EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Cashpoints in Estonia began issuing euro banknotes at around 20 minutes past midnight local time on Saturday (1 January) in a development marking the fourth phase of expansion for the troubled single currency.
Holding his clutch of banknotes outside a specially-installed cashpoint near a new year's eve gala venue, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip told press: "It is a small step for the eurozone and a big step for Estonia ... We are proud to be a euro zone member state."
"For Estonia, the choice is to be inside the club, among the decision makers, or stay outside of the club. We prefer to act as club members."
Eighty five million euro coins and 12 million banknotes went into circulation in Estonia on Saturday and money in bank accounts was automatically converted from the kroon to the euro at the stroke of midnight. People will be able to exchange kroons at Estonian high-street banks until the end of the year and at the Estonian Central Bank with no time limit.
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Estonian cashpoints begin pumping out euro-notes