Ecofin Council celebrated after giving the green light for euro introduction in Slovakia in 2009 and deciding on the conversion rate!
|Article created on 8 July 2008|
On 8 July 2008 the Council of the EU took the final formal decision allowing Slovakia to adopt the euro from 1st January 2009. The decision was celebrated with festivities on the roundabout Schuman in the heart of the European quarter in Brussels led by Commissioner Almunia.
The Council also irrevocably fixed the conversion rate for the Slovak koruna to the euro. Over the next 5 ½ months, the country will have to complete and finalise its practical preparations to ensure that the changeover to the euro goes as smoothly as it did in Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus.
Today's final decision of the Council followed the conclusions of the European Commission's convergence report of 7 May 2008 that Slovakia met the convergence 'Maastricht' criteria and qualified for the euro. The euro area will thus grow to 16 members on 1 January 2009. This is already the third expansion of the euro area from among the ten new Member States which joined the EU in 2004.
In addition to the formal final decision on the euro adoption in Slovakia, the Council, meeting in its configuration of finance ministers (Ecofin Council), decided on the basis of a Commission proposal that the Slovak koruna will be replaced by the euro at the rate of SKK 30.1260 to the euro.
Changing to the euro - the changeover plan
According to the National Changeover Plan, commercial banks in Slovakia will be supplied with euro cash by the National Bank of Slovakia as of October 2008. The retailers will be also supplied with euro cash in advance, so that they can start giving change in euro from 1 January 2009. The general public will be able to buy euro coin starter kits as of 3 December 2008. The dual display of prices and regular price monitoring by Slovak authorities will start in August 2008 in order to prevent undue price increases at the occasion of the changeover and foster citizens' trust in the fairness of the changeover.
Celebrating this occasion
The Berlaymont building sported a huge banner to celebrate the occasion, showing the Slovak 1-euro coin and emblazoned with a welcome message for the new euro entrant. A media event was organised by Commissioner Almunia with the support of the Slovak Minister of Finance Pociatek and the Governor of the National Bank of Slovakia Sramko on the Schuman roundabout to celebrate this important decision of the Council. The event was accompanied by the performance of a Slovak jazz band and tasting of Slovak national dishes.
See the festivities on Europe By Satellite (RM format)
Special guests (from left to right)
Mr Pociatek, Slovak Finance Minister
Mr Papademos, Vice-President, European Central Bank
Ms Lagarde, French Finance Minister and ECOFIN President
Mr Almunia, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs
Mr Figel', Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth