Estonia adopts Euro on 1 January 2011

At the meeting of the European Council that took place in Brussels today, unanimous approval was given to Estonia to enter the euro area next year.

The political leaders of the European Union found that Estonia has fulfilled the conditions for acceding to the euro area thanks to sound economic and financial policies.

The participants at the summit meeting congratulated Estonia for fulfilling all of the convergence criteria provided by the European Union foundation agreement and welcomed the European Commission's proposal for the adoption of the euro in Estonia on 1st January 2011.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip thanked his colleagues for supporting Estonia's endeavours to enter the euro area.

"This is great recognition for Estonia," Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said. "Firstly, we must be thankful to the people of Estonia for our success. Without the support of the population for the current economic course, we would certainly not have been so successful."

At the meeting, Ansip affirmed that Estonia shall continue a conservative budgetary policy and structural reforms, paying special attention to inflation.

Estonia's entry into the euro area will finally receive formal approval during the ECOFIN meeting on 13th July.

The European Council also completed work on the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and economic growth. The strategy that was approved at the meeting will help Europe recover from the crisis and emerge from it stronger than ever.

The government leaders discussed new initiatives to increase competitiveness. Led by Estonia, the council approved an obligation to create a totally functioning domestic digital market by 2015.

"I am glad that the European Union has made the creation of a common digital market one of its main objectives," Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said. "A situation where a Finn cannot use mobile parking services in Estonia and an Estonian cannot establish a company in Latvia through the Internet is not normal. Without a functioning common digital market, we cannot speak of a totally functioning and open common market in the European Union."

Ansip stressed that the idea of the common digital market is to facilitate the functioning of the conventional economy, such as the cross-border establishment of businesses and management of businesses, electronic payments between countries, tendering procedures, the provision of e-services, etc.

Five principal orientations were confirmed within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, the objectives of which are to increase jobs, improve the conditions and educational level for research and development, improve energy efficiency, and promote social inclusion by primarily reducing poverty.

Another important topic discussed by the council was the need to co-ordinate more effectively the economic policies of the member states. The extensive co-ordination of budgetary policies was considered to be of primary importance. Those attending the meeting prioritised preventive action, which included the prior assessment of the countries' budgetary plans, accelerating the proceeding of excessive deficits, and paying more attention to public debt.

The heads of government and state of the European Union also decided to open membership negotiations with Iceland, which has made the corresponding application.

Kodulehed, internetiturundus | OKIA