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EC assesses 8 countries to join the euro area; proposes Lithuania joins in 2015

Zone(s): Europe ¦ Sector(s): European Union
[4 June 2014, Europa website]  The European Commission has released its 2014 Convergence Report, which assesses eight Member States’ readiness to join the single currency. These countries have made uneven progress on the road to euro adoption, but Lithuania stands out from this group as it now fulfils the convergence criteria.

The Commission is therefore proposing that the EU Council of Ministers decide that Lithuania can adopt the euro on 1 January 2015. The Council will take the final decision on the matter in the second half of July, after EU Heads of State and Government have discussed the subject at the 26-27 June European Council, and after the European Parliament has given its opinion.

Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, said: “Lithuania’s readiness to adopt the euro reflects its long-standing support for prudent fiscal policies and economic reforms. That reform momentum, driven in part by Lithuania’s EU accession ten years ago, has led to a striking increase in Lithuanians’ prosperity: the country’s per capita GDP has risen from just 35% of the EU28 average in 1995 to a projected 78% in 2015.”

He added: “The Economic and Monetary Union remains an attractive community to be in. The euro area today has more effective economic policy coordination, a robust financial firewall to safeguard stability and, from this year, a banking union. All of these Lithuania is committed to participating in and to further strengthening. Thanks to the efforts of the past five years, this ship is far better placed to navigate rough seas than it was at the outbreak of the crisis.”

Of the seven other Member States with a so-called ‘derogation’ (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden), none currently fulfil all of the criteria to adopt the euro. Their situation will therefore be reassessed in two years’ time.

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