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Friday 23.02.2018 | Name days: Haralds, Almants
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EC official: the euro is in safe hands

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Inna Steinbuka

The euro is a strong currency, which is in safe hands, but the current debate about the future of the eurozone focuses only on how to make the euro even stronger, says Inna Steinbuka, head of the European Commission (EC) Representation in Latvia.

The question whether Latvia will join the eurozone depends on politicians, but to adopt the euro Latvia certainly has to meet the Maastricht criteria, she told Latvian Radio.

Steinbuka acknowledges that there is no time to keep looking for the best solutions to the eurozone crisis. Therefore, the EC President Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday, September 12, will come up with a statement offering to create a single European banking supervisory system.

“From 2008 to 2011, the European countries spent a total of 3.5 trillion euro to save their banking systems. This was done by each country individually. But the EC thinks that if it had been done jointly, the effect would have been better. The banking crisis resulted in the current national debt and budget crisis that we see in a number of countries.”

To address the problem, Barroso will present a proposal for a single European banking system, which shall primarily provide a single monitoring system. If Barroso realizes the idea, then a single institution in collaboration with national supervisors will oversee all EU banks.

According to Steinbuka, if such a system had been introduced earlier, Latvijas Krajbanka would not have collapsed.

“Back then we saw poor cooperation between Latvian and Lithuanian financial watchdogs,” she says.

Whereas, speaking about the stuck train tender, the EC is concerned that the money put aside for the trains still remain frozen, she told TV channel LNT.

She hopes Latvia will not miss out on the EU funds that have already been allocated.

Steinbuka has already previously expressed concern about the delay in the train procurement, but AS Passenger Train (Latvian: AS Pasažieru vilciens) reassures that there is no reason to worry. The public company says it has agreed with the manufacturer of the trains, CAF, to amend the contract in early October.

The procurement foresees a purchase of 34 new electric trains worth 144 million lats (261 million dollars) by August 2015. The EU Cohesion Fund has allotted 100 million lats (181 million dollars), while Passenger Train cofinances 44 million lats (80 million dollars). CAF shall ensure maintenance of the new trains for 30 years.


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