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Slovenia's changeover to the euro - a clear success

Slovenia adopted the euro on the 1st of January 2007. Slovenia's changeover from the tolar to the euro was a swift and smooth. Before introduction, Slovenians were already familiar with the euro currency, partly due to the proximity with euro-area members Austria and Italy and well developed business relations with other countries of euro area. According to the surveys, more than 90% of population had already seen euro banknotes and coins and most of them had even used them.

A daily observation of the situation in the field for the Commission showed that on 5 January, only three working days into the changeover process, more than half of the respondents to a survey had only euro cash in their wallets and purses. On the same day, more than 70% of all cash payments were also already carried out in euro. By mid-January, virtually all cash payments were carried out in the new currency, confirming the technical feasibility of a short period of dual circulation of euro and national cash - two weeks in the case of Slovenia -, which minimised the burden on retailers and other businesses, and speeded up the transition.

In some ways, the changeover was even swifter than in 2002. More than 80% of the tolar banknotes (in value) had been returned to the Slovenian central bank by 11 January compared with only 40% of the legacy notes in the first wave of countries. This prevented a repetition of the severe bottlenecks recorded in 2002 when retailers in some countries struggled with storage and security problems.

Like citizens in the first wave countries, also Slovenians expressed concern about possible price changes and their impact on the inflation. While there were concerns about price increases and also some unusual rises did indeed occur, those fears were largely unjustified.

Overall prices actually declined in January in Slovenia, compared to December 2006, as they have been doing for a number of years due to the impact of the seasonal sales. The fall in annual inflation from 3% in December 2006 to 2.8% in January. Overall, in the first four months of this year prices went up by 1.3% against 1.5% for the same period of 2006, according to preliminary information recently published by the Statistical Office of Slovenia.

Based on the preliminary information reported by the Slovenian statistics office, Eurostat puts the total impact of the changeover on consumer price inflation during and after the changeover period at 0.3 percentage points, which is similar to the experience of the first-wave changeover. A separate study by the Office for Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of Slovenia estimated the effect of the changeover on inflation at 0.24 percentage points.

According to a survey conducted at the end of January, 95% of Slovenians believed that the changeover took place smoothly and efficiently. At the same time, more than nine out of ten Slovenian citizens felt well informed about the euro and were satisfied with the level of information they had been provided by the national authorities.

The Euro in Slovenia - A Success Story