Slovakia ties currency to euro
Updated: 2005-11-26 09:37
Slovakia took a major step toward joining the euro zone Friday by linking its
currency, the koruna, to the euro in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
The decision was announced by the European Union and is in line with
Slovakia's plan to adopt the euro on Jan. 1, 2009. Slovakia joined the EU in May
2004 along with nine other new members.
Under the mechanism, the koruna will be pegged to the euro within a 15
percent margin above or below a central rate of 38.4550 koruna to the euro.
Six other new EU members — Latvia, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Estonia and
Lithuania — have already joined the system. Countries must be in the system for
at least two years before they can join the euro zone.
Of the nine new EU members, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have yet
to join the system.
In order to join, nations must meet targets of low inflation, low budget
deficits and low national debt, as well as limiting currency fluctuations
against the euro.
EU estimates released this month showed Slovakia within the inflation and
debt targets, but its deficit of 4.1 percent of gross domestic product was above
the 3-percent threshold set for euro-zone membership.
The EU said "strict monitoring of budget execution will be required, aimed at
a timely detection and correction of slippages." EU finance ministers approved
Slovakia's entry into the Exchange Rate Mechanism at the request of Slovak
The decision was made Friday evening and not announced until after the close
of markets in Europe and North America.
The Slovak government adopted a plan in July to prepare for the switch to the
euro. The document said the process would be one of the most important
logistical operations in the history of the country, which gained its
independence in the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia into separate states.
Twelve EU countries currently use the euro as their shared currency. There
are 25 countries in the EU.
Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia are the frontrunners to adopt the euro,
hoping to join the currency bloc in 2007. Cyprus, Latvia and Malta aim to join
in 2008. The Czech Republic and Hungary are planning for 2010, while Poland has
not set a target date.