Cyprus and Malta join Eurozone
Cyprus and Malta became the 14th and 15th European Union members to join the euro-zone on January 1, 2008. The adoption of the Euro is being described as a landmark in the financial history of Cyprus.
Cyprus welcomed the new currency with special ceremonies on New Years Eve, at 2330 local hours at the Ministry of Finance, in the presence of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos. The Cypriot President made the first Euro cash withdrawal from an ATM at the Ministry of Finance.
The Central Bank estimates that the banking sector was supplied with approximately 80% in value rather than volume of all euro banknotes needed for the national economy before January 1st and 64% of the necessary coins.
Recent surveys results indicate that the Cypriot enterprises are well prepared for the change over and have not experienced any significant problems. About 7130 businesses, including larger retailers and banks, are participating in a fair pricing code, launched by the government in July 2007.
Commercial banks and cooperative credit institutions opened their retail branches on New Year’s Eve to facilitate the public to deposit Cyprus pounds and receive euro coins. Certain branches of the banks also opened on January 1 with a view to help a smooth transition to the single currency.
For payments in cash the public can use Cyprus pounds until the end of January 2008 but all other transactions will be in Euro. Checks in pounds can be cashed in euros until the end of June next year.
Eurozone membership will bring important benefits to households, consumers and enterprises since the eurozone is an area of low inflation, low interest rates and a vast market of 400 million people where transparency prevails over prices of goods, Finance Minister Mr. Michalis Sarris has stressed.
The exchange rate of the Cyprus pound to the euro has been set at 0.585274. One Cyprus pound corresponds to 1.71 euro.