As committed Europeans and vocal supporters of the further deepening of European integration, we are pleased and very proud that the Republic of Lithuania was able to join the euro area as its 19th member on 1 January 2015. It is also a great pleasure and honour to celebrate this historic step as part of the “Sound of Europe” series.
Choosing 11 March as the date of this event was deliberate – this marks a very special day for our country. Exactly 25 years ago, on 11 March 1990, Lithuania declared the restoration of its independence from what was then the Soviet Union, the first of the Baltic states to do so.
This declaration, which was adopted by the parliament (known as the “Supreme Council – Restoration Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania”), initiated the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire. In its historical and political importance, it is comparable with the fall of the Berlin Wall or German reunification.
As an integral part of the transformation process in Eastern Europe, Lithuania’s regained independence laid the groundwork for essential political and economic reforms in our country and paved the way for us to return to the transatlantic community of democratic states based on the rule of law – where we actually always belonged.
We see our joining the euro family as further consolidation of Lithuania’s independence in its 25th anniversary year. It is also proof of our country’s fiscal and economic reliability and stability, and a further step towards firmly establishing Lithuania’s position in the European Union and NATO as a full member of both with a strong sense of responsibility.
I would like to express my special thanks to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and the staff of the German Finance Ministry for their help in organising “The Sound of Lithuania”.
I hope you have great pleasure in discovering and enjoying the wide diversity of Lithuania’s musical culture, which ranges from traditional folk music via classical music to modern styles.