Bank of Lithuania

A new collector silver coin dedicated to Lithuania’s membership in NATO and the European Union (EU) was presented to the public today at Šiauliai Air Base, where the military air forces of NATO countries have been safeguarding the airspace of the Baltic countries on a rotational basis for 20 years now.

During the ceremony Gediminas Šimkus, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, presented the new coin to Major General Harold Van PEE, NATO’s first Baltic QRA Force Commander and the current Commander of Nato’s Combined Air Operations Centre, thereby expressing symbolic gratitude from the people of Lithuania for the fact that pilots from Belgium were the first to start the NATO Air Policing mission on 29 March 2004.

“Exactly twenty years ago Lithuania made historic decisions: joining NATO and joining the European Union. A decade later, we introduced the euro. Lithuania has become a democratic and prosperous member of the Western family. Our new coin commemorates these important events for Lithuania,” said Gediminas Šimkus, who, along with other event participants, observed a flyover by forces on the NATO Air Policing mission.

The new Bank of Lithuania coins were gifted to other high-level representatives of NATO forces in Europe, President Gitanas Nausėda, Minister of National Defence Laurynas Kasčiūnas, Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Valdemaras Rupšys, who attended the ceremony held at Šiauliai Air Base.

The denomination of the coin is €20. The centre of both the obverse and reverse bears the tricolour, symbolising the independence of the Lithuanian State, which provided the basis for becoming a full member of both NATO and the EU. The flag on the reverse is surrounded by NATO and EU symbols alongside the dates of Lithuania’s accession to NATO and the EU: 29 March 2004 and 1 May 2004, respectively.

In the background of the coin are Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty on collective defence in case of aggression written in microtext as well as the musical notes of the EU anthem – Ode to Joy from Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which celebrates the common values of European life.

The collector coin was designed by Antanas Pocevičius. The mintage of the coin is 2,000. The coins were minted by the Lithuanian Mint.

The Bank of Lithuania has also previously issued a numismatic set of litas circulation coins with a commemorative sign dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Lithuania’s accession to the EU and NATO (in 2014).