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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 14, 2008
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Slovakia Cleared for 2009 Euro Entry
May 14, 2008 By L.¯.    
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The European Commission May 7 decided that Slovakia is ready to switch to the single European currency on Jan. 1, 2009. Slovakia is the first Eastern European country and the fourth new EU member state to have received the go-ahead to enter the eurozone.

"Slovakia has achieved a high level of lasting economic convergence and is ready to adopt the euro from Jan. 1, 2009," said Joaquin Almunia, EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs. Almunia added that Slovakia should try to keep inflation low, reduce the budget deficit, and enhance the competitiveness of its economy.

From Jan. 1, 2009, the eurozone will include 16 countries. Eight new member states and three "old" members-Britain, Denmark and Sweden-remain outside the zone. Sweden is skeptical about the euro and has delayed its decision to join the exchange rate mechanism (ERM), a stage that precedes the adoption of the single currency.

According to a European Commission report on the Slovak economy, the country meets all the criteria for eurozone entry. Inflation, the criterion which is the most difficult to meet for new member states, was brought down in that country to 2.2 percent in March in year-on-year terms. This is 1 percentage point below the reference value required under the Maastricht Treaty, according to which inflation in a country seeking to adopt the euro must be no more than 1.5 percentage points higher than in the three best performing member states.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of Slovaks surveyed by Bratislava-based polling center UVVM expect to lose out from their country's planned adoption of the single European currency. A year earlier, only 43 percent of respondents were pessimistic; by the end of last year the figure had grown to 52 percent.
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