Slovakia joins EU’s euro By The Associated Press

On New Year’s Day, Slovakia becomes the 16th European Union member state to adopt the euro. Jan. 1, 2009, also marks 10 years since the euro was introduced. A timeline:

June, 1 1998: The European Central Bank begins operations, ahead of euro introduction in 11 countries: Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland.

Jan. 1, 1999: The euro is introduced on financial markets as exchange rates with the 11 national currencies are irrevocably fixed. One euro is worth over $1.17.

Jan. 1, 2002: Euro notes and coins go into circulation in member countries, now 12 with Greece having joined. One euro fetches around 89 US cents.

Jan. 1, 2007: Slovenia adopts the euro.

Jan. 1, 2008: Malta and Cyprus adopt the euro, bringing membership in the monetary union to 15. The euro continues to strengthen, fetching over $1.60 by late April before falling back.

Jan. 1, 2009: Slovakia becomes the 16th country – and the first former Soviet bloc nation – to join the eurozone. The euro trades at around $1.40.

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