commission, concluded that "the Commission considers that Latvia fulfils the conditions for the adoption of the euro."[11] The ECB simultaneously published a report which noted that "Latvia is within the reference values of the convergence criteria".[12] Latvia's adoption of the euro, a legal obligation now that the convergence criteria have been met, was given final approval by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council on 9 July,[13][14][15] and the lats was replaced with the euro on 1 January 2014.[1] The Euro switchover ceremony took place at a site where Latvia’s crisis began – the former headquarters of the collapsed Parex bank, now headquarters of state-owned Citatele bank, which emerged from Parex’s ruins.[16]


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Failed calls for a referendum

Some members of Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, originally pushed for a referendum on euro adoption,[17] but Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis argued that a referendum is unnecessary because Latvians already voted in favour of their EU accession treaty in 2003, which binds them to adopt the euro as soon as the country is found to comply with all the convergence criteria. He argued that, given the legal obligation, a referendum could only serve to delay euro adoption.[18] According to Latvian law, if more than 1/3 of all members of parliament object to a bill, and propose an alternative bill within two weeks of the original bill being passed by parliament, a referendum can be called to allow the public to decide between the two bills. On 31 January 2013, the Latvian parliament passed its "euro adoption bill". Four days later, the biggest opposition party, Harmony Center, stated that it would not support the alternative "referendum bill", which was tabled by the other opposition party, Union of Greens and Farmers.[19] Shortly after this, on 9 February, the referendum proposal had only gathered the support of 4 out of the Saeima's 100 members. These MPs stated that they would turn to the last remaining legal option to force a referendum: gathering a petition of at least 30,000 electoral signatories.[20] Latvia officially requested an extraordinary convergence report to assess their readiness for euro adoption on 4 March 2013.[21] Latvia's Central Election Commission rejected the proposed referendum on 18 March, as the proposed bill was considered not to comply with the Latvian constitution or Latvia's international obligations.[22]

Roadmap for euro adoption

A draft law outlining the euro switchover process was presented by the government's cabinet on 6 November 2012. It specified that:

  • ATMs would stop distributing Lats from 1 January 2014.
  • Both Lats and Euros would be in circulation for two weeks.
  • Post offices would offer free exchange for a month (this was later extended to three months[23]).
  • All shops would be required to have dual price displays for three months before and until six months after the adoption.[24]

The law was passed on 31 January 2013.[9][25]

Euro adoption day Changeover plan Introduction[26] Frontloading Dual circulation
Exchange of LVL coins period Dual price display Mint company Currency circulated
(in units)
1 January 2014 A changeover law was passed 31 Jan 2013[9][23] Big-Bang Bank and credit institutions starts receiving euro banknotes and coins 2 months before €-day.
Retailers also receive coins and banknotes ahead of €-day, between 10-27 Dec.2013.[27]
2 weeks Post-offices:
3 months
6 months
Central bank:
1 October 2013 until 30 June 2014 Stuttgart Mint[28] 87 million banknotes and 400 million coins[29]

Linguistic issues

File:Advertising on a Riga tram using the word ‘eiro’ for the euro.jpg
Advertising on a tram using the word 'eiro' for the euro.

The Latvian Parliament adopted on 26 July 2005 "Regulation Nr.564", outlining that the official Latvian name of the euro currency would be "eiro". In December 2007 the regulation was amended, so that the name in all legal matters would be "euro" and in all non-legal matters "eiro". The ECB was asked to approve this special naming convention, but declined on 13 November 2012 and asked Latvia to repeal either the entire regulation or at least the paragraph that granted the euro currency a special Latvian name.[30] On 4 March 2013, the Latvian Ministry of Justice clarified that while the official name of the currency for all financial and legal documents shall be "euro", the public will continue to be able to use the Latvian name "eiro", furthermore it is required to write "euro" in italics indicating the word is in a foreign language.[31]

Latvian euro design

Latvian euro coins feature three separate designs on the national side,[32] which were publicised in July 2006 on the home page of the National Bank of Latvia. The designs featured were the Latvian maiden, which was featured on the 5 lats coin prior to World War II, on the 1 and 2 euro coins, the greater coat of arms of Latvia on the 10, 20 and 50-cent coins, and the lesser Coat of arms of Latvia on the 1, 2 and 5-cent coins. Originally, it was planned that Freedom Monument would be featured on the 2 euro coin, but the original design did not meet the regulations of the ECB since it reached out into the ring of the coin and changed one of the stars. Latvia decided that a changed design of the monument would not be as recognisable and decided to use the Latvian maiden, used on the 1 euro coin, on the 2 euro coin as well.[33]

For the design of images on the common side and a detailed description of the coins, see euro coins.

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This page is a soft redirect.+Depiction of Latvian euro coinage | Obverse side
€0.01 €0.02 €0.05
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This page is a soft redirect.Lesser coat of arms of Latvia
€0.10 €0.20 €0.50
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This page is a soft redirect.Greater coat of arms of Latvia
€1.00 €2.00 €2 Coin Edge
150px 167px 200px(GOD BLESS LATVIA)
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This page is a soft redirect.Latvian maiden

A tender for minting the Latvian euro coins began on 20 September 2012.[29][34] On 10 December 2012, it was announced that Latvia will utilise the Baden-Württemberg Mint.[28][35] The coins were minted in Stuttgart except the 1 cent, 10 cent and 1 euro coins, which were minted in Karlsruhe. The production of Latvian euros began in July 2013.[36]

Circulating mintage quantities

Face Value €0.01 €0.02 €0.05 €0.10 €0.20 €0.50 €1.00 €2.00 €2.00 CC Total
2014 120,000,000 80,000,000 50,000,000 40,000,000 35,000,000 25,000,000 30,000,000 20,000,000 1,000,000 401,000,000

* No coins were minted that year for that denomination
** Data not available yet
*** Small quantities minted for sets only


  1. ^ a b "Latvia becomes the 18th Member State to adopt the euro". European Commission. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "ECB: Euro central rates and compulsory intervention rates in ERM II". European Central Bank. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Don't look for the Euro until after 2012". New Europe. 18 August 2007. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007. 
  4. ^ "Bank targets 2013 as Latvia's 'E-day'". 26 October 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007. 
  5. ^ Pop, Valentina (15 September 2011). "Latvia aiming to join eurozone in 2014". EU Observer. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Latvia still keen to join single currency despite euro crisis, Guardian 19 September 2012
  7. ^ "Latvia on track to join euro in 2014, says PM". EU Observer. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "INTERVIEW: Latvia to apply to join euro zone in February 2013". Reuters Middle East. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Latvian parliament paves way to euro switch". EurActiv. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Latvia and the euro". European Commission. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Convergence Report 2013 on Latvia". European Commission. June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Convergence Report" (PDF). European Central Bank. June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Press release - 3252nd Council meeting - Economic and Financial Affairs" (PDF). Council of the European Union. 2013-07-09. Retrieved 2014-01-23. 
  14. ^ "Commission: Latvia meets the conditions for adopting the euro". European Commission. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Latvia Wins Final EU Approval to Adopt Euro on Jan. 1 Next Year". Bloomberg. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Latvia caps years of austerity with euro zone membership". Euronews. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  17. ^ Duxbury, Charles (28 February 2013). "Lithuania's New Leader Says Nation Wants Euro". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 March 2013. However, some Latvian lawmakers recently sought a referendum on that country's move 
  18. ^ "If opposition initiates referendum on euro, Latvia will fall behind euro introduction timetable". 10 December 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Latvia's Biggest Opposition Party Won't Seek Referendum on Euro". Bloomberg L.P. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "Four members calls for the suspension of the Euro Law, however, the President will enact the law" (in Latvian). 8 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Latvia formally applies for eurozone membership". 4 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "CEC decided not to register the proposed referendum bill about the introduction of the euro" (in Latvian). 18 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Saeima adopted the euro Law". Saeima. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "Latvia on Road to Adopt Euro in 2014". Sofia News Agency. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "Introduction of the euro Law (No: 459/Lp11)". Saeima. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  26. ^ "Scenarios for adopting the euro". Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  27. ^ "The introduction of the euro in Latvia" (PDF). European Commission. 8 April 2014. 
  28. ^ a b "Latvian euro coins Kal Germany for 5.306 million" (in Latvian). FinanceNet. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "Bank of Latvia Announces Tender to Mint Euro Coins for Latvia". Latvia Today. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "OPINION OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK: On the spelling of the single currency (CON/2012/87)" (PDF). European Central Bank. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  31. ^ "Society and public space will continue to be able to use the word "eiro"" (in Latvian). Latvian Ministry of Justice. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. [dead link]
  32. ^ "The Origins of Euro Coins: Latvia". National Bank of Latvia. Retrieved 12 July 2008. 
  33. ^ "Latvian Euro Coins". Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "Tender Regulation: On the Potential Production, Packaging and Delivery of the Latvian Euro Circulation Coins (Amended by Resolution of Minutes no.3 meeting)" (PDF). Bank of Latvia. 20 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  35. ^ "The Design Models of the Latvian Euro Coins". Bank of Latvia. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  36. ^ "Vācijā sākta Latvijas eiro monētu kalšana". 31 July 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 

External links

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