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Slovakia submits formal bid for euro in 2009

Slovak Finance Minister Jan Pociatek on Saturday formally filed his country's application to join the eurozone in January 2009.

Bratislava says it is confident that it will meet all the criteria for being allowed to adopt the euro, with the European Central Bank and the European Commission due to announce their verdict on 7 May.

Prior to that, the commission will on 28 April publishes economic forecasts containing key figures likely to be central to the appraisal of Slovakia's bid.

The biggest question marks concerning the Slovak candidacy surround the country's ability to keep a lid on consumer prices even after joining the eurozone, expressed in Brussels terminology as meeting the “inflation sustainability criterion.”

Some EU officials are concerned that Slovakia, as the second post-communist country set to adopt the single currency will follow the example of Slovenia, which joined last year and saw a consequent rise of inflation to over 5%.

But Bratislava insists that possible inflation hikes in the country would only be caused by higher food and oil prices - the same phenomenon as currently experienced by all other EU member states, and not by the overheating of the Slovak economy. (euobserver)