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EU fixes euro-Slovakian koruna exchange rate

The European Union’s finance ministers agreed the official exchange rate for the euro against the Slovakian koruna Tuesday: from January 1, 30.126 koruna will buy one euro.

The ministers also gave formal approval for Slovakia to become the 16th country to join the eurozone at the beginning of 2009. The 1:30.126 rate was the one already adopted by the European Union when Slovakia entered the so-called euro “waiting room” ahead of the January 1 switchover. The EU’s heads of state and government already agreed to admit Slovakia to the eurozone in the middle of June, making it the first of the former Warsaw Pact countries that joined the EU in 2004 to replace its national currency with the common European one.

Slovakia has outpaced most of the EU in economic growth since it joined the now 27-member bloc. Last year, the country’s budget deficit was 2.2%, well below the 3% limit of gross domestic product (GDP) set as a criterion for joining the euro. It is expected that GDP growth in Slovakia, a country of 5.4 million people, will hit 10.4% for 2007. (m&c.com)