The EU Council of Ministers Wednesday adopted a decision allowing Lithuania to adopt the euro as its currency from 1 January 2015 saying the Baltic state has fulfilled all the criteria set out in the EU treaties.
The decision will enlarge the euro area to 19 member states, including all three Baltic states, and give Lithuania over five months to prepare for the changeover, said the Council in a statement.
The conversion rate is set at 3.45 Lithuanian litas to the euro. Euro notes and coins will be issued in Lithuania on 1 January 2015.
"The entry of Lithuania into the euro family is not only a crucial event for this partner country, but it is of great importance for the whole eurozone", said Sandro Gozi, State Secretary for European Affairs of Italy whose country holds the current EU Presidency.
"Lithuania's consistent efforts have paid off: today the eurozone has opened the door for us", said Algirdas Butkevicius, Prime Minister of Lithuania in a press statement.