Speech by Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania at the opening of the Euro Exhibition
Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, 23 October 2014, Vilnius
I am happy you were interested in and found time to come to our .... meeting.
I should admit, just a few seconds ago, I had a doubt about how I should call it. A festivity? A celebration? Or, actually, a working session?
Most likely, it is a festivity. Thanks to our host, we have gathered in a building which has the spirit elevating each and every Lithuanian above the everyday routine.
On the other hand, we have gathered here to learn, to memorise, to prepare. Which means – for work.
Today, in this beautiful palace, we have everything, and I hope and wish for every one of us to get what he or she has come for: beauty (it is abundant here), entertainment, and benefit. Which means knowledge.
The survey data suggests that more than 20 per cent of our population have not seen euro banknotes yet. And 80 per cent know about them or at least have seen them.
I should mention one obvious trend here: many of those who know the euro already support its introduction in Lithuania. While more than half of those who have not seen the euro, do not want it or are cautious about it.
I should say it is normal for a human being, and even wise, to be cautious of what you do not know. Nevertheless, it’s even wiser and safer to find out what it actually is.
This is why we are here today.
We, the Bank of Lithuania, in cooperation with our partner – the European Central Bank, will do our best for the euro – Europe's single currency, which is already used by our neighbours, the Latvians and the Estonians, and by more than three hundred million Europeans, to become well known, to become home currency for to us too.
In order to make this process as smooth and simple as possible, and to avoid unnecessary tension or stress, we are launching an official information campaign today.
In a few minutes my colleague from the ECB, Mr. Ton Roos, and me will open an exhibition which will mark the start of this campaign, and will be one of the major and, I have no doubt about it, most attractive channels to learn more about the euro. You will find both interesting and practical information in this exhibition. You will have a chance to see euro coins from other countries. You will learn what to do when receiving your change in the euro. Moreover, you will learn how to tell genuine euro banknotes from counterfeit ones. If anyone has heard people speaking about a need to buy a new wallet for fitting euro banknotes, you will be able to try your own wallet here.
I was assured that a team of specially trained guides is very „knowledgeable“ and would be able to answer all questions from the visitors. We will see it ourselves soon.
By the way, I would like to point out that this exhibition may be attended free of charge not just today, on its opening day. The exhibition will be open to all children and adult visitors until January 5.
We are sincerely thankful to the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, its director Vydas Dolinskas and all his excellent team for such a possibility, for, I should say, a luxurious venue, benevolence and co-operation in organising the exhibition.
On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I would like to thank the ECB which has already seen and participated in the process of euro adoption in 18 countries, and which has shared its euro introduction experience with Lithuania. Thank you, Ton.
Before coming to meet you here, I checked my working calendar at the Bank of Lithuania once again. And I can assure you, we are almost ready to adopt the euro. We have already minted more than half of the euro coins featuring Vytis, a treasured emblem of the Lithuanian state. They are kept in the Bank’s vaults, waiting for their way to life to start. The euro banknotes are also arriving.
The rest part of the work – to meet, to know, and to accept them – has to be done together with you. Thank you for joining us in that wok today. I wish you an interesting and useful afternoon.