The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had joined the European Union on the 1st May 2004. All the new member states of the EU are obliged to join the eurozone once they meet the strict Maastricht criteria. Before a country is allowed to join the euro it must stay in the ERMII mechanism for at least 2 years. Estonia and Lithuania joined the ERMII mechanism in June 2004 together with Slovenia. Latvia joined 1 year later (May 2005) together with Cyprus and Malta.
Estonia and Lithuanian had planned to adopt the euro on 1st January 2007. Estonia had later moved its target date to 1st January 2008 and later to 1st January 2011. Lithuania had applied to join the eurozone on 1st January 2007 and had even started the euro changeover preparations, however, its application was turned down because their inflation rate was slight higher than that set in the criteria. Lithuania had even minted some euro coins as a trial. Latvia, originally planned to adopt the euro on 1st January 2008 but it had later moved its target date to 1st January 2014.
Estonia was the first of the Baltic states to adopt the euro. It managed to adopt the euro on 1st January 2011. Latvia just got the approval and will adopt the euro on 1st January 2014. Lithuania is now seriously considering to adopt the euro on 1st January 2015 and thus it is very likely that all the Baltic states will have the euro as their currency by the year 2015.
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