Lithuania is ready to adopt the euro coin on January the first 2015 after the European Commission announced that Lithuania had met the criteria for joining the single currency, the euro.
Lithuania will become in January 2015 the 19th member of the Eurozone out of 28 countries in the European Union, and the last of the Baltic states to join reported BBC. The Commission also said in its reports that a formal decision would be made by EU governments next month. United Kingdom and Denmark are the only EU states with opt-outs from the euro while all other countries are expected to join. Estonia was the first Baltic state to become a member of the Eurozone in 2011, Latvia joined to Eurozone on January first 2014 and now Lithuania will be the last Baltic state to join.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, during her visit to Poland, welcomed the decision and said:”We’ll be in the club of the strongest, we’ll be able to take part in the decisions ourselves – right now, we are on the other side of the door.”
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said that joining the euro also gave Lithuania added security in the face of the Russian – Ukrainian crisis.
In order toi join to the euro, the prospective members have to meet “convergence criteria”, which are also assessed by the European Central Bank (ECB), requiring:
- Sound government finances – government deficit no higher than 3% of GDP
- Sustainable public finances – government debt no greater than 60% of GDP
- Price stability
- Low inflation
“In its assessment, the ECB warned that keeping inflation low in Lithuania ‘will be challenging in the medium term’. It is not a secret that Lithuania tried to join the euro earlier but was badly affected by the financial crisis that stroke the U.S. and Europe.
However, EU Economics Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn praised the economic reforms adopted by the government in Vilnius and said ‘That reform momentum, driven in part by Lithuania’s EU accession 10 years ago, has led to a striking increase in Lithuanians’ prosperity,’ he said in a statement” reported BBC.