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Lithuania’s 2015 Euro Bid on Track as EU Budget Criteria Met

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April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Lithuania pushed ahead with plans to adopt the euro next year as the European Union statistics office confirmed that the Baltic nation’s debt and deficit levels are in line with the bloc’s targets.

The Lithuanian government brought its deficit below the euro-adoption limit -- 3 percent of gross domestic product -- to 2.2 percent last year from 3.2 percent in 2012, Eurostat in Luxembourg said today in a statement. State debt fell to 39.4 percent of GDP from 40.5 percent. Euro aspirants’ debt must be less than 60 percent of GDP.

Lithuania expects final EU approval in July to become the 19th euro nation in January. It would be the last of the three former Soviet Baltic republics to make the switch after Estonia adopted the currency in 2011 and Latvia joined this year.

“The government’s responsible attitude toward fiscal discipline yielded a deficit result that was better than expected,” Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius said in an e-mailed statement from Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

Sadzius said the government, to show its commitment to continued discipline, today approved a draft constitutional law on fiscal rules which, once adopted by parliament, would be enforced independently by Lithuania’s National Audit Office.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net Patrick Henry, Paul Abelsky