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Latvia imposes ban on Russian handouts

November 15, 2013, 18:00 UTC+3 RIGA

200,000 Russian-language newsletter copies on transition to Euro currency would not reach their potential readers

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RIGA, November 15, (ITAR-TASS) - The Latvian State Language Center has imposed a ban on using Russian-language handouts about Latvia’s accession to the Eurozone from January 1, 2014, compiled by the Finance Ministry.

The ministry had plans for issuing a special newsletter ‘The Euro. Latvia is Advancing’ in both Latvian and Russian, but since Latvian was the only state language, 200,000 Russian-language copies would not reach their potential readers, the Centre said.

According to the applicable legislation, all state institutions, including the Finance Ministry, could disseminate such information only in the state language, unless requested to provide it in other languages, the Center’s Deputy Director Agris Timushka told the First Baltic Channel.

The Russian-speaking community makes up about 40 percent of Latvia’s more than 2-million population, but Latvian is now the only official language in the country. The Latvian parliament has repeatedly rejected any attempts of the Russian-speaking opposition to change the situation and grant the Russian language the status of a second working language in the national parliament.

In March 2010 the Latvian government decided to join the Eurozone from January 1, 2014. Late last year the country was proven compliant with the Maastricht criteria to adopt the euro. The government, the parliament and the president approved a bill to introduce the euro. On July 9 the Eurogroup comprised of Eurozone finance ministers officially announced Latvia would join the euro area from the start of next year.

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