Slovakians have little time left to spend the last of their national korunas. When the clocks strike midnight on New Year’s Eve, the euro will step in. Slovakia is the first country of the ex-Soviet sphere to enter the new single currency eurozone, becoming its 16th member. One of the people’s few worries is purses packed with coins, since even a two-euro piece displaces several old banknotes.
The head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, encouraged the country’s five million people: “It is important also that everyone in Slovakia remains vigilant to prevent unwarranted price increases, due to rounding. Consumers must get their full share of the benefits the euro brings – they must not be hit in the pocket. By joining the euro, Slovakia will be better placed to contribute to Europe’s recovery, and also to take advantage of it.” Payment for goods and services with both Slovak crowns and euros will be possible until January 16. The National Bank will continue changing crowns. Citizens will find their bank deposits converted automatically. They have been seeing dual-display pricing since August. International economic fitness ratings for Slovakia were recently raised above ‘A’ thanks to the upcoming euro switch.