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Estonia to become 17th country in Eurozone in 2011

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The economic and finance ministers of all 27 European Union countries approved Estonia's accession to the Eurozone from January 1, 2011, an EU press services spokesman said on Tuesday.

The economic and finance ministers of all 27 European Union countries approved Estonia's accession to the Eurozone from January 1, 2011, an EU press services spokesman said on Tuesday.

According to him, the ministers also established the rate of 15.65 kroons to the euro.

The EU heads approved Estonia's accession to the Eurozone at the meeting on June 17.

Earlier, the changing of the national currency into the unified euro was approved by the Eurogroup (the finance ministers of 16 Eurozone countries).

On June 16, the EU parliament issued a report on Estonia's readiness to join the Eurozone.

In March 2009, the Estonian government accepted a decision of changing the national currency to the euro by January 1, 2011.

During the global financial crisis, the government reduced its national budget and provided structure reforms. This enabled it to reduce the budget deficit in 2009 to 3.7 billion Estonian kroons (237 million euros) or 1.7% of gross domestic product (GDP).

According to the Maastricht criteria, the inflation rate of any country attempting to join the Eurozone cannot exceed the average of the three best performing countries by more than 1.5 % during the year prior to formal assessment.

Additionally, the country's national budget deficit cannot exceed 3% of GDP and national debt must not he higher than 60% of GDP.

According to the Estonian Finance Ministry forecast, the rate of inflation in 2010 will not exceed 1.1%

BRUSSELS, July 13 (RIA Novosti) 

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