Riga, August 16, 2004

The Results
On January 21, 2004, the Bank of Latvia announced a nation-wide open idea competition aimed at identifying the public opinion on the symbols and motifs to be used on the reverse of the Latvian euro coins. By the closing date of the competition, April 1, 2004, the Bank of Latvia had received 1 088 design proposals. The evaluation of the proposals is over and the winner whose ideas are likely to feature on the Latvian euro coins has been nominated.

The first prize of 1 000 lats was awarded to the proposal under the motto "Freedom - A European Value!" submitted by Ilze Kalniņa from Jēkabpils. The author proposed three motifs: the Latvian maiden featured on the silver 5 lats coin for the 2 euro coin, the Freedom Monument for the 1 euro coin, and the coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia for the euro cent coins. Though the Competition Committee took a resolution to implement this proposal, the designs and their display on the coins may be subject to certain adjustments made in the process of designing and after the specification of technical and technological implementation details by the mints involved.

The Competition Committee shared the view that the three motifs - the Freedom Monument, the Latvian maiden featured on the 5 lats coin prior to World War II and the coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia are the symbols of Latvia and the nation's basic values - the people's love for their homeland, the longing and struggle for freedom, and the pride in their country and its people. As the euro coins are legal tender across the entire euro area irrespective of their "national origin", and hence their use is not limited to the nationals of the issuing country, these clear and easy to remember symbols will help promote the image of Latvia both in Europe and across the world. Moreover, the given motifs ranked among the five proposed most often.

The Bank of Latvia is pleased with the competition results for the euro coin design. The number of proposals at the nation-wide competition and their quality are a vivid testimony of the importance the people attribute to the design of the currency which will make Latvia's values known to the world. At the same time, the competition is an assertion of the nation's pride in the country and an optimistic outlook for Latvia's future within the European Union.

Future Events
Jointly with artists, the Bank of Latvia will develop the visual concept of the coins, giving due consideration to the common design of the euro coins and the technical requirements of the mints involved. Afterwards, graphic designs and plaster casts of the coins will be developed.

The Bank of Latvia will strike the national euro coins only after it has received the assessment of the European institutions on the maturity of Latvia to participate in the Economic and Monetary Union. According to the current strategy, Latvia is likely to receive such an assessment around mid-2007. Then there would be six months left for striking and delivering the coins by the projected introduction of the euro, i.e. January 2008.