Tuesday

21st Feb 2017

Lithuania expresses 'will' to join euro in 2015

Lithuania is determined to become the 19th member of the eurozone in 2015, the country's finance minister confirmed on Tuesday (28 January.

"We have expressed our will to be in the eurozone," finance minister Rimantas Sadzius told reporters before the start of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The meeting was the first under the Greek government's six month EU presidency.

"I think that it is symbolic that Greece, which encounters certain problems in its development, is challenged with a successful EU presidency and Lithuania shows also the sign that the eurozone has a perspective..that this is a very good project and we subscribe to it," Sadzius added.

The Baltic country became the first and only country to be rejected for euro membership in 2006 after missing the target inflation rate and has since seen its neighbours Estonia and Latvia join the currency bloc in 2011 and 2014 respectively.

But the Baltic country also views membership of the currency bloc as a politically symbolic move just two decades after achieving independence from Russia.

Earlier this month, prime minister Algirdas Butkevicius stated that he would resign if his country did not join the single currency at the start of 2015.

For his part, economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said "Lithuania aims at following the path of its neighbours during the Greek presidency."

Eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem commented that Lithuania was "very determined" to join the euro in 2015.

The country's finances are in good enough shape to suggest that it will encounter few problems in its accession bid.

The Lithuanian economy grew by 3.4 percent in 2013 and is expected to reach a similar rate this year.

Closer attention will likely be paid to the country's budget deficit, which is expected to fall to 2.5 percent in 2014 from 3 percent in 2013, the highest figure allowed under the EU's stability and growth pact.

Its government debt burden stands at 40 percent, well below the 60 percent threshold.

Meanwhile, the country's banking sector is small by EU standards and, unlike neighbouring Latvia, has not been a target for foreign savers, particularly from Russia and Ukraine.

The final decision on Lithuania's euro bid will be taken by governments in July.

Reports by the European Central Bank and Commission assessing the country's economic readiness to join are to be published at the beginning of June.

Brussels defends Lithuania euro verdict despite new data

A day after the European Commission rejected Lithuania's bid to join the eurozone, fresh data shows the country would reach the allowed rate of inflation. But Brussels is sticking to its opinion, arguing the country's price stability is not "durable."

Lithuania set to join eurozone in 2015

Lithuania is set to become the nineteenth member of the eurozone after the European Commission gave its membership bid the green light.

News in Brief

  1. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms
  2. EU commission denies Juncker resignation rumour
  3. US "strongly committed" to cooperation with EU, says vice-president
  4. Wilders pulls out of second Dutch election TV debate
  5. Russia to recognise passports from breakaway Ukraine regions
  6. Pro-refugee marchers swarm through Barcelona
  7. Renzi seeks party's support
  8. EU probes China-funded rail project

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty