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European finance ministers ready to welcome Latvia into euro, despite economic problems

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BRUSSELS - European finance ministers are welcoming Latvia's upcoming adoption of the euro currency as a bright spot of progress amid the wider economic gloom.

The Baltic state has won approval to become the 18th European Union country to use the euro from the EU's executive Commission. Finance ministers are expected to give their assent in Brussels on Tuesday.

Finance ministers brushed aside the idea that it might be difficult to enlarge the eurozone while the region struggles to support cash-strapped members, like Greece and Portugal.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan called Latvia's adoption of the euro — along with Croatia's recent joining of the EU — "absolutely amazing when you pull back from the day-to-day workings of the crisis."

Latvia will start using the euro at the start of 2014.

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