In a matter of days, the euro will take the place of the tolar as Slovenia's legal tender. Having met the necessary criteria, Slovenia is ready to join the 12-member euro area on 1 January 2007.
Slovenia is the first of the ten countries which joined the EU on 1 May 2004 to adopt the euro. Last June EU leaders acknowledged that Slovenia meets euro-area criteria for public debt, budget deficit, interest rates and inflation.
In the first 2 weeks of 2007, Slovenians will be allowed to pay both in euro and in tolar banknotes and coins, but the dual circulation period will expire on 14 January. Cash transfer at banks extends until the end of February – the commission-free conversion rate is set at 239.64 Slovenian tolars to the euro.
Slovenian citizens generally welcome the euro – surveys show that more than a third of Slovenians believe the introduction of the euro will be favourable for them, although over a quarter still believe the opposite. The main concerns are possible price rises, irregular rounding-off and a drop in purchasing power.
Last November the Commission pointed out that, despite the progress made since June 2006, Slovenia needs to reassure consumers that the conversion rate will be respected and the changeover period will not be used to increase prices abusively.
The 2006 convergence report, a regular two-yearly analysis of movement towards meeting the conditions for the adoption of the euro, shows uneven progress in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden. Lithuania meets all the convergence criteria except for inflation, its only obstacle to the adoption of the euro.
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