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The key to Latvia’s future lies in Brussels. Membership of the EU would speed the country towards greater political and economic stability. Exclusion from the latest round of EU enlargement discussions was a major setback. Latvia failed to make sufficient progress with economic and other reforms for entry, but there are many good indicators. Inflation is the lowest in former communist states. Growth is expected to exceed 5% again in 1998 and the budget is in surplus. The national currency, the lat, is kept stable by an independent central bank.

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