“Lithuania’s and Latvia’s progress will be measured next March when all the required macroeconomic data will be known already. We expect the average annual inflation to reach 2.6 percent in both Baltic countries,” Mačiulis said in a press release.
Based on the European Commission’s (EC) projections, in the first quarter of 2013, lowest inflation rates will be recorded in Sweden (1.3 pct), Ireland (1.7 pct) and Spain (1.7 pct), which would put the Maastricht price stability criterion at approximately 3.1 percent and enable Lithuania and Latvia to meet the requirement.
Lithuania’s budget deficit is projected to reach 3 percent of the GDP and be close to the reference value. However, if the limit is exceeded due to unfavorable economic trends in Europe and slowdown in Lithuania’s economic growth, Vilnius will still stand a chance to get a positive assessment.
Although the country’s economic indicators are likely to meet the requirements, Lithuania has not yet stated the official national goal to join the euro zone in 2014, Mačiulis points out.
“Politicians avoid taking the decision or even discussing this issue since the euro’s popularity and the confidence of the public in the future of the common currency have diminished recently,” the analyst says.
The risks to the future of the euro are not minor but are not significant enough to abandon Lithuania’s long-term strategic goal, he adds.