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Lithuania aims to adopt euro in 2015

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January 25, 2013 06:40 AM EST | AP

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania says it will try to adopt the euro, the shared European currency whose future investors were betting against just months ago, in 2015.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius says that his newly installed center-left government would set up a panel to ensure that Lithuania meets all the financial criteria necessary to join the currency zone, including on inflation and budget deficit.

The announcement Friday came as a surprise, given that during last year's parliamentary election campaign Butkevicius had expressed skepticism about rushing to join the euro bloc, which has endured a severe financial crisis for three years. Lithuania, meanwhile, needs to spur economic development.

Lithuania's neighbor Latvia has said it will try to phase in the euro in January 2014 and become the 18th member in the currency union.