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EU says successful Euro changeover in Estonia

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EU says successful Euro changeover in Estonia

2011-01-18 05:28:33 GMT+7 (ICT)

BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) -- The European Commission on Monday announced that Estonia underwent a successful Euro changeover as the dual circulation period ended last Friday.

The Commission set a deadline for a dual currency circulation period in which both the Estonian kroon and the Euro were used as citizens of the Balkan country got used to the new currency.

"This successful and smooth changeover is no coincidence. It is the result of careful preparations, in close contacts with the Commission and the ECB," said Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs.

After adopting the Euro as currency, Estonia became the 17th member of the Euro zone. The changeover process was made through a two-week gradual transition and has been described as 'very smooth and successful.'

No major problems were encountered and banks, post offices and retailers were coping well with the extra workload caused by the changeover process and the parallel handling of two currencies.

In addition, those Estonians still having kroons can exchange them for euros without a fee at all bank branches in the Balkan country. ATMs are distributing Euro banknotes as from the first hour of January 1.

Until last Saturday, 13 percent of Estonians still had some kroon bills in their possession. Starting in June, people will not be able to exchange them for Euros in all bank branches but only at the Estonian Central Bank for an unlimited period of time.

Ahead of the adoption, banks have supplied Euro cash to shops and businesses under contract so they can handle payments and return change in Euros starting on Saturday. With the addition of Estonia to the Euro area, over 330 million people will share the same currency.

During the first day, most Estonian paid using kroons in order to get euros in change and avoid having to go to banks to exchange currency. However, at the end of the second day, 26 percent of people paid using euros and 92 percent of businesses were returning euros.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-01-18

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