RIGA, Feb 13 (LETA) - During a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) in Riga today, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said that Latvia's example in introducing the European single currency will be very important for Warsaw, and that Poland is ''crossing its fingers'' for the process to be a success for Latvia.
''Seeing that you will join the euro-zone will become an important indicator and argument in our public debates. We are keeping our fingers crossed for you and we support you. I hope that you will be successful, because this would mean hope for our success would also increase,'' the Polish foreign minister said.
He said that Poland is committed to joining the euro-zone in the future, but that his country is not ready yet, as it still must meet the Maastricht criteria and implement the necessary changes to law and regulations. At the same time, Sikorski also pointed out to Poland's already close ties to the euro. ''In fact, we just not have yet physically begun to print the euro currency.''
''I look upon Latvia with some jealousy, as it has already met the economic criteria to join the euro-zone,'' the Polish foreign minister said.
Sikorski said that even though euro-zone membership is an economic challenge for countries wishing to join the European single currency, Slovakia, for example, which joined the euro-zone during the crisis, has witnessed economic growth.
The Polish foreign minister also praised Latvia's ability to overcome the economic crisis. ''We have closely followed along how Latvia has been capable of overcoming such a crisis. We respect what Latvia has accomplished, and I always mention Latvia as a positive example in my conversations.''
Rinkevics confirmed that Latvia has already met the Maastricht criteria to join the euro-zone, and will in the near future request a convergence report from the European Commission and the European Central Bank on Latvia's readiness to join. ''From an economic and financial point of view, we do not see anymore hurdles in joining the euro-zone.''
The Latvian foreign minister also expressed hope that all 27 European Union members will support Latvia's desire to join the European single currency. ''I truly hope January 1, 2014 will become the day Latvia joins the euro-zone,'' Rinkevics said.
As reported, Sikorski has arrived on an official visit to Latvia today.
During his visit to Latvia, Sikorski will meet with Saeima Speaker Solvita Aboltina (Unity), Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) and Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party). The Polish foreign minister will also visit the Museum of Occupation of Latvia and lay flowers at the Freedom Monument.