Latvia makes formal bid for eurozone entry

Latvia has signed its formal bid to join the troubled eurozone. 

It paves the way for the Baltic state to become the 18th eurozone member. 

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has made eurozone entry the centrepiece of his four years in power. 

On Monday, he waved aside concerns that the political impasse in Italy might lead the eurozone into a new crisis. 

Financial experts from the European Commission are expected in Riga to check Latvia's books in coming weeks. 

Their report will be submitted to the European Commission and Europe's finance ministers for approval in June. 

It will then go to the European Central Bank which will deliver its own verdict in July. 

If all goes to plan, Latvia will replace its currency with the euro next January.