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    Lithuania's Minister of Finance Rimantas Sadzius holds a euro banknote during an event celebrating Lithuania's joining the euro zone in Vilnius January 1, 2015

    Goodbye Litas, Hello Euro as Lithuania Completes Currency Switch

    © REUTERS / Ints Kalnins
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    Two-week transition period ended, the euro became the only legal currency in Lithuania. Litas are still in use until for indefinite period, but change is returned in euros.

    MOSCOW, January 16 (Sputnik) — The euro has become the only legal currency in Lithuania, completely replacing its national currency, as a two-week transition period has come to an end, a European Central Bank (ECB) press release said Friday.

    "The smooth changeover in Lithuania has been the result of cooperation among numerous stakeholders at national and European level. It is not only an enormous logistical achievement, but it is also a significant milestone for Lithuania, strengthening the ties between the country and its European partners, and highlights the continued attractiveness of the euro," ECB executive board member Yves Mersch said in the press release.

    During the transition period, transactions could still be made in litas, though change was returned in euros. The Lithuanian Central Bank will exchange litas for euros for an indefinite period. Until February 28, Central Banks of other EU countries will also exchange litas for euros. However, outside Lithuania, the maximum sum that can be changed will be limited to 1,000 euros per transaction, according to the press release.

    The cash supply in Lithuania is 132 million euros in banknotes and 370 million euros in coins. The cash will be distributed via Central Bank branches, cash machines, commercial banks, credit unions and post offices.

    In December 2014, a survey ordered by the ECB showed that 76 percent of Lithuanian citizens were ready for the changeover.

    On January 1, Lithuania became the 19th European Union member to adopt the euro. The European Commission announced Lithuania's accession to the euro zone in June 2014.


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