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Business

Slovakia to Switch Over to Euro Currency in 2009

The European Union's finance ministers gave formal approval on Tuesday, July 8, for Slovakia to begin using the euro. The changeover will take place on January 1, 2009.

Slovakian euro coins

Slovakia has already decided on a design for its euro coins

The move will make Slovakia the 16th country to join the euro zone. It is also the first of the former Warsaw Pact countries that joined the EU in 2004 to replace its national currency with the common European one.

Slovakia has outpaced most of the EU in economic growth since it joined the now 27-member bloc. Last year, the country's budget deficit was 2.2 percent, well below the 3-percent limit of gross domestic product (GDP) set as a criterion for joining the euro.

GDP growth in Slovakia, a country of 5.4 million people, is expected to be 7.9 percent in 2008, according to the statistics office.

Boon for investors

"Since we are a very small and open economy, this brings greater stability and allows more investors to come," Slovak Finance Minister Jan Pociatek told journalists on Tuesday.

The EU finance ministers also fixed the official exchange rate for the euro against the Slovakian koruna on Tuesday with 30.126 koruny equivalent to one euro.

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