[JURIST] The European Parliament [official website] approved a resolution [press release] to allow Lithuania to adopt the euro as their official currency in a plenary session Wednesday. The resolution, which will make Lithuania the nineteenth nation to join the Eurozone on January 1, 2015, was passed by a vote of 545-116. “This is good news for Lithuania, Baltic states and the stability of Europe,” said parliamentary rapporteur Werner Langen [official profile] who praised Lithuania’s improving economy which meets all criteria for euro eligibility. Lithuania joins fellow Baltic States Latvia (2014) and Estonia (2011) in adopting the euro.
Lithuania has recently been under fire for its alleged involvement in the US-led rendition and secret detention programs. In January Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] applauded [JURIST report] a Lithuanian Vilnius Regional Court [official website] ruling that Saudi Arabian national Mustafa al-Hawsawi has a right to investigate his alleged torture in a secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] detention center. AI had previously urged Lithuania to reopen its investigation [JURIST report] into secret CIA prisons in 2011. In January 2011 human rights groups also pressed for Lithuania’s investigation to be reopened, calling the decision to stop the investigation premature [JURIST report]. Lithuanian Lawmakers demanded the investigation [JURIST report] in 2009 after ABC News reported that former CIA officials said that Lithuania provided the CIA with facilities for a secret prison for high-value al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] suspects in order to improve relations with the US. The parliamentary committee concluded that the Lithuanian State Security Department provided the CIA with two secret facilities, but it was unclear whether either facility was used to interrogate detainees.