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Lithuania joins the club of countries that use the euro currency


Lithuania joins the club of countries that use the euro currency

Lithuania’s prime minister has become the first in his nation to withdraw a euro banknote.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve the country officially joined the club of eurozone countries.

WATCH: A recent Real Economy episode on Lithuania’s adoption of the euro

Replacing the litas has been controversial, however, with polls showing half the population are against the move.

But one man in the street said: “Since the borders are gone, the world’s become global.”

“I think it’s the best time to have the euro. If we stay closed and only have the litas, it’s good for patriotism, but it’s better to join the global world with the euro.”

That is also the view of the government, despite the opposition to the loss of the local currency.

Lithuania’s Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius spoke at a ceremony to launch the euro.

“I, like many of you, feel sad that the litas, which has served us well for more than two decades, has disappeared,” he said. “But we have to move forward.”

A former Soviet republic, Lithuania is the last of the three Baltic states to enter the eurozone, moving itself more firmly towards Europe.

The Prime Minister, Algirdas Butkevicius, said the euro would become a “guarantor of both economic and political security”.

READ: Another indepth report on Lithuania’s switch to the euro

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