Estonia is set to become the next country to adopt the euro, an event set to happen on January 1, 2011, a European Commission report states.
Following the euro’s introduction, every country that joins the EU is legally obliged to introduce the euro, and 4 new members – Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus and Slovakia – have already done so. Only the member states that chose not to join the euro area at its inception, namely the UK, Denmark and Sweden, are not obliged to ditch their national currency.
Estonia was the first of the new member states to unveil its euro coin designs, in December 2004, and originally planned to adopt the Euro in 2007, together with Slovenia. However, it did not formally apply when the central European country did, and changed its target date to January 1, 2008, eventually postponing it by a further 3 years.
A National Changeover Committee is coordinating preparations for the adoption of the euro, while the Finance Ministry has drafted a comprehensive legislative act providing an overview of the legislation being amended to allow for the changeover.
A dual-pricing period is set to start on July 1, 2010, and last for an entire year, and a 14-day period of dual circulation of the euro and the current national currency, the kroon, is being proposed.
Kroon cash deposits can be exchanged for euros at no cost between December 1, 2010, and July 1 in the following year. Subsequently, the country’s central bank, Eesti Pank, will exchange unlimited amounts of kroons into euro for an unlimited period of time.
ATMs should be distributing only euro banknotes within 48 hours of euro adoption.