With Slovenia officially celebrating the permanent disappearance of its national currency (the tolar) to be replaced by the euro on 15 January, the Commission has taken advantage of the fifth anniversary of the adoption of euro notes to publish a specific communication on the subject accompanied by thirty pages on annexes on 28 December (see our series of articles on the fifth anniversary of the euro in Europolitics 3212, 3213 and 3214). The publication of this communication has been widely covered by the media. "The euro has brought us many advantages: the most obvious are that it has given us a level of inflation and interest rates which, for many countries, have never been so low for so long; it has spared us the exchange rate crises and market speculation that at times engulfed the old currencies; because it is stable and strong, it makes our imports cheaper," says Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, before launching an appeal: "Let's make people aware of these benefits so that they take advantage of them rather than using the euro as a scapegoat for other problems".

In addition to these words, the press release notes that:

  1. The total value of banknotes in circulation has almost tripled since the changeover, from 221 billon in January 2002 to 595 billion in October 2006. The increase in coins is more moderate, from 13.0 billion to 17.6 billion in 2006.

  2. Although very difficult to estimate the...

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