Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-307"

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"Mr Paleckis, when, during the first half of this year, Lithuania, at the same time as Slovenia, asked the Commission and the European Central Bank to issue an opinion on their degree of compliance with the criteria laid down in the Treaty for membership of the Monetary Union, the Commission's response, which was subsequently backed by the Council, was unfortunately negative in the case of Lithuania and positive in the case of Slovenia. It was negative in the case of Lithuania because, at that time, that country did not comply with the inflation criterion. You have talked about the difference that existed at a particular time between Lithuania’s average inflation over the last twelve months and the reference value, calculated in accordance with the Protocol to the Maastricht Treaty, with regard to the maximum inflation permissible for acceptance as a new member of the eurozone. It is true that the difference at that time was very small, less than 0.1%. Now, unfortunately, a few months later, with the latest data available, which has been published by Eurostat for September’s inflation, Lithuania’s average inflation over the last twelve months differs from the reference value by 0.7%; over just a few months it has multiplied by seven. As I was able to say to the Italian authorities on my recent visit to that country, the important thing now is not to discuss the small difference in the past; in my view, it is not even important to discuss firstly the date or conditions for entry. The important thing at the moment for Lithuania, and for the other Member States that wish to join the euro as soon as possible, is to decide what economic strategy and what measures, within a coherent economic policy strategy, must be adopted and implemented in order to comply with the Treaty’s criteria. In view of the fact that average inflation in Lithuania has increasingly diverged from the maximum reference value, which currently stands at 2.8%, I urged the Lithuanian authorities to define that strategy and I once again offered the European Commission's cooperation in working jointly with the authorities of that Member State in the search for the best strategy, the most effective strategy, for bringing inflation under control without jeopardising Lithuania’s excellent economic growth or the wonderful results that the Lithuanian economy has been achieving in many other respects. I believe that that is not just the attitude of the European Commission, but also of all of the Member States that want Lithuania to comply with the conditions as soon as possible and become a new member of the euro zone, as Slovenia will on 1 January. If Lithuania is accompanied by other Member States, the other Baltic States, then all the better. We cannot change the conditions for assessing whether or not the Treaty’s conditions are met, however, regardless of how much we want our assessment of compliance with those criteria to be positive."@en1

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