Lithuania joins eurozone as its 19th member   2015-01-01 06:40:30

VILNIUS, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania formally joins the eurozone on Thursday as the 19th member of the single currency bloc.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius withdrew the first banknotes of the euro right after the New Year bell. The circulation of euro underlines Lithuania's further integration with the European Union (EU) after it joined the bloc in 2004.

Many of the country's 3 million population welcomed the move. They believe the adoption of euro ushers in a new era of closer relations with European countries and would bring more benefits.

Butkevicius said in January 2013 that Lithuania would seek to adopt the euro in 2015. His cabinet took office in December 2012.

The Baltic country's application to join the eurozone was backed and approved in the middle of 2014 by the EU.

Lithuania's Baltic neighbors Estonia and Latvia joined the single currency bloc in 2011 and 2014 respectively.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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