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Three days to go before Slovenia adopts the euro
Commission Européenne - IP/06/1901 28/12/2006
Brussels, 28 December 2006
In three days' time, the Republic of Slovenia will adopt the euro, which will then be shared by 316.6 million people in 13 European Union countries, including 2.0 million Slovenians. Slovenia joined the EU in 2004 at the same time as nine other countries. It is the first amongst those countries to adopt the euro.
"The adoption of the euro is a historic event for Slovenia. I am confident that the changeover will be a smooth operation and I am sure that it will be just as exciting a moment for Slovenians as it was for the citizens in the 12 European Union countries that first adopted the euro", said Commission President José-Manuel Barroso.
"Slovenia is adopting a currency that is strong and stable and, in doing so, is becoming a full member of the EU. The adoption of the euro creates the right conditions for economic prosperity by providing low inflation and low interest rates. But it also requires a continued commitment to sound public finances and reforms so that Slovenia fully reaps the benefits of monetary union," also said Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquín Almunia.
The tolar, the current currency of Slovenia which, like the dollar, finds its origins in the thaler (a silver coin used throughout Europe for centuries in the past) will be replaced on the 1st of January by the euro at the rate of 239.640 tolars to the euro.
Friday 29 December will be the last working day in tolars for banks, which will be closed from Saturday 30 December until the 2nd of January to be able to convert their systems and be fully ready for their first working day in euros, on 3 January 2007. However, 42 branches will be open throughout the country so that those customers that already want to exchange tolars for euros can do so.
The more than 1500 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country will also be shut down at 9 pm on 31 December in order to be fit with the necessary technical conversions for dispensing euro cash. After midnight, the machine park will be gradually brought back into operation, and by 1st of January midnight all machines are expected to be fully operational again. ATMs will only dispense € 10 and € 20 banknotes to begin with.
The total number of Point of Sale (POS) terminals in shops is close to 30.000 in Slovenia. The conversion will mainly take place during the period between 11 pm and 1 am in the night from 31 December to 1 January, during which the use of the POS terminals will be restricted, interrupted or discontinued.
Although the operation is a complicated one, everybody, from banks to retailers and the consumers themselves, appear to be ready and everything should work smoothly. Slovenia also profits from the experience and lessons learnt in 2002, when the euro coins and notes were introduced.
Commercial banks received the euro banknotes and coins from the Slovenian central bank in the first half of December and, in turn, supplied retailers and made mini-kits of coins available to consumers mid December.
The Slovenia population is one of the most enthusiastic in the new Member
States about the introduction of the euro. This is due, possibly, to the fact
that two of their neighbours -- Italy and Austria – are in the euro area
and the population is already familiar with the euro cash. According to a recent
Eurobarometer survey, more than 90% of the population have seen and 83% or more
used euro banknotes and coins well before the changeover.