Estonia becomes 17th member of the euro zone

Estonia has become the 17th member of the eurozone – the first ex-Soviet state to adopt the EU single currency.

The changeover from the kroon to the euro started at midnight (2200 GMT) in the small Baltic nation of 1.3m people.

Despite market pressure on the eurozone and the Greek and Irish bail-outs this year, polls suggested most Estonians wanted the euro.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip marked the event by withdrawing euros from a cashpoint.

“It is a small step for the eurozone and a big step for Estonia,” he said, holding the euro notes.

For many Estonians, 20 years after breaking away from the Soviet Union, the euro is proof that they have fully arrived in the West, the BBC’s Baltic region correspondent, Damien McGuinness, reports.

Estonia joined the EU in 2004 – one of eight former Communist countries that did so, including its Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania.

Two other ex-Communist countries – Slovenia and Slovakia – are already in the eurozone.

BBC News

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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell