Estonia is ready for changeover to euro

It was assured at the press conference, which took place today on 28 December in the Ministry of Finance, that Estonia is well prepared for changeover to euro.
29. 12. 2010

According to Tea Varrak, Head of the National Changeover Committee, all the necessary laws have been passed and regulations approved at the state level.

“Currency exchange has been made as convenient as possible. Starting from this that nobody has to do anything special in order to get euros. Euros will be in circulation via ATM’s, bank offices, post offices and retail businesses. Additionally, currency will be exchanged in an unlimited amount and without a specified term,” commented   Varrak.

Commercial banks and the Bank of Estonia, who will be playing the central role in changeover to euro, have declared their preparedness. The preparedness of the banks’ information systems for euro has been tested, transition schedules of settlement systems and electronic bank services have been prepared.

IT-systems of public institutions are ready for changeover as well. “There will be some interruptions in the work of IT-systems during the change of the year but the systems with the largest usability like commercial register will be open for the users already on 1 January at 12 o’clock; the information systems of the Tax and Customs Board will be open for the users by the morning of 4 January at the latest,” said Varrak.

According to Rait Roosvee, Cash and Security Manager of the Bank of Estonia, possible risks have been mapped and the actions for the management of them have been considered. The respective authorities and commercial banks will be in the state of increased readiness before and after the change of the year in order to be able to quickly eliminate failures in case there should occur any.

In connection with preparations for changeover to euro, readjustment of ATM’s will be performed from the evening of 30 December until 1 January, and therefore it will not be possible draw cash from all the ATM’s. Most of the ATM’s will dispense euros in the first hour of the new year. Internet banks will be functioning at full capacity by the morning of 3 January. In order to avoid possible inconveniences, banks advise people to save a sufficient amount of cash. Interruptions in card payments will be short-term for most of the clients of the banks.

“Although lots of the bank offices and the offices of Eesti Post will be open on 1 and 2 January, people do not need to hurry with exchanging currency. Kroon and euro will be equal means of payment until middle of January and all the bank offices dealing with cash will exchange kroons for euros until 1 July 2011,” said Chairman of the Board Riho Unt.

Banks are prepared for a larger work load due to currency exchange. At the same time, banks hope that clients will have an understanding attitude as Unt said.

The opening hours of the bank offices and the offices of Eesti Post can be seen at Euroveeb. In case of questions that arise during currency exchange, it will be reasonable to turn to your home bank.

Rainer Laurits
Ministry of Finance
Public Relations Department
Tel: 611 3035
Mobile: 55 610 991