sk sk

Euro in Slovakia

The euro was introduced on 1 January 1999. It became the currency of more than 300 million people across Europe. For the first three years the euro was an “invisible” currency, used only for accounting purposes, e.g. in electronic payments. Euro cash was introduced only on 1 January 2002, when it replaced banknotes and coins of individual national currencies – e.g. the Belgian franc or Deutschmark. The name “euro” was chosen by the heads of Member States of the European Union (or their heads of government) at the Summit of the European Council held in Madrid in December 1995. The depiction of the euro sign was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon as a reference to the cradle of European civilisation and also the first letter of the word “Europe”.

The euro as legal tender was approved by the European Union also in countries which were in monetary union with members of the euro area. This includes San Marino, Monaco and Vatican City. On the basis of agreement with the European Community, these three countries mint their coins with their own national sides. The euro is also used, however, by other European countries without formal agreement: Kosovo, Montenegro and Andorra.

  • Euro Changeover

    The Slovak Republic adopted the euro on 1 January 2009 after the EU Council accepted on 8 July 2008 the country´s entry into the eurozone.

    Frontloading of Slovakia with euro cash

    To ensure the necessary amount of cash in the new currency, 188 million euro banknotes and 500 million euro coins were delivered to Slovakia. If all these notes were laid down next to one another, they would cover an area nine times bigger than Štrbské pleso lake. If they were laid in a row, it would stretch 25 000 kilometres, which is 50-times the distance between Bratislava and the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. When it comes to coins, if they were placed on top of one another, they would reach six times higher than the highest mountain in Slovakia, the Gerlach Peak, measuring 2 655 m. And if these coins were to be divided equally among Slovak inhabitants, each person would get 96 coins. The volume mentioned was needed to cover the initial demand and supplies for Národná banka Slovenska.

    Euro information campaign

    In preparation for the introduction of the euro, the European Central Bank, jointly with Národná banka Slovenska, organised a 300-day information campaign, which was implemented by means of direct euro packages to all households, 118 various publications, television, radio and press, as well as through the various games and competitions. There were a number of special events, such as the Conference on the Introduction of the Euro in Slovakia, which was attended by Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank, and Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. For providing up-to-date information on the euro, a twinning programme was launched, involving the ECB, Národná banka Slovenska and selected organisations from both the public and private sectors in the country. Thank to this, banks, shops and companies were well prepared for the transfer of valuables, as too were manufacturers of money acceptance and dispensing equipment, all of which significantly contributed to the smooth introduction of the new banknotes and coins.

    Slovak euro coins

    The themes for the national sides of the Slovak euro coins were decided in a public opinion poll, which ran from 12 to 20 November 2008. The €1 and €2 coins portray the patriarchal cross in the middle of three mountain peaks, which was designed by Ivan Řehák. The 10, 20 and 50-cent coins show Bratislava castle and the national emblem of the Slovak Republic. These designs come from the workshop of Ján Černaj and Pavol Károly.

    Coins with a value of 1, 2 and 5 cents, designed by Drahomír Zobek, depict the Kriváň Peak – a peak in the Tatra mountains, which is a symbol of the sovereignty of the Slovak nation. The Slovak €2 coin won the award “Best Trade Coin” (best circulatory coin) in 2011 in the Berlin competition sponsored by publishing house Krause Publications.

  • Timetable of the euro changeover in Slovakia
    Stage I – Prior to the entry into the ERM II

    Till 25 November 2005 – Completing accession procedures to the ERM II with the bodies of the European Union.

    Stage II – Membership in the ERM II up until the decision on Slovakia’s acceptance into the euro area
    28 November 2005Entry into the ERM II
    May 2008Convergence reports of the European Commission and the ECB
    May – June 2008Evaluation procedure at European institutions
    8 July 2008Decision of the Council of the EU on abrogation of derogation
    8 July 2008Setting the SKK/EUR conversion rate by the Council of the EU: EUR 1 = SKK 30.1260

    Stage III – Between the decision on Slovakia’s acceptance into the euro area and the entry itself
    July – December 2008Provision of the necessary quantity of euro banknotes and minting of coins for cash circulation in the SR
    24 August 2008 – 31 December 2009Mandatory dual display of prices
    September – December 2008Frontloading of commercial banks with the euro cash
    November – December 2008Frontloading of the retail sector with the euro cash
    Till the end of December 2008Conversion of ATMs, vending machines and other equipment working with coins and banknotes

    Stage IV – Following entry into the euro area
    1 January 2009Entry into the euro area
    Till 16 January 2009Dual circulation: exchange of koruna cash for euro and withdrawal of the Slovak koruna from circulation
    From 17 January 2009 Continued exchange of the old koruna cash for euro
    Till June 2010Recommended dual display of prices

  • Basic principles of the euro changeover in Slovakia

    The euro was introduced in Slovakia on 1 January 2009 in cash and scriptural form without a transitional period, i.e. within a Big-Bang scenario. On this date, euro became the legal tender in the Slovak Republic. Slovak euro coins are valid in all euro area countries and also other euro area countries’ euro coins are the legal tender in Slovakia. Banknotes are the same throughout the euro area. From 1 January 2009 scriptural payments are exclusively in euro.

    Euro is used in cash circulation from 1 January 2009. Koruna became only a euro denomination. For a short dual circulation period, until 16 January 2009, it was possible to pay also with koruna banknotes and coins in the Slovak territory. The Slovak currency was gradually withdrawn from the circulation. By the end of the dual circulation, euro is the sole legal tender in the Slovak Republic.

    Conversion of koruna values to the euro on 1 January 2009 must be performed with the conversion rate, which was irrevocably set by the Council of the EU. It is not possible to use any other rate. The conversion rate was set as a coefficient with six significant digits. It expresses the equivalent of one euro in koruna (EUR 1 = SKK 30.1260). The conversion rate must not be rounded or shortened to less than 6 significant digits in making conversions.

    It is not permitted to use an inverse coefficient.

    The euro introduction can not influence the continuity of contracts and other legal instruments. All contracts containing references to the Slovak koruna remained valid after the euro changeover. Values in koruna were regarded as values in euro, converted at the conversion rate. It was not possible to terminate any contract due to the euro changeover. At the same time, however, the principle of the freedom of contract was preserved and contracting parties could, by bilateral agreement, change their agreement following the euro changeover in any way.

    Following the euro introduction on 1 January 2009 it was necessary to regard references in legal instruments to the koruna as references to the euro, converted at the conversion rate. Financial amounts set in koruna which should be paid or entered into accounting in euro were rounded to the nearest euro cent. Only the final value was rounded, not partial items. No fees might be charged related to the conversion of koruna values to euro. In specific cases set by a law the rounding was even more precise than to the nearest euro cent.

    The euro introduction must not harm citizens or consumers. Fees and taxes, if not precisely converted according to the rounding rules, should be rounded down, payments to citizens should be rounded up. Values rounded in favour of citizens were adjusted to whole 10 euro cents.

    During the changeover all necessary steps were taken so that the process was not abused to increase prices. The price developments were monitored and rules for the conversion of prices and their showing was enforced. Price stability must be maintained also in supplier-customer relations.

    Each business entity was responsible for covering its individual costs arising from the euro changeover. This applies for both the private and the public sector. Euro changeover implementation costs should be as low as possible.

    General government bodies and local authorities or other public bodies were responsible for preparing the respective normative legal acts according to their competence. Each entity, including private sector businesses, was responsible for its organisational preparation for the euro changeover.