Eastern Europe Pressure to Aid Greece ‘Not Good,’ Lithuania Says
By James Neuger and Milda Seputyte
Pressure on eastern European countries to aid richer euro-region countries such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland is "not very good," Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said.
"In the euro zone, there are a few countries, which are new members, less developed, who are now under pressure to extend the hand of help," Grybauskaite said in an interview ahead of the European Union's summit in Brussels on June 23.
"This is not a very good situation."
European governments, including Slovenia, Slovakia and Estonia, the euro region's newest members from the east, and the International Monetary Fund are providing 273 billion euros
($389 billion) of aid to Greece, Ireland and Portugal after debt and deficit levels ballooned.
The euro-region's crisis is giving other eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary an excuse to delay switching currencies. The three countries, which joined the bloc in 2004, have suggested they may delay adopting the common currency because of concern about the costs of bailing out Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Grybauskaite declined to give a date on when Lithuania may adopt the euro, adding that inflation, which accelerated to 5 percent in May, is the biggest obstacle to the country's euro adoption plans.
Lithuania's government should decide when to adopt the euro only after meeting all the necessary criteria because the situation in the currency union may change, Finance Minister Ingrida Simonyte said last month.
"The costs and benefits of being in the euro zone now look somewhat different to what they seemed a few years ago,"
Simonyte told Ziniu Radijas on May 23. "I'm not sure how much of these costs are acceptable to us."
Press Service of the President