Brussels, 5 January 2007
"Slovenia's adoption of the euro is taking place in a very swift and smooth manner. This shows that Slovenians were able to benefit from the experience of the first group of countries that launched EU monetary union but is also testimony of their excellent preparation," said European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.
Slovenia's changeover to the euro since the 1st of January appears to be proceeding smoothly. Euro cash payments are already becoming the rule, and should become generalised well before the end of the 14-day dual circulation period foreseen in the changeover plan.
By the end of Wednesday – the first working day of the year since January 2nd was also a bank holiday – around 40% of Slovenia's currency, the tolar, had been returned to banks and withdrawn from circulation. Since the beginning of January, banks have provided only euro and retailers are no longer giving change in tolars. While banks faced an unusually high level of activity in the first two working days, as many customers appeared to want to exchange the legacy cash for euro as soon as possible, the situation is now getting back to normal.
On the evening of Thursday, as many as 39% of Slovenians said they had only euro banknotes in their wallets, with a further 31% saying they had only a few tolar notes left, according to a daily survey carried among the Slovenian population for the Commission. The corresponding figures for euro coins were 54% and 24%.
As the tolar has been withdrawn from circulation, cash payments in euro have increased steadily and already represented more than half (54%) of all cash payments on the evening of 4 January. This is broadly in line with the previous experience in 2002. The 100% mark is expected to be reached within a few more days.
A carefully prepared changeover process
Data now available shows that banks received a total of €772 million worth of banknotes and 250 million coins (representing some €84 million) before the end of 2006.
A total of 450,000 euro coin mini-kits worth €12.52 each and destined for the general public were completely sold out in the course of December 2006, as were the 150,000 starter kits (worth €201 euro each) for retailers and enterprises.
By 4 a.m. on 1 January 2007, two thirds of the country's 1,500 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were ready to dispense euro notes and by the end of that same day more than 93% were fully euro-operational. All ATMs have now been converted into euros. The some 2.3 million bank accounts held by private persons and legal entities were also succesfully converted in euros as the many Slovenians who checked their accounts during the first two days were able to establish.
Retailers' electronic points of sale (POS) were also ready on 1 January and are now operating in euro.
The dual display of prices will continue by law until mid-2007 and consumers
are urged to remain vigilant with respect to possible unjustified price rises.
The Slovenian Consumers' Association is asking the public to report significant
price rises, as evidenced for example by a comparison of old bills (in tolars)
and new bills (in euros) or receipts.., Any major price rises which are
confirmed after further checking are then made public. According to the
Association's latest report, major price rises have been observed in parking
fees in certain cities, some fast-food restaurants and snack bars, some
newspapers and magazines, etc. This reporting policy helps consumers to
immediately spot price rises and thereby helps limit abuses.
Cash payments in euro in Slovenia and in 2002 changeover
[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]
Source : European Commission
 Daily surveys are being carried out until the end of the period of dual circulation (14 January 2007). They can be consulted at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/euro/slovenia/main_en.htm