Euro banknotes and coins successfully introduced in Slovakia
On 1 January 2009, euro banknotes and coins were successfully introduced in Slovakia – the sixteenth Member State of the European Union to adopt the euro. Until 16 January 2009, it will be possible to pay in cash using either euro or Slovak koruna banknotes and coins. However, change will only be given in euro. Thereafter, the euro will be the sole legal tender. An information campaign has been run to inform Slovak citizens of the visual elements of the euro banknotes and coins, their security features and the modalities for their introduction in Slovakia.
The cash changeover has been progressing smoothly and according to the national changeover plan devised by the Slovak Ministry of Finance and Národná banka Slovenska, which counts extensively on the involvement of the major stakeholders in the cash cycle. From a logistical point of view, one of the key elements of the cash changeover plan has been the pre-distribution (frontloading and sub-frontloading) of euro cash to professional parties, which started in September 2008.
The frontloading to the banking sector and the subsequent sub-frontloading of euro cash, via banks, to retailers and similar businesses resulted in the widespread availability of euro banknotes and coins, e.g. in automated teller machines (ATMs) and shops’ cash registers. By the end of 2008, 51.1 million euro banknotes and 338.9 million euro coins had been frontloaded, of which 14 million euro banknotes and 254 million euro coins were subsequently sub-frontloaded. During December 2008, to enable citizens to pay the exact amounts in shops, thereby reducing the amount of money for change kept by shopkeepers, Národná banka Slovenska, commercial banks and post offices also offered 1.32 million coin starter kits containing 45 coins with a combined face value of EUR 16.60.
To cover the launch requirements – including the amounts needed for frontloading – and the prospective demand in the remainder of 2009, Národná banka Slovenska borrowed 188 million euro banknotes with a face value of EUR 7.1 billion from the Eurosystem’s stocks. The 499 million euro coins with a face value of EUR 165.2 million were produced by the Slovak Mint in Kremnica.
To make the cash changeover proceed both as smoothly and as swiftly as possible, as of 1 January 2009 all publicly accessible ATMs have been dispensing only euro banknotes. Furthermore, all commercial banks which are members of the Slovak Banking Association opened their exchange counters on 1 January 2009, an exercise that will be repeated over the coming weekend of 3 and 4 January 2009.
Until 19 January 2009, Národná banka Slovenska and commercial banks will exchange Slovak koruna banknotes and coins free of charge, without any restrictions, at the official conversion rate of EUR 1 = SKK 30.1260. After that date, the no-charge arrangement will remain in place for up to 100 coins until 30 June 2009 and for up to 100 banknotes until 31 December 2009. The Slovak national bank will redeem koruna banknotes for an unlimited period of time. In the case of coins, the redemption period will run until the end of 2013.
In connection with the introduction of the euro in Slovakia, the national central banks of the euro area will be exchanging Slovak koruna banknotes for euro at the official conversion rate until 28 February 2009, as a free-of-charge service. The amount exchanged is limited to EUR 1,000 for any given party and transaction on any one day.