The finance minister of Latvia, Andris Vilks, Tuesday handed to the EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, Olli Rehn, his country\'s formal request to be a member of the single euro currency zone on 1 January 2014. The European Commission and the European Central Bank will each make \"an objective and profound assessment of Latvia\'s readiness to join the euro area. We will present the conclusions of our assessment in the Spring by late May, early June,\" Rehn told reporters after the meeting. \"Latvia\'s decision to request entry to the euro area shows how much progress the country has made in getting its economy back on track, following the very deep economic crisis of 2008-2009,\" he said. Rehn noted that Latvia now has the fastest rate of GDP growth in the EU and has the second highest rate of export growth in the EU. \"Let me also stress that Latvia\'s request is another sign of confidence in the euro,\" he added. On his part, Vilks said \"it is very important for us to have the Euro. It should be one very important instrument for our growth and economy. it is very important, even for the Euro zone. It could be a very strong valued added in the Eurozone.\" If accepted, the Baltic country will become the 18th member of the euro area.