Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the European Central Bank, I would like to thank you all for accepting our invitation today and would especially like to thank most warmly Governor Vasiliauskas and his team at Lietuvos bankas for organising today’s event.
As you know, we are here today to launch the Lithuanian euro information campaign and to open the Euro Exhibition.
But before we do so, I should point out we are in the perfect location for today’s event and for the exhibition. The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is both a uniquely Lithuanian as well as a truly European building. Over the centuries, it has been influenced by a whole range of architectural styles. Originally built in the Gothic style, the Palace subsequently incorporated Renaissance and Baroque elements – and these are precisely the styles of the 20, 50 and 100 euro banknotes respectively. Today, splendidly reconstructed, the building even contains a few elements from 20th century architecture – the main style of the 500 euro banknote.
As a result, this is a very appropriate place to celebrate the most recent chapter in Lithuania’s European history – joining the euro. A special thank you, therefore, goes to Mr Dolinskas and the staff of the Palace for making this venue available.
But adopting the euro is not just about symbols. It’s also a lot of work, involving huge logistical preparations. We’re talking about a total of 132 million euro banknotes and 370 million coins, which will form the initial supply of cash to Lithuania. This cash will enter into circulation via Lietuvos bankas’ branches, the wide network of ATMs, commercial banks, credit unions as well as post offices, which are particularly important for rural communities. Preparations are progressing smoothly.
To help Lithuanians get to know their new currency, the ECB and Lietuvos bankas will conduct a communications campaign, which officially starts today. The main aim of this campaign is to show people what the euro banknotes look like and how to check their security features, which are so important in the fight against counterfeiting.
One of the key messages of the euro campaign will be to show how the euro is a currency that brings together 338 million people within the euro area, all of them using the same notes and coins. The campaign film entitled ‘Journey’ follows a euro banknote as it passes from hand to hand, moving from Paris to Rome and then to Berlin, finally ending up here in Vilnius. Another film called ‘Meet Our Money’ introduces the feel, look and tilt method of checking the banknotes.
The citizens of Lithuania themselves play a crucial part in the success of this campaign. To ensure that they have the information they need about their new currency, we will use a range of media, including TV, the internet, print and outdoor advertising, as well as publications, such as a leaflet which will be sent to every home in Lithuania.
The campaign is a result of close cooperation between the ECB and Lietuvos bankas. The central visual element of the campaign will be a Lithuanian family, played by actors, who will appear in most of the campaign material. Allow me to say a special thank you to everyone involved, in particular the actors as well as the Lithuanian production house and agency for their commitment.
And now, let us launch the campaign with the first public showing of the films.
I would like to conclude with a few words about the Exhibition itself. It has travelled to 15 cities in 12 countries and has been visited by almost 300,000 people since it first opened in 2008. I am very glad to see it here in Lithuania and in particular in this magnificent setting. The Exhibition includes modules on the history of money, the security features of euro banknotes, educational games and interactive displays. I hope you will enjoy this exhibition as much as I have.
To open the Exhibition, I would now like to invite Mr Vasiliauskas to join me on the stage.
European Central Bank
Directorate General Communications and Language Services,
Kaiserstrasse 29, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Tel.: +49 69 1344 7455
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