Tiny Baltic country would be 18th member of troubled currency union

The European Union's executive arm has given tiny Latvia the go-ahead to become the 18th country to join the troubled euro currency union next year.

EU officials say that Latvia's desire to join is a vote of confidence in the shared currency and disproves predictions that the eurozone might break up. The current 17-country group has struggled since 2009 with too much government debt, compounded now by a slack economy.

The European Commission gave the thumbs up Wednesday after a required review. A final decision will be made by eurozone finance ministers July 9.

To join, Latvia had to show it could control inflation, deficits and government debt. Still, many Latvians are skeptical and anti-euro parties won more than half the vote in elections in the capital, Riga, last weekend.