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Euro – The New Year Gift To Lithuania

This new year, Lithuania is adopting Euro as its national currency.

From Thursday, Lithuanians will start withdrawing euro cash and paying for their purchases in euro as it will gradually replace the litas as the currency of the Baltic country.

There will be a dual circulation period of two weeks, during which the two currencies will be in use alongside each other in order to allow for a progressive withdrawal of Lithuanian litas. When receiving a payment in litas, the change will be given in euro. Lithuanian government had made thorough preparations for this ahead of the introduction of the single currency.

Lithuania becomes the 19th EU Member State to adopt the euro on the 15th anniversary of the launch of the single currency in 1999.

This is a major achievement for Lithuania and for the euro area as a whole, as some 337 million Europeans in 19 Member States will share the same currency.

Commercial banks have received euro banknotes and coins in advance from Lietuvos Bankas, the Lithuanian Central Bank, and have in turn supplied euro cash to shops and other businesses.

A total of 900,000 starter kits with euro coins bearing Lithuanian national sides have been available to the general public since December. Moreover, 110,000 dedicated starter kits have been offered to retailers.

From Thursday, Lietuvos Bankas will exchange unlimited amounts of litas into euro at the official conversion rate (EUR1= 3.45280 LTL) for an unlimited period of time and free of charge. Commercial banks will provide unlimited cash exchange services free of charge until 2015 June 30. Post offices will change litas cash up to the value of EUR1,000 per transaction free of charge until March 1.

Nearly all automatic teller machines in Lithuania will distribute euro banknotes within the first 30 minutes of the new year. To facilitate the process, some banks have extended business hours. Some 50 branches of the largest banks will be open during January 1 afternoon.

Prices will be displayed both in litas and euro at least until 30 June next year. In order to address consumers’ concerns about price increases and abusive practices in the changeover period, a campaign on good business practice upon euro introduction was launched in August.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said “Lithuania’s accession marks the completion of the Baltic States’ journey back to the political and economic heart of our continent.” He said he is “convinced that the Baltic States’ membership in the euro area will strengthen the economy of the region by making it even more attractive to businesses, trade and investment.”

Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, said Lithuania, which has delivered some of the highest growth rates in Europe, “is well-placed to thrive in the euro area.”

by RTT Staff Writer

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