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Estonia fit for euro - 12/05/2010

View of Tallinn, Estonia’s capital ©EU

Eight other countries still not ready to join the euro area.

Six years after it joined the EU, Estonia meets the requirements for adopting the euro.

The commission announced today that it would recommend that EU governments let the country switch to the currency in January next year. Estonia, which currently uses the kroon, would become the 17th nation to adopt the euro.

The announcement was accompanied by a new report showing eight other EU countries do not yet satisfy the conditions for euro area membership - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden. The UK and Denmark have opted not to join.

To qualify, candidates must show that their public finances are in good shape and the exchange rate and prices are stable. Their interest rates must also be low, and national legislation on monetary matters must be in line with EU law.

The euro was introduced to world financial markets in 1999. The coins and banknotes went into circulation three years later.

The most recent country to adopt the euro was Slovakia - in 2009. Some 329 million people now use the euro every day, nearly two-thirds of the EU population of about 500 million.

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