EU Lawmakers Back Lithuania’s Bid to Join Euro Currency in 2015

European lawmakers endorsed Lithuania’s bid to adopt the euro, with the ex-Soviet republic scheduled to become the 19th member of the single currency next year.

Approval by the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee in Brussels today means Lithuania remains on course for final consent in July to join the bloc on Jan. 1.

The country is forecast to meet the single currency’s membership criteria, which “demonstrates the extraordinary determination of the Lithuanian government to adopt the euro as quickly as possible,” Werner Langen, a German member who is spearheading the issue in the European Union’s 28-nation parliament, said in a statement.

Lithuania would become the last of the three formerly Soviet Baltic states to become a euro member after Estonia adopted the currency in 2011 and Latvia joined in January this year. It is set to be given final approval by EU finance ministers after endorsement by the EU’s full parliament and reports from the European Commission and European Central Bank.

Lithuania was barred from entering the euro at its first attempt in 2006 because of fears about rising inflation. The country has made huge progress since, Vitas Vasiliauskas, Lithuania’s central bank chief, told Bloomberg News on April 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Kevin Costelloe, Eddie Buckle

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