They are ringing in the changes in Slovakia. The country has become the latest member of the eurozone and people are waiting to see if their fears of higher prices will be realised.
Slovaks remain broadly supportive of the single currency, however, believing it will soften the blow of the global financial crisis. That message was reinforced by Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was among the first to make a cash withdrawal. The euro club now has 16 members and the relative strength of the single currency is boosting campaigns to join it in other countries. Slovakia’s Central Bank is convinced it will benefit the economy. “I am sure that the euro for Slovakia will mean the stability and faster development than without the euro and I am also sure the euro will help us to go through the (financial) crisis, which is very, very problematic now in (at) this time and very risky for the small and open economies like Slovakia is, very integrated economies like we are,” said Ivan Sramko, President of Slovak National Bank. The old currency, the crown, will remain in circulation in tandem with the new money for just two weeks.