11th Dec 2018

Slovenians greet New Year with the new currency

Slovenia has become the 13th EU member state to introduce the euro, ditching its national currency on 1 January as the first of the 2004 bloc's newcomers.

Slovenia is the euro front-runner of the new member states - all legally obliged to adopt the single currency under their accession treaties to the EU, with its citizens hugely in favour of the move all throughout the preparations.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • After joining the EU three years ago, Slovenia is celebrating eurozone entry (Photo: EUobserver)

The ex-Yugoslav country will have dual circulation for the first two weeks during which time all Slovenian banks will change tolars into euros free of charge and the national central bank will be in charge of it later on.

As a result of the so-called "big bang" cash changeover Ljubljana has chosen, euro coins and notes have started circulating straight away without a transitional period, with retailers obliged to give change in euro from 1 January onward.

The central bank has been supplying banks and companies with euro cash since September, in a bid to prevent any practical problems with the switch. Slovenians could also pick up brand new euro coins with their national designs.

Mediterranean islands to follow

After Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta aim to follow suit next January but their euro entry plans need to be approved by the European Commission and the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank on the basis of the economic criteria laid down as pre-conditions for joining the eurozone.

These include budget debt, deficit and inflation within the agreed ceilings and also concern exchange rate stability, long term interest rates and legal provisions, particularly regarding the national central bank.

The commission's latest report suggested that both Nicosia and Valetta are well on track in their effort to join in 2008, with Malta in need of a little more effort on state spending and inflation.

Inflation worries

Ljubljana was originally supposed to be accompanied by Tallinn and Vilnius in celebrating the euro adoption.

But the two Baltic states had to back down from their 2007 entry requests due to higher than allowed inflation rates - with Estonia doing so voluntarily and Lithuania's bid being rejected by Brussels last May despite missing the then EU target by a whisker.

In Slovenia, the run-up to €-day was marked by fears of speculative price hikes, with the European Commission warning the country's authorities to learn from old Europe's mistakes by introducing ways to name and shame retailers who abuse the currency changeover.

Slovenian businessmen and officials insisted similar practices were not going to happen but some price hikes - particularly in the area of services, such as post services by 164% or parking tolls by up to 100 percent - were registered in early December.

Straightforward route

Slovenia has been regarded as a political and economic success story within the group of ten newcomers.

It was among the first candidate countries to open accession negotiations in 1998 and proceeded without major problems until the 2004 enlargement.

In 2008, it will also be the first new member state to hold the EU six-month rotating presidency, followed by the Czech Republic in 2009.

According to analysts, the single European currency will be beneficial for the small country as the move to cut out exchange-rate variations against the euro should help to boost its trade.

Greens boycott EU-Morocco vote after lobbying expose

EUobserver has exposed Moroccan lobbying at the European Parliament, prompting a probe to be launched against several MEPs. The Greens have now decided to boycott next week's Morocco trade vote in protest, saying the lobbying investigation must be finished first.

News in Brief

  1. Lead MEP on Morocco resigns position on trade file
  2. EU gives green light to new human rights sanctions
  3. May pulls vote, seeks to renegotiate Brexit 'backstop'
  4. Report: May cancels Tuesday's Brexit vote in parliament
  5. Belgium left with minority government after UN migration pact row
  6. EU court: UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50
  7. UK remains largest arms producer in western Europe
  8. Macron to address French nation in bid to calm tension

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. EU aviation agreement with Morocco in legal hot water
  2. Anti-semitism 'disturbingly normalised' in Europe
  3. Help consumers take cruelty away from EU's Xmas buffet
  4. EU court adds to knife-edge Brexit drama
  5. France and Germany back Dutch on human rights sanctions
  6. COP24: vital to keep big polluters away from climate policy
  7. EU foot-dragging puts rule of law at risk in Hungary, Poland
  8. Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us