Lithuania becomes a Eurozone member: the Litas gives way to the Euro
As of 1 January, Lithuania will become a full member of the Eurozone. In his address to the Lithuanian people Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has pointed it out as great achievement for the country, not only guaranteeing economic security, but also providing a possibility to pursue greater financial stability and sustainable economic development.
“The euro will serve as a guarantee for our economic and political security, enabling further economic viability, job creation and rising public wellbeing. I firmly believe that Lithuania will contribute to the strengthening of the euro family. We happen to be among the EU economic growth leaders, and we come to the euro family equipped with determination, focus and energy to achieve the set objectives. We bring in a strong sense of solidarity and partnership,” said the Prime Minister.
Foreign guests include Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas and Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkevičs, who, together with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, will be the first to withdraw the new currency – euro banknotes.
According to Minister of Finance Rimantas Šadžius, the adoption of the euro symbolically completes the three-point to do list of the independent Lithuania: “We joined NATO and the European Union (EU), and now we have become part of the strongest EU financial club, which will enable us to contribute to joint decision making. This creates a strong geopolitical and economic basis for creating a prosperous welfare state, generously embracing all the people of our country.”
“Great work has been accomplished and great work begins. We will still have to make sure that the euro, which tonight entered Lithuania, also calmly and smoothly appears in the purses and personal accounts of all of us. We will still have to come together and work hard so that the opportunities opened up by euro area membership become reality — i.e., real, tangible well-being. The work we have done by now and the testing performed prior to this historical night show that the Bank of Lithuania and the country’s system of credit institutions are ready for this work,“ said Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board.
Cash litas – euro exchange will be effected free of charge by banks, some credit unions and central banks of euro-zone countries, as well as Lithuanian post offices. Money in bank accounts will be converted automatically. For the first 15 days in January settlements in both currencies will be possible.