ECOFIN locks Cyprus pound with euro
Brussels, Jul 10 - The Cyprus pound was locked on Tuesday with the euro, and will be worth 0.585274 pounds (US$1.37).
The EU Ministers of Finance (ECOFIN) gave both Cyprus and Malta the go-ahead to adopt the European single currency at a meeting in Brussels, attended by Cypriot Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris. The EU Ministers agreed that the two countries should adopt the currency as expected on 1 January 2008. Cyprus and Malta will issue euro notes and coins at the same time as adopting the Euro. The dual display of prices in Cyprus will officially start on September 1st 2007.
Portuguese Minister of Finance Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, congratulated the two countries ''for this achievement, which is the result of appropriate policies which have been conducted in the last years.''
''I expect that the adoption of the euro in these two countries will encourage them to keep with such policies and to keep with the soundness of their economies and improve the competitiveness of their economies,'' he added.
The European Commission welcomed the final and formal decision by the ECOFIN Council, noting that in the coming five-and-a-half months Cyprus and Malta will have to complete and finalize their crucial practical preparations to ensure that the changeover to the euro takes place smoothly.
Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia said he was ''happy that Cyprus and Malta will adopt the euro, bringing to 15 countries and nearly 320 million the number of people who share the currency that has the vocation to be, one day, the sole currency of the European Union.''
''Thanks to the economic and monetary union, the euro area has now enjoyed an unprecedented period of price stability and low interest rates. But being part of a monetary union also implies an added responsibility vis-à-vis the other members, a responsibility to run sound public finances and to coordinate economic policies for the benefit of more growth and better jobs for all,'' he added.
In remarks after the meeting, Mr. Sarris said the decision ''is a reward for the correct policy we have followed for many years and reflects the very good fiscal situation of the Cypriot economy,'' adding that it was ''the capstone of a course for which we must all be proud, as everyone in Cyprus has contributed to it, the workers, the trade unions, the political parties, the businesspeople and in general all the citizens.''