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Newcomer Lithuania to get first euros from Germany

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, second right, speaks with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, second left, and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, center, during a round table meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels August 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

VILNIUS: Lithuania will receive its first euro banknotes from Germany when the Baltic state becomes the 19th member of the eurozone on January 1, the central bank said Thursday.

The Bundesbank will lend the eurozone newcomer 132 million individual banknotes from its vaults, delivering them by the end of the year.

"In 2016, when we print banknotes at one of the European Central Bank-accredited printing houses, we will return them," central banker Vitas Vasiliauskas said in a statement.

The nation of three million people is meanwhile minting its own euro coins. While the banknotes are the same across the bloc, every nation can choose its own national symbols for the coins.

The Lithuanian coins will feature the national coat of arms of a knight on horseback carrying a sword and shield - gracing the country's currency since the 14th century.

Lithuania's entry into the eurozone next year will complete a Baltic embrace of Europe's single currency. Neighbors Estonia and Latvia joined in 2011 and 2014, respectively.

 

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