Preparation for the introduction of the euro in Lithuania, date and plan
How will litas be converted into euros?
On 1 January 2015, obligations and agreements of institutions, companies and individuals as well as individual bank accounts in litas will be converted into euros free of charge. Businesses and residents should not worry about it; this will be done automatically. Litas will be converted into euros at the rate of EUR 1 = LTL 3.4528. The amount in euros will be rounded to favor the recipient to the decimal place (where the digit following the last digit, i.e. the place of rounding, is greater than 0, one will be added to the last digit).
Period of using two currencies
How long will it be required to publish prices in litas and euros?
The Law on the Introduction of the Euro in the Republic of Lithuania provides that persons who sell goods (services) are required to begin specifying prices of their goods (services) in the point of sale in both litas and euro in accordance with the fixed conversion rate and rounding rules no later than within 30 calendar days after the date of fixing the conversion rate, and are required to do this for at least 6 months from the changeover day.
Conversion of cash litas to euros
How long will it be possible to exchange litas banknotes and coins for euros after they can no longer be used as legitimate payment instruments that have to be accepted as a means of payment?
Commercial banks will exchange cash litas (banknotes and coins) free of charge for a period of 6 months from the date of the introduction of the euro, i.e. from 1 January 2015. After 6 months, divisions of commercial banks, including those of Medicinos Bankas, enrolled in a list drawn up by the Bank of Lithuania will exchange litas banknotes for euros free of charge for six more months.
AB Lietuvos paštas and some credit unions will exchange litas for euros free of charge for a period of 60 calendar days from the date of the introduction of the euro in offices of Lietuvos paštas and divisions of credit unions. AB Lietuvos paštas has to approve and publish a list of offices that will exchange litas for euros, upon agreement with the Bank of Lithuania. The list of divisions of credit unions that will exchange litas for euros will be drawn up by the Bank of Lithuania upon a proposal of credit unions. At the end of a period of 60 calendar days from the date of the introduction of the euro, Lietuvos paštas and credit unions will be able to exchange litas for euros for an unlimited period of time in accordance with their own procedures.
As of 1 January 2015, cash offices of the Bank of Lithuania in Vilnius and Kaunas will be exchanging litas for euros free of charge for an unlimited period of time.
Will all banks apply the same conversion rate?
Yes, all banks will apply the same conversion rate fixed by the Council of the European Union.
References in legal documents
Will references in the legislation, agreements and other documents be changed after the introduction of the euro?
All references to litas made in the legislation, agreements and other documents will be considered references to euros as of the changeover day. Amounts expressed in litas will be considered amounts in euros and will be converted free of charge in accordance with the fixed conversion rate. There will be no need to modify agreements due to the introduction of the euro, because the principle of continuity will be in force.
Euro banknotes and coins
What kind of euro coins are in circulation?
Currently, there are coins with eight denominations in circulation. They are coined in all member states of the euro area and non-EU countries: Monaco, Vatican and San Marino, which use euro as their national currency. One side of the circulation coins is the same throughout the European Union and is referred to as the common side; the other side varies depending on the member state of the euro area and is referred to as the national side.
As a member of the euro area, Lithuania will also issue euro coins with its national side. National side allows determining the country that issued the coin. National side of the coins bears elements characteristic of each country with 12 stars of the European Union surrounding these elements. Even though the national side is different, all euro coins are valid throughout the euro area. Euro coins vary in size, weight, shape and composition of metal. Coins with high denomination, i.e. 1 and 2 euro coins are of two colors (silver and yellow). Coins with the medium denomination, i.e. 10, 20 and 50 euro cent coins are yellow, while those with small denomination, i.e. 1, 2 and 5 euro cent coins are copper-colored.
Circulation coins of all countries are valid throughout the euro area; therefore, they will have to be accepted in Lithuania after the introduction of the euro in our country.
The common side of 1, 2 and 5 euro cent coins bears an image of Europe, Africa and Asia on a globe.
What will the national side of circulation euro coins issued in Lithuania look like?
Circulation euro coins issued in Lithuania will bear three images with the Lithuanian state emblem Vytis designed by a sculptor Antanas Žukauskas. The Vytis will be surrounded by 12 stars: on 1 and 2 euro coins, it will be against the background of vertical lines; 10, 20 and 50 euro cent coins, against the background of horizontal lines; 1, 2 and 5 euro cent coins, against a plain background.
Will it be possible to make payments in circulation euro coins issued in Lithuania in other countries after the introduction of the euro?
Yes, all circulation euro coins issued in Lithuania will be a valid means of payment in all countries of the euro area and other countries using the euro. This means that you will be able to use circulation euro coins issued in Lithuania in, for example, Spain, while Finnish euro coins will be valid in Lithuania.
More details on the relevant issues related to the introduction of the euro in Lithuania can be found on the website of the Bank of Lithuania at www.euro.lt.