The Euro Hits Slovenia

Slovenia is located south of Austria, and has been in a transmission
period of fifteen years, to eradicate itself from its former communist
status. Adopting the Euro as Slovenia’s currency has been a five year
process, as the government prepared the people of Slovenia for the change
over. Slovenia is the thirteenth member of the European Union, and the only
one of ten countries that joined the European Union in 2004, that makes the
switch before 2009. The Euro currency was first introduced in the year

Preparing for the currency change over meant that many facilities had to
be terminated for approximately three hours before midnight on 31 December
2006. Automatic teller machines needed to be supplied with the new
currency, credit card facilities had to be adjusted, and even petrol
stations needed to close, while the change over was taking place. A few
customers claimed that the transition did bring a little confusion to their
New Years celebrations, as waitresses and bar tenders were flooded with
different currencies, and had to round off amounts, which were usually
larger. Price hikes and difficulties have been predicted, by analysts,
before the currency change over. But incidents like these were few, as
restaurants and other institutions had prepared themselves for the New Year
currency turmoil, and most business made the transition without any
problems. The public have also shown a growing panic at the thought of
increased prices.

All though Slovenia had prepared the public, trained all administrative
personnel and have ensured that the banks were ready, Andrej Bajuk,
Slovenia’s Finance Minister, urged citizens not to use the teller machines
on Monday morning unless it is an emergency, to ensure that the transition
runs smoothly. To further assist citizens in the change over of the
currency, Slovene Tolar will be permitted, to be used together with the
Euro, until 15 January 2007, after which only the Euro will have monetary
value. In the spirit of the transition, Andrej Bajuk will draw the first
Euro from an automatic teller machine and Mitja Gaspari, the Central Bank
Governor, will exchange the first tolars for Euros.

So far, Bajuk has reported, that the transition has run without any major
problems, and Gaspari has assured the public that the banks have prepared
well in advance for this moment, and laid to rest any fears that the country
might run out of Euros, while everyone rushes to exchange their tolars.
Banks have been supplied with more than two billion euros, which is twice
the amount of tolars that is currently in circulation.

And while the euro patiently waited for its time to shine, a laser sign
decorated the skies with: “The Euro is Coming”, amidst a sea of New Years
celebrations and fireworks.