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Slovenia Business Week no. 17: Slovenia Meeting Eurozone Inflation Criterion

Slovenia is meeting the inflation criterion for eurozone entry, according to the latest figures of Eurostat, the EU's statistical office

Sloveniais meeting the inflation criterion for eurozone entry, according to the latest figures of Eurostat, the EU's statistical office. Slovenia's harmonised index of consumer prices was at an annual rate of 2.4%, which is well below the reference rate of 2.6% for March.

The data, published on Thursday, 20 April, is crucial as it is the last set of figures that the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) will take into account when they draw up in mid-May the convergence report on Slovenia's readiness to adopt the euro in 2007.

The data is not favourable for Lithuania, which also wants to enter the eurozone next year: its inflation level is at 2.7%, just above the ceiling.

Slovenia has been meeting the eurozone inflation criterion since November, when the figures were on par. In January Slovenia's inflation slipped below the ceiling for the first time.

Inflation is not the only criterion that aspiring euro entrants have to meet to adopt the euro: the budget deficit must be below 3% of GDP and public debt below 60% of GDP.

The candidate must also have spent at least two years in the euro waiting room, the ERM II mechanism, which Slovenia will achieve at the end of June this year.

It is expected that the final decision on the expansion of the eurozone will be made at the EU summit on 15 June.

This will by no means be the only expansion of the eurozone, as the ten newcomers that joined the EU in 2004 cannot opt out of the euro.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA