Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the European Central Bank, I would like to thank you all for accepting our invitation to the launch of the Latvian euro information campaign and the opening of the Euro Exhibition. I would also like to thank Jānis and his colleagues for organising today’s event – we have had an excellent cooperation in the past few months and we are confident this will continue when Latvia becomes the 18th member of the euro area on 1 January 2014. The Dailes Theatre is a very appropriate setting for tonight’s launch and I would like to thank the theatre’s management for making this event possible and hosting the exhibition.
Joining the euro is a moment of very real and practical significance, but it is also symbolic. Euro banknotes and coins are the most tangible symbol of European integration and the people of this country will soon start using them every day. In his speech, Jānis gave an idea of the logistics involved in introducing the euro in Latvia. Let me add that all the cash changeover preparations are going to plan. A total of 110 million euro banknotes and 400 million coins will form the initial supply of euro cash in Latvia. The cash will enter into circulation via Latvijas Banka’s branches, the wide network of ATMs and commercial bank branches, and post offices, which are particularly important for rural communities.
I would now like to talk about how the ECB and Latvijas Banka are planning to provide Latvians with more information about their new currency. Our campaign will focus on the design of the euro banknotes and coins, the security features that protect banknotes against counterfeiting as well as key dates and other information about the changeover, such as the conversion rate from lats to euros. The campaign will also emphasise the close ties between Latvia and the rest of the euro area.
The citizens of Latvia will play a crucial part in the campaign. To help the introduction of the euro go smoothly, we encourage them to get to know their new currency. To ensure that they have the information they need, the ECB and Latvijas Banka will use a number of different channels.
The “face” of the campaign, bringing together its different strands, is the actress Lelde Dreimane, who is here today. She plays a modern version of the mythological figure Europa, who gave her name to the continent and who also appears in some of the security features in the second series of euro banknotes.
Lelde will appear in television commercials, print, digital and outdoor advertising, and in a leaflet to be delivered to every home in Latvia, as well as in other publications. These publications are aimed at the general public and at other groups such as those who handle cash as part of their job.
The campaign is also multilingual: details of the changeover are available in Latvian, Russian and 22 other languages on the new euro banknotes website. Smartphone users can also download a multilingual app on the banknotes called the Euro Cash Academy.
Lastly, a central part of the campaign is the Euro Exhibition here at the Dailes Theatre. It will run until 13 December and has something for everyone, whether young or old, whether ordinary members of the public or currency experts.
Before opening the exhibition officially, I would like to invite Jānis and Lelde to join me for the first public showing of the two short films which will be broadcast in December this year and January next year. The first film, ‘A stronger link with Europe’, emphasises the close ties between Latvia and the rest of the euro area, using bridges as a motif. Bridges are a symbol of unity and were included in the design of the euro banknotes for this reason. The second film, ‘A closer look at the banknotes’, shows just how easy it is to check euro banknotes for authenticity.
Without further ado, let us see the films.
Let me conclude with a few more words about the Euro Exhibition. It is a travelling display which over 250,000 people across Europe have already seen. Its scope is broad, from the history of money to banknote production. The modules include educational games, interactive displays and descriptions for children. I encourage you as well as your families, friends and neighbours to come to take a closer look at your new currency here at the Dailes Theatre.
I am delighted to declare this exhibition open.
European Central Bank
Directorate General Communications and Language Services
Press and Information Division
Kaiserstraße 29, D-60311 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 69 1344 7455, Fax: +49 69 1344 7404
Reproduction is permitted provided that the source is acknowledged.