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Map by Evan Centanni, from blank map by Ssolbergj. License: CC BY-SA
Article by Karina Barquet
Lithuania Joins Eurozone
Lithuania, a European Union (EU) member state since 2004, just joined the Eurozone on January 1. This makes it the 19th member of the currency union, and the last of the three Baltic States to adopt the euro (the others being Estonia and Latvia). The last country to adopt the euro was Latvia, which joined the zone one year before Lithuania. Up to now, Lithuania's official currency was the litas.
Located in northeastern Europe, Lithuania has a population of about 3 million. In addition to being an EU member, Lithuania is also member of the Council of Europe, a full member of the Schengen Agreement, NATO, and the Nordic Investment Bank, and involved in the Nordic-Baltic cooperation framework.
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However, since 2013 the country has again become one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies, and government debt is well below the EU’s 60% threshold for joining the Eurozone. Lithuania's government has also struggled with public skepticism about adopting the euro, but support grow throughout 2014. This has been attributed to Russia's takeover of the Crimea region from Ukraine, an unsettling event for Lithuanians who remember the many decades their country spent under Soviet occupation during the 20th Century.
See Also: What is the Eurozone?