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Money

Lithuania to adopt euro currency in 2015

The European Commission and the European Central Bank have approved Lithuania's application to join the euro currency union, positioning the Baltic state to become the bloc's 19th member.

Lithuania is set to adopt the euro currency in 2015, following a decision by the European Commission and European Central Bank on Wednesday.

The largest of the Baltic states and the last one to join the euro, Lithuania has managed to fulfill all of the requirements of joining the common currency, from tempering inflation to keeping its government deficit in check, the Commission said.

"Lithuania's readiness to adopt the euro reflects its long-standing support for prudent fiscal policies and economic reforms, " EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn said.

Lithuania will become the euro zone's 19th member when it enters the currency union on January 1 next year.

Other criteria for joining the currency bloc include maintaining a stable exchange rate and ensuring price stability. A candidate country must also have its public balance sheets in order as public debt cannot exceed 60 percent of GDP.

According to European law, EU member states still have to approve the decision, which was reached by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. A vote is expected in July.

Joining the euro once a country meets the criteria is compulsory for all EU member states except Britain and Denmark. Those still waiting to adopt it include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden.

cjc/uhe (Reuters, dpa)