BRUSSELS Jan 27 Lithuania aims to join the euro
next year, seeking to emulate its Baltic neighbours Estonia and
Latvia, the head of the bloc's finance ministers said on Monday.
Joining the euro would cement Lithuania's shift away from
Russia two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union and
provide the euro zone with another morale boost just two years
after a debt crisis threatened the bloc's break-up.
It is the country's second attempt to join, after an earlier
failed bid when it missed a target for inflation.
"Lithuania has expressed its intention to join the euro on
Jan. 1 2015," Jeroen Dijsselbloem said, following a meeting of
the 18 finance ministers in the currency bloc. "They are very
Euro zone finance ministers and the European Central Bank
will decide on whether to admit Lithuania after the European
Commission publishes its a report in early June saying whether
it is ready.
Dijsselbloem declined to give more details on any decision.
If admitted, Lithuanian will join the currency bloc of just
over 330 million people, making it the 19th member and hoping
the decision will help lift trade and investment. Fellow Baltic
nation Latvia joined in January and Estonia joined in 2011.