The European Union hails success of Latvia’s euro switch

The European Union said Monday that the introduction of the Euro in Latvia was going according to plan after the small Baltic nation became the 18th member of the single currency zone last week.

Two thirds of cash payments in Latvian shops are being made with euros and more than a third of Latvian citizens said that they were now carrying only euros, the European Commission said in a statement.

Latvia became the newest country to join the euro zone on January 1, a landmark step towards European integration for the former Soviet nation which is already a member of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“The retail sector has been coping well with the changeover process and parallel handling of two currencies,” the European Commission said.

“No major problems regarding queues or problems at the tills have been reported.”

The transition period for the introduction of the new currency will last until January 14. The lat, Latvia’s outgoing currency that was introduced in 1993 after the fall of Communism, will disappear when the changeover is complete.