OREANDA-NEWS. June 03, 2013. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said at the Baltic Development Forum in Riga that Latvia and Lithuania’s joining the euro area will make the Baltic States even more attractive to investors and will boost economic growth in the region.

“Joining the euro area was and is very important to us. I very much hope that Latvia will join the euro area in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015,” said the Estonian Prime Minister. After joining the euro area, foreign investment in Estonia went up 10.4% within a year while unemployment decreased significantly. According to the Prime Minister, the use of a common currency also increases trade with other European Union member states and generates economic growth.

Ansip added that Europe must act towards deeper integration of the member states, both through transport and energy connections and a digital common market. On this subject the Prime Minister stressed the importance of the Rail Baltica project.

“Take a look at the European railway map – it is practically the same as in the Soviet period – all roads lead to Moscow,” said Ansip for whom Rail Baltica is an important political project, which will connect the Baltic States to the rest of Europe. Good railways are certain to increase trade and to lower transport costs for entrepreneurs, yielding cheaper prices for customers. A modern railway connection will also boost economic growth in the region.

According to Ansip we ought to focus more attention on connections with other European Union member states. “We have to create a real common market in Europe,” said Ansip, speaking about the importance of a digital common market. He took as an example the fact that the Finnish and Estonian social security systems move 20,000 paper documents annually, despite the fact that we have the technology that would allow these to be moved electronically and automatically. “We should not allow this kind of thing,” said Ansip.

The Prime Minister is in Latvia today. This morning the prime ministers of the Baltic States attended the Baltic Development Forum. The forum will be followed by an unofficial meeting of the prime ministers of the Baltic Council of Ministers in Jurmala, where the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian heads of government will discuss regional transport and energy projects.