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EU ministers let Slovakia into eurozone

EUROPEAN Union finance ministers gave Slovakia the green light on June 3 to join the eurozone next year, urging the country to be ready to fight inflation with tight fiscal policies, the Reuters newswire wrote.

EUROPEAN Union finance ministers gave Slovakia the green light on June 3 to join the eurozone next year, urging the country to be ready to fight inflation with tight fiscal policies, the Reuters newswire wrote.

“We are happy to see Slovakia join the eurozone on January 1, 2009,” Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, told reporters.

Asked about the ministers’ advice for Slovakia, he said: “Keep a strong eye on inflation and be as coherent as possible when it comes to fiscal policies, but the last remark is for all member states.”

Slovak Finance Minister Ján Počiatek welcomed the decision.

“There is hard work ahead of us in terms of practical preparations and an information campaign,” he told reporters.

The ministers said Slovakia met all criteria to become the eurozone’s 16th member, despite European Central Bank concern over the country’s inflation.

“The ministers ... underline the need for Slovakia to be vigilant and to implement budgetary and structural policies supportive of price stability,” the ministers wrote in a letter to their leaders ahead of their summit this month.

The leaders are certain to give Slovakia the political green light at the June 19-20 summit to adopt the euro. EU finance ministers will in early July give the final blessing for Slovakia’s euro adoption by setting the final conversion rate between the Slovak crown and the single currency.

Slovakia revalued the crown’s central parity rate during the final week of May in the ERM II, an exchange rate system that is a proving ground for the euro, by 15 percent in local terms and 17.6472 percent in international terms to 30.1260 to the euro.

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