Slovakia to adopt the euro, euro turns 10
In less than three days, the euro area will have two reasons to celebrate: the number of European Union countries that share the same currency will grow to 16 with Slovakia and it will be the 10th anniversary of the euro.
Slovakia will adopt the euro on the 1st of January, becoming the 16th EU country to do so after 11 launched the common currency 10 years ago. On New Year's day 328.6 million people out of the EU's 499.7 million will share the euro.
"I am very happy that we will celebrate the euro's 10th anniversary by welcoming Slovakia as a new member. Slovakia is about to take a historic step forward, for all its citizens and for Europe. Joining the euro will place Slovakia at the economic and political heart of Europe, less than five years after joining the European Union. This is a superb achievement and I look forward enormously to welcoming all Slovakians into the euro area", said Commission President José-Manuel Barroso.
"The 1st of January 2009 will be a proud moment for the euro area and for the EU as a whole as Slovakia becomes the 16th country to adopt the euro and the European currency celebrates its 10th anniversary. The euro has become the symbol of EU identity and is protecting us against the tremendous external shocks that we have had to cope with since the summer of 2007. We should be proud of that record and we safeguard the sound budgetary and macroeconomic framework that has made the euro such a success," said Joaquín Almunia, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs.
The euro was created in 1999 when 11 countries irrevocably locked the bilateral exchange rates of their currencies and equipped themselves with a single monetary and exchange rate policy. The European Central Bank was created six months earlier. The banknotes and coins were introduced in 2002. Slovakia will adopt it at a rate of 30.1260 Slovak koruna to the euro. Before it, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta also made the euro their money.
The euro has been a great success. Overall and notwithstanding the present challenging times, it has delivered greater price stability and lower interest rates than ever before for the countries, people and businesses that share it. It helped create a record 16 million jobs and enabled us to enter into the current crisis with the lowest unemployment rate and the best budgetary position in a long time. Of course, we can and we must improve Economic and Monetary Union to make it even more successful in the next decade and beyond, as the EMU@10 Communication and Report of May 2008 shows all too well.
€2 commemorative coin and euro documentary - To celebrate the euro anniversary, euro area countries will issue in January a €2 commemorative coin, which design was selected through a popular web vote organised by the Commission.
A lively television documentary has also been commissioned on the origins and history of the euro, its benefits and how it is perceived. It is available for download on the website of the Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate General.