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EU finance ministers endorse Slovakia's entry into eurozone

Slovakia will become the next member of the eurozone at the beginning of 2009, one year after Malta and Cyprus adopted the single currency.

Meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, EU finance ministers agreed that the former communist country is now ready to join the euro club and set the value at which the Slovak koruna will be converted into euro.

The rate was set at 30.1260 koruna to the euro, which is the same as the present central rate of the koruna within the EU's ERM II exchange-rate mechanism.

The decision followed the endorsements of Slovakia's entry into the eurozone by EU leaders during their summit three weeks ago. With a population of 5.4 million people, Slovakia will become the 16th EU member state and the second former communist country after Slovenia to adopt the euro.

It will also become the fourth of the EU member states that acceded in 2004 to join the eurozone, following Slovenia in 2007 and Malta and Cyprus in January this year.

Ivan Camilleri, Brussels

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