15 years of the euro in Slovenia
The European Union is marking a special anniversary at the beginning of this year. It was 20 years ago that the first euro banknotes and coins came into circulation as the single currency of 12 Member States. Slovenia joined the euro five years later, on 1 January 2007. A 14-day transition period followed, when payments could be made in tolars or euros, and then on 15 January 2007 euro banknotes and coins became the sole legal tender in Slovenia. The euro can now be used in 19 EU Member States with a total population of more than 340 million, making it the second most widespread currency in the world.
The euro was introduced as a virtual currency in 1999, and then on 1 January 2002 the first euro banknotes and coins came into the hands of the people of Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. It was the biggest currency exchange in global history. The single currency makes it easier for people and businesses to save, to travel and to transact.
Slovenia joined the original twelve exactly five years later, as the first new Member State to do so following the 2004 enlargement. On 1 January 2007 the euro replaced its national currency, the tolar, at an exchange rate of 239.64 tolars to the euro, and tolar banknotes can still be exchanged for euros at Banka Slovenije’s counters at this exchange rate. This made Banka Slovenije an official member of the European Central Bank, where together with the other members we decide on euro area monetary policy measures, thus ensuring the stability of our single currency.
Euro banknotes feature the same designs, but one side of every euro coin is designed by the country of issue. Slovenia’s designs symbolise its history and culture. The designs feature a stork (1 cent), the Prince’s Stone (2 cent), a sower (5 cent), the Cathedral of Freedom (10 cent), a Lipizzaner horse (20 cent), Mount Triglav (50 cent), Primož Trubar (1 euro) and France Prešeren (2 euro).
More information about the history of currencies in Slovenia, the development of the euro and the functioning of the central bank can be found at the Banka Slovenije museum.