Speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the main event on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro in the Republic of Slovenia

Ljubljana, 2. 2. 2017 | press release, speech

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, attended the main event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro in the Republic of Slovenia, where he also addressed those in the attendance.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro in the Republic of Slovenia
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA

Speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the main event on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro in the Republic of Slovenia
The spoken word applies.

Dear President of the European Central Bank,
Dear Governor of the Bank of Slovenia,

Soon after establishing our own state, Slovenians also introduced our own currency. Although the Slovenian tolar was already the twelfth currency in our country in less than one hundred years, it was special to us. We liked it. It was the currency of our independence and identity. For more than a decade, it served its purpose quite well.

But at the time of the Slovenian tolar, we were also recalculating its value for practical needs first into German marks and later into euros. In the light of our accession to the European Union, it was sensible to as comprehensively and as quickly as possible meet the conditions for adopting the euro. The exchange rate was determined in June 2004 and the images of the Slovenian euro coins were unveiled in the autumn of 2005. In March 2006, double price marking in euros and tolars began. The decisions on the introduction of the euro in Slovenia were made in all key institutions of the European Union in the spring of 2006.

The Bank of Slovenia and the Ministry of Finance excellently executed their tasks of exchanging money and adjusting payment systems. The Slovenian Consumers’ Association also played an important role by launching its Pricewatch project, which prevented unjustified price increases of goods and services.

Therefore, ten years ago, in 2007, Slovenia became the first among the ten countries that joined the European Union in 2004 to introduce the euro three years later. We may be quite proud of this.

It was later revealed that the time of Slovenia’s joining the euro area coincided with the early signs of the largest financial crisis and the largest contraction of the global economy since the Second World War. When the crisis fully reached Slovenia at the end of 2008 and particularly in 2009, many people thought that it would be easier for us if we had our own currency at the time. I did not think that this was the case at the time, nor am I of this opinion today. In the most brutal of times and today when it seems that the worst is finally over, it is of the utmost importance for Slovenia to remain in the most connected part of the European Union in every respect, including with regard to currency. This is our strategic, our vital interest. Therefore, Slovenia always emphasises its commitment to seeking every solution that would further connect and strengthen the European Union.

Slovenia understands the complexity of the situation in the euro area after exiting the financial crisis. Different economic situations in Member States and opposing views regarding adjustments to the changed political and economic conditions in the world have a strong impact on the future of the euro. But I am almost certain that suitable solutions will be found in time and that the euro will remain an excellent currency as a means of payment and a store of value also in the future.

Slovenia is in favour of keeping and enhancing the euro and the European Union. With other members of the monetary union, Slovenia will strive to intensively continue the promising reforms that started five or six years ago relating to monetary and fiscal union. There are no convincing reasons for their delay. The common currency is one of the greatest achievements of the joint European policy and its consolidation must be intensified and continued.

We have never needed a united and strong European Union as much as we need it now and for the future. Divided we are weak, united we are stronger. Only united can we enforce our common values and interests in the changed conditions of the 21st century. On the inside and the outside. In this regard, Slovenia will do its best.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the euro in the Republic of Slovenia
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA