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Commission welcomes Council approval of Slovakia's euro adoption

European Commission - IP/08/1113   08/07/2008

Other available languages: FR DE SK

IP/08/1113

Brussels, 8 July 2008

Commission welcomes Council approval of Slovakia's euro adoption

The European Commission welcomes today's final and formal decision by the ECOFIN Council allowing Slovakia to adopt the euro as from 1 January 2009. On a proposal by the Commission, the Council also decided that the Slovak koruna will be converted into euro at the rate of 30.1260 SKK/EUR. In the coming 5½ months, it will be vital for Slovakia to advance with and complete its technical and practical preparations to ensure that the changeover to the euro takes place smoothly, as it did in Cyprus and Malta at the beginning of this year.

"This is a major success for Slovakia, the result of determined policies to promote convergence over recent years", said Joaquín Almunia, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. "Slovakia joins the euro area exactly ten years after its inception. During the last decade the single currency, which is now shared by some 325 million citizens, has been a remarkable success, and Slovakia is well placed to benefit from euro-area participation. Still, this is not the end of the road. Slovakia needs to remain committed to sound policies, particularly in the fiscal and structural domain. This is both in its own interest and part of the responsibility that all members share to ensure that the monetary union functions smoothly."

Today the European Union's finance ministers adopted the legal acts necessary for Slovakia to adopt the euro on 1st January 2009. Based on a Commission proposal, they also decided that the Slovak koruna will be replaced by the euro at the rate of 30.1260 SKK to the euro. On 7 May this year, the Commission concluded that Slovakia met the convergence criteria to adopt the euro and consequently made a proposal to the Council that it allow Slovakia to do so (see IP/08/715 and Convergence Report 2008[1] itself).

Need to pursue stability-oriented policies

Membership of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) offers huge benefits for the Slovak economy and its citizens, including thorough integration into a stability-oriented policy framework, enhanced cross-border trade and investment, better access to integrated financial markets, and greater price transparency and competition.

In order to fully reap the benefits of the monetary union and ensure a smooth integration into the euro area, Slovakia needs to build on the efforts it has made to qualify for euro adoption by striving to maintain sound public finances, promoting wage-setting in line with productivity growth, pursuing further structural reforms to enhance the functioning of product and labour markets, and remaining vigilant in monitoring financial sector and credit dynamics.

Final practical preparations

Like previous euro-area entrants, Slovakia will also have to pay close attention to the practical preparations needed in the next 5½ months to ensure a smooth changeover.

Production of the euro coins will start shortly after today's ECOFIN decision in the Slovak Mint of Kremnica. To see the Slovak national sides of the euro coins go to:

http://www.nbs.sk/MEDZINAR/EU/SK_COINS.PDF

Next week, the Commission is expected to adopt its regular report on the state of the practical preparations for the introduction of the euro in the EU countries that have not yet adopted it and do not have a legal opt-out. This seventh report will focus on Slovakia, given the imminence of its changeover date.

For information on EMU and the euro go to:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/the_euro/index_en.htm?cs_mid=2946

For information on Slovakia and the euro as well as on other countries' euro changeover plans and preparations see:

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/the_euro/your_country_euro9157_en.htm


[1] http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publication12574_en.pdf


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