July 12, 2013
Latvia will become the common currency area’s newest member in January 2014 — the same time that new tax laws go into effect allowing the country to compete with the likes of Cyprus and Malta. This could further destabilize the European economy.
Rietumu Bank isn’t in Riga’s best neighborhood. The streets are dusty, and graffiti on one building reads: “If Jesus comes back, we’ll kill him again.” The city’s biggest soccer stadium — which opens onto a meadow on one side — is right next door.
This is the scene that bank manager Ilya Suharenko surveys from his top-floor office in the Rietumu Capital Centre. But Suharenko, 30, is optimistic about Latvia’s future nonetheless. European finance ministers on Tuesday gave the Baltic country the go-ahead to join the common currency union on January 1 next year. Furthermore, new tax laws are set to go into effect at the same time. These laws, says Suharenko, will put his country “on a level with Ireland, Malta and Cyprus.”