Eurozone expands to 15 countries

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The zooming of the single European currency – the euro – since January 1, 2008 officially spreads to Cyprus and Malta, thus, the number of EU countries included in the so-called “eurozone” increases to 15.

The euro replaced the Maltese lira and the Cypriot pound.

The decision to admit Malta and Cyprus to the euro area was made in June 2007 by the ministers of economy and finance of the EU countries, and in the same month it was approved by the heads of state and government. Earlier, the European Central Bank and the European Commission gave the go-ahead, which considered that both countries that joined the EU in May 2004 complied with all the requirements of this regional organization regarding inflation and the budget deficit.

These two countries account for only 2% of the total GDP of the European Union.

Of the new EU members, Slovenia entered the euro zone on January 1, 2007. Slovakia plans to switch to the euro since 2009, the introduction of a single currency in the Baltic countries is delayed due to high inflation, and the rest of the EU, the “newcomers” – Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria – have not yet decided on the date of entry into the eurozone .

Until January 1, 2008, the euro was the currency of 13 of the 27 EU members – Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

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