News Summary: Latvia takes step to joining euro

News Summary: Latvia takes big step to becoming 18th euro country despite domestic concerns

Associated Press

STEP CLOSER: Latvian lawmakers passed legislation Thursday that brought European Union membership one step nearer despite worries among Latvians who associate the euro with unemployment, recession, debt, crisis and bailouts.

FORMAL REQUEST: Latvia intends to send a formal request to the European Union next month asking permission to adopt the euro — a request that, if approved, would make it the 18th EU country to use the common currency.

ATTRACTING INVESTORS: The government believes that joining the euro bloc will attract investors to the small, open economy that at the start of the global financial crisis saw economic activity collapse by nearly 25 percent.

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