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Single European currency - a political and an economic success, declares Prime Minister Janez Janša

Photo: Bor Slana/BOBO

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and current President of the European Council, Mr Janez Janša, today attended celebrations in Frankfurt marking the 10th anniversary of the European Central Bank and the European System of Central Banks. On 10 May 1998, the European Council adopted a formal decision introducing the euro and establishing the European Central Bank, which started to operate on 1 June 1998.

In his address, Mr Janša observed that far-sighted politicians and economists had recognised the need for political and economic integration in Europe, and he qualified the introduction of the common European currency as both a political and an economic success. "The adoption of the single currency has intensified the integration of the European Union, and represents one of the most tangible symbols of the European Union. In economic terms, it has provided the eurozone members with a far greater stability and capacity to respond to global economic developments," said the Premier. He emphasised that a stable economic environment meant lower interest rates, lower inflation, fewer risks, lower operating costs and increased business – precisely the conditions needed for sustainable economic growth, employment growth and social cohesion.

Mr Janša, currently President of the European Council, stressed that the existing global economic situation required economic policy makers to act in an especially responsible manner and that this was the reason why, in March this year, the European Council had defined measures to stabilise the financial markets further. He noted that this was the purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between Financial Supervisory Authorities, Central Banks and Finance Ministers of the European Union on cross-border financial stability, signed at the informal ECOFIN meeting in Slovenia and providing for cooperation in the event of financial crises.

Mr Janša declared the story of the euro a success story. This year Malta and Cyprus have joined the euro area, and the European Central Bank and the European Commission have already made a favourable assessment of Slovakia's progress in terms of fulfilling the criteria for the adoption of the single European currency. "I am convinced that the euro will continue, in future, to be a stable currency – a reflection of the stable economy, general prosperity and progress of Europe," said the Slovenian Premier.

In a statement to the media, Mr Janša said that, in the past, the European Central Bank had successfully withstood external pressures from certain European countries, adding that this had also been one of the reasons for the euro's success. In his opinion, the European Central Bank had become even stronger following the latest enlargement of the European Union and expansion of European monetary union, there being now more people advocating its independence.

Mr Janša also took the opportunity to observe that, in the last three years, Slovenia had made a significant progress according to the European Reform Barometer. "We rank around 10th out of all 27 Member States, which is a good result, given our starting position. However, matters are far from over," he said, stressing that, in the dynamic modern world, reforms were an ongoing process, and recalling that the introduction of the euro coincided with the adoption of the original Lisbon Strategy. In his view, it was thanks to reforms that Europe had become considerably more resilient to world financial shocks than certain other areas in the world.


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Date: 03.06.2008