Preparations for the changeover to the euro are within schedule and public awareness is on the rise

Preparations for the changeover to the euro are within schedule and public awareness is on the rise.
10. 08. 2010
 

Today, on 9 August, a press conference dedicated to the euro was held in the Ministry of Finance, confirming that the preparations of the government and the banks for the changeover to the euro are within schedule and the knowledge about the changeover is gradually increasing among Estonian residents.

The State Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance commissioned a survey, conducted by Faktum & Ariko, on various issues associated with the euro and it indicated that people are generally aware of the main aspects of the changeover to the euro. According to Kalev Petti, Head of Research at Faktum & Ariko, public support for the introduction of the euro has increased in comparison to a similar survey, conducted six months ago, mainly because of increased support among the Russian-speaking population. The share of undecided respondents has decreased as well.

Tea Varrak, chair of the National Changeover Committee that coordinates the technical preparations for the adoption of the euro, said that preparations for the changeover are progressing at full speed and everything proceeds as planned. “I am happy to see that the knowledge of the people about the introduction of the euro has slowly started to increase. We and our partners are doing everything in our power to make the adoption of the euro as convenient and smooth for the people as possible,” assured Varrak. “For each business and resident of Estonia, the most important practical aspects of the introduction of the euro are the organisation of cash circulation and the preparations in the banking sector,” emphasised Varrak.

Riho Unt, Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Banking Association, stated at the press briefing that banks will take good care of their customers during the changeover. “Even though the changeover to the euro is the largest project in the history of Estonian banking, our banks are well prepared for this. A major advantage for us is the high level of electronic banking in Estonia, which means that we are less dependent on cash than the countries that have adopted the euro before,” said Unt. “Private persons, especially active bank customers, do not have to make any special preparations for the euro. They do not have to stand in any queues, because there is no time limit on any operations; kroons can be exchanged for euros for an unlimited time. The process will be particularly simple for the customers who use a bank card, because their money is always in the correct currency,” said Riho Unt, Chairman of the Board of the Banking Association.

Katrin Talihärm, Managing Director of the Banking Association, added that one visit to a bank is all it takes for people to deposit their coins and cash, which they have kept at home, to their account and it is recommended to do that before December. The simplest solution during the period of parallel circulation is to pay with a card. “In December, people are advised to seek out information on any interruptions in the systems of their banks. However, it is already clear that the interruptions in the banking systems will be shorter than initially planned and, for instance, all automated teller machines will have to dispense euros within 48 hours after the changeover. Retailers, unlike private persons, will have to make some special preparations – obtain sufficient amounts of euro cash in the framework of sub-frontloading and make sure that payment systems and other technical solutions are ready,” said Talihärm.

 

    Livia Vosman

    Ministry of Finance

    Public Relations Department

    Tel. 611 3448

    GSM 529 1449

 

    E-mail: Livia.Vosman@fin.ee.