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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Slovenia to get euro green light
Euro note
Slovenians are about to get their fourth currency in 15 years
European Union leaders are expected to confirm Slovenia's adoption of the euro during a two-day summit in Brussels.

It is due to join the twelve-member eurozone on 1 January 2007, the first of the 10 new EU members to do so.

Slovenia has met eurozone criteria for public debt, budget deficit and interest rates and said inflation would remain below the eurozone benchmark.

Lithuania's application for euro membership was rejected because its inflation rate was too high.

Euros for tolars

The euro will be Slovenia's fourth form of legal tender since splitting from Yugoslavia in 1991, when it dropped the dinar for a transitional currency before adopting the tolar.

If all goes to plan, EU finance ministers will fix the exchange rate between the euro and the tolar on 11 July.

The Slovenian central bank would have the task of distributing 155 million euro coins and 42 million bank notes by 1 January, with just a two-week transition period during which the currency will circulate alongside the Slovene tolar.

The government hopes that euro membership will boost tourism and foreign investment in the small Alpine state of just under two million people.

The EU summit is also expected to explore the issues of European energy supplies and the admission of new member states from Eastern Europe.

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