Depicting the Chaser: Lithuania starts minting euro coins (video)

The Lithuanian Mint started making Lithuanian 1-euro coins on June, 16. Lithuania is to introduce the euro on January 1, 2015.

On June, 4 the European Commission announced that the former Soviet republic that failed to meet Eurozone entry criteria in its bid eight years ago had brought inflation, debt and other economic health indices within European Union parameters and is now ready to integrate into the community of euro users.

{movie}Lithuanian starts minting euro coins.|right|17018{/movie}

Prospective members have to meet ‘convergence criteria’ which are also assessed by the European Central Bank (ECB), requiring sound government finances – government deficit no higher than 3% of GDP; sustainable public finances – government debt no greater than 60% of GDP; price stability; low inflation.

Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, said: ‘Lithuania’s readiness to adopt the euro reflects its long-standing support for prudent fiscal policies and economic reforms. That reform momentum, driven in part by Lithuania’s EU accession ten years ago, has led to a striking increase in Lithuanians’ prosperity: the country’s per capita GDP has risen from just 35% of the EU 28 average in 1995 to a projected 78% in 2015.’

According to the Lithuanian Central Bank, every year the country’s budget lost appr. 2 bn litas (2% of GDP) on exchange and foreign loans’ servicing.

Of the seven other member States with a so-called ‘derogation’ (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden), none currently fulfil all of the criteria to adopt the euro. Their situation will therefore be reassessed in two years’ time. The UK and Denmark are the only EU states with opt-outs from the euro.

Lithuania will become the 19th nation to adopt Europe’s common currency next year when it joins other Baltic republics in the Eurozone.


The coat of arms of Lithuania, consisting of an armour-clad knight on horseback holding a sword and shield, is also known as Vytis (‘the Chaser’). From 1991 to 1995 Belarus had a very similar coat of arms, the Pahonia, which once was the official symbol of the Grand Principality of Lithuania. In 1995 President Aliaksandr Lukashenka replaced it with a modified Soviet emblem. Since then the Pahonia has served as one of the symbols of the anti-Lukashenka opposition in Belarus.

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