Latvia must not lose steam in its drive to adopt the euro, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said on Wednesday, amid calls for a referendum on the planned 2014 move.
The centre-right premier told Latvian public television that the Baltic state must not to "fall behind schedule" in its bid to become the 18th member of the eurozone on January 1, 2014.
Polls showing the Latvian public is sceptical about switching from the national currency, the lats, but the Dombrovskis government has brushed off calls from the left-leaning opposition for a plebiscite.
He is now facing dissent within his own three-party coalition government, however, as members of a nationalist movement speak out in favour of a public vote.
"We are working on it, so that we don't stumble at the first step," Dombrovskis said, when pressed on the divisions.
Dombrovskis and other pro-euro ministers underline that the public backed the eventual adoption of the euro as part of a wider 2003 plebiscite that enabled Latvia to join the European Union the following year.
Despite raising the prospect of a vote, no eurosceptics have launched formal moves to collect signatures to force a referendum, as required under Latvian law.
Unfazed by the eurozone crisis the government argues that it makes sense for a small economy -- Latvia's population is two million -- to join the troubled monetary bloc given that its main trade partners are already inside.
Latvia's business sector also backs the move, with a Chamber of Trade and Commerce survey released Wednesday showing that 65 percent of members favour the euro switch.
Latvia aims to follow neighbouring Estonia, which entered the eurozone in 2011. The third member of the Baltic trio, Lithuania, is eyeing 2015.
All three Baltic states have emerged from what have been among the deepest recessions in the world, and have imposed austerity measures far beyond those applied by West European countries.
Latvia, a former Soviet-ruled republic, has been hailed by organisations such as the International Monetary Fund as an example of austerity bearing fruit thanks to its early completion last year of a three-year, 7.5-billion-euro ($10 billion) international bailout programme.
The rescue was followed Latvia's swing from breakneck growth into a spectacular slump during which its economy shrank by a cumulative 25 percent in 2008-2009.
While its economy is yet to recover to pre-crisis levels, Latvia's rebound has pushed it to the top of the EU growth table, with output expanding by 5.2 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period of 2011.