(Jan. 5, 2009) January 1, 2009, marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the EU common currency, the euro, which was instituted six months after the establishment of the European Central Bank. The Bank introduced the banknotes and coins in 2002.
In addition, on January 1, 2009, Slovakia becomes the 16th EU Member to join the euro zone. The exchange rate of euros to Slovakian currency, is 30.1260 Slovak korunas to the euro.
Commercial banks in Slovakia received the banknotes and coins back in September 2008. These were further distributed to businesses and shops in preparation for payments and return change to be made in euros beginning in January 2009. The Government of Slovakia, assisted by the European Commission, launched a large informational campaign to assist citizens with the change. Since August 24, 2008, the prices of goods have been listed in both euros and korunas. Such a display is mandatory until January 1, 2010. The National Bank of Slovakia and many commercial banks stayed open on New Year's Day 2009 to facilitate the changeover.
Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso commented that “joining the euro will place Slovakia at the economic and political heart of Europe, less than five years after joining the European Union. This is a superb achievement and I look forward enormously to welcoming all Slovakians into the euro area.” (Press Release, IP/08/2061, Europa Rapid, In Less Than Three Days Slovakia Adopts the Euro; Euro Turns 10 (Dec. 29, 2008), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/2061&language=EN.)