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BRUSSELS, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) Wednesday adopted a decision allowing Lithuania to adopt the euro as its currency, the council of EU said in a statement.
The decision will enlarge the eurozone to 19 member states, including all three Baltic States.
"Lithuania's consistent efforts have paid off: today the eurozone has opened the door for us," said Algirdas Butkevicius, Prime Minister of Lithuania. "The adoption of the euro has been Lithuania's strategic step, well thought-out economically and politically, to foster national economic growth."
Lithuania is given over five months to prepare for the changeover and the EU sets permanent conversion rate at 3.45280 for the Lithuanian litas to the euro, the statement said.
Euro notes and coins will be issued in Lithuania on January 1, 2015.
Two-yearly reports from the European Commission and from the European Central Bank (ECB) assess the readiness of non-euro member states to adopt the euro. The most recent reports, issued on June 4, confirm that Lithuania is ready to join the currency union.
Xinhua is China's state-run news agency.
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