In June 2013, only 41 percent of Lithuanians approved of dropping the litas, according to a survey by pollster Eurobarometer. The latest poll, published in mid-December, shows that backing for the euro has risen to 63 percent, Dow Jones Newswires said.
Lithuanians’ growing enthusiasm for the currency on the eve of its introduction comes as the past year’s events have once again brought Russia’s tensions with the West to its doorstep.
In Lithuania, lawmakers pushed for the euro in the face of public resistance, citing Lithuanians’ support for EU membership in a 2003 referendum as implicit support for the euro.
Some Lithuanian politicians argue membership in the common currency will bolster the country’s position as Russia intervenes in Ukraine and NATO reports airspace violations and aggressive maneuvering by Russian military aircraft in the Baltics. However, rising support in the nation of 3 million residents also reflects growing faith that the currency offers economic stability, despite some fears of slower growth and higher prices.
Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius says the euro zone is the core of the EU. “It sends a stronger message to Russia, that it is not an alternative to turn away from Europe,” he said, arguing that Russia will sooner or later need to normalize trade and negotiate political matters with the currency area, Dow Jones Newswires said.