En route to eurozone, Slovenia aims to tackle inflation

With an eye to entering the eurozone in
2007, Slovenia expects to reduce its annual inflation rate to
below three per cent in 2005.

New EU member Slovenia, which joined the Exchange Rate
Mechanism (ERM) II in June 2004 (see 
EURACTIV 29 June 2004

), is determined to enter the eurozone at the beginning
of 2007. To meet this target, Slovenian Central Bank
governor Mitja Gaspari has announced the country’s
intention to bring inflation down from 3.7 per cent in
2004 to below three per cent next year. 

By joining ERM II, which is considered
the ‘waiting room’ for the eurozone, Slovenia has
formally linked its currency, the tolar, to the euro.
Under ERM II, the tolar must float within a range of +/-
15 per cent against the euro. Slovenia is well on target
to meet other Maastricht criteria such as budget deficit,
national debt levels and interest rates, but the rate of
inflation remains a cause for concern. 

In 2005, Slovenia will start using
double prices (tolar and euro) for products on the
market, Gaspari said. The aim is to prepare the public
for the change. 

Slovenia’s Prime Minister Anton Rop
has said that joining the eurozone and becoming part of
the Schengen regime were Slovenia’s top

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