VILNIUS (Xinhua) – Lithuania has reached its turning point in the euro changeover on Friday, when the amount of euro in circulation in the Baltic country exceeded the amount of the former national currency litas, the Bank of Lithuania announced.
According to the bank, euro amounted to 50.4 per cent, while litas 49.6 per cent of all cash in circulation on Friday.
“The public is transitioning to the new currency not only smoothly, but also quickly, and the euro has already established itself in the purses of a large part of the population,” said Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
“We can say today that litas changeover to the euro is approaching the final stage,” Algirdas Butkevicius, Lithuanian Prime Minister, told reporters after meeting of the country’s euro adoption commission on Friday.
All people who still have litas will be able to exchange it free of charge six months from Jan 1 in numerous subdivisions of the country’s commercial banks, credit unions and post offices, while at the Bank of Lithuania this operation will be available for an unlimited time, the bank reminded.
“If there is no urgent need, we recommend you not to rush,” Vasiliauskas added.
On Friday, there was 1.25 billion euros (50.4 per cent) and 1.23 billion euros (49.6 per cent) in litas in circulation. The total amount of cash stands at 2.48 billion euros.
Both litas and euro may be used for payments until Jan 15, while change must be returned in euro. Litas is being exchanged to euro at a fixed exchange rate set at 3.4528 litas for one euro.