John J. Halloran, Jr., P.C.

January 1, 2014
Developments in Latvia, Greece, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Brussels

The new year has ushered in several European legal developments that warrant special note.

On January 1, 2014:

  • Latvia adopted the euro as its official currency and became the 18th member state of the eurozone. In a statement released on January 1, 2014, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis underlined the importance of transition to euro: “Introduction of single European currency will give our country a number of economic benefits. It will boost our economic growth, prosperity and raise our living standards. It will help us strengthen our national security and welfare. This step also bears geopolitical importance, as we join the currency that is used by more than 320 million citizens of Europe we become a full-fledged member of the European family and strengthen our national identity. Our Milda will now grace the coins of the second strongest currency in the world – the euro.”
  • Greece assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which position was held by Lithuania through December 31, 2013. On December 18, 2013, Dimitris Kourkoulas, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, stated. “The job is well done by Lithuania. We know that Europe goes through a crucial transitional period and the high level of unemployment has eroded the confidence of EU citizens. The big challenge of the EU is to reaffirm its mission to the hearts and minds of its people.”
  • Employment barriers within the EU were lifted for citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, who are now able to fully exercise their right to work in all EU countries without a work permit. On January 1, 2014, László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, stated: “The free movement of people has been one of the cornerstones of EU integration and of the EU's Single Market. This right is one of the most cherished by Europeans, with over 14 million of them studying, working or retiring in another Member State. In fact, free movement is the right most closely associated with EU citizenship.”

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