Cyprus and Malta adopt the euro
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Today at midnight, the Republic of Cyprus and the Republic of Malta, both small in the Mediterranean and former , adopted the euro as their official currency; less than four years after their accession to the European Union. Because Cyprus and Malta are in different , Cyprus adopted the euro one hour before Malta did the same. In both countries the euro was welcomed with outdoor celebrations, including a fireworks display in Malta's capital . According to the BBC Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris has said the euro "will benefit consumers and businesses alike because of the eurozone's low inflation, low interest rates and large market."
The BBC reports that Cypriot and Maltese leaders "made symbolic withdrawals of euros from cash machines just minutes into the New Year." TIME reports that had to wait a little while before getting his hands on the new currency because "an automated teller machine did not work when Gonzi tried to withdraw euros, and he was obliged to use a different ATM."
The(CYP) and the (MTL) will remain in use during a dual circulation period that will last until the end of this month, at which point they will cease to be legal tender. However, it will still be possible to exchange them for Euro free of charge after the end of this period. Commercial banks in Cyprus will exchange Cypriot pounds for Euro until 30 June, but only for amounts up to CYP 1000 per customer and per transaction in banknotes and up to CYP 5O in coins. The will exchange coins until the end of 2009 and banknotes until the end of 2017. Maltese commercial banks will exchange Maltese lira for Euro until the end of March, with a limit for non-customers of MTL 250, whereas the will exchange coins until 1 February 2010 and banknotes until 1 February 2018.
|We're sorry to say goodbye to our pound but happy to welcome the euro.|
The single currency has replaced the Cypriot pound and the Maltese lira at a rate of one euro to 0.585274 Cypriot pound and 0.4293 to the Maltese lira, or 1.71 euro per Cypriot pound and 2.33 per Maltese lira. This conversion rate had been fixed on 10 July 2007 by, the council comprising the of the EU Member States.
|Today with the adoption of the Euro, Cyprus and Malta have become even more integrated in the heart of the European Union, less than four years after they joined the EU.|
Cyprus and Malta are the 14th and the 15th country to join the Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Slovenia. All are required to join the Eurozone once certain conditions are fulfilled, except Denmark and the United Kingdom which have negotiated a so-called that allows them not to adopt the single currency., which already includes
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the de facto independent Turkish-controlled area in the north of Cyprus, will not join the Eurozone. Northern Cyprus is not part of the European Union and is recognised only by . As a result, the will remain the official currency in the north of the island; however, TIME reports that "many Turkish Cypriot merchants will also accept euros along with Turkish lira." Cypriot Euro coins are inscribed in both and .
The euro will also be legal tender in the, British military bases in Cyprus.
The national sides of thefeature three separate designs for the three series of coins. The 1, 2 and 5-cent coins feature the , or wild sheep, the 10, 20 and 50-cent coins feature the , the wreck of a 4th century BC Greek merchant ship discovered in 1967 and salvaged closed to , and the €1 and €2 coins feature the , a prehistoric sculpture from the village of Pomos, three national symbols of Cyprus. The designs were jointly created by Tatiana Soteropoulos and Erik Maell.
The' national sides will also feature national motifs. The 1, 2 and 5-cent coins will feature the altar of the temple grouping, a complex of three Neolithic temples on the southern coast of Malta and one of the oldest free-standing temple groupings in the world, the 10, 20 and 50-cent coins will feature the , and the €1 and €2 coins will bear the , a symbol associated with an order of warriors known as the or Knights of Malta, which was based on Malta for more than 250 years after they had been given the islands by . The designs of Maltese engraver Noel Galea Bason were selected after two rounds of public consultations in which people were invited to vote via .
Both Cyprus and Malta have taken a number of steps to address fears of undue price rises. 7,130 Cypriot companies have subscribed to a Fair Pricing Code launched by the authorities and the Cypriot government urged companies to round their prices down. In Malta, the FAIR initiative, a fair pricing scheme, was put in place in January 2007. This scheme, which provides for administrative fines for those failing to respect their commitment, now involves 80% of all retail outlets. Malta, according to the BBC, has also signed 12 price stabilisation agreements with importers, which will last until March 2008.
In both countries, the authorities will monitor retailers to ensure they do not exploit the changeover for unfair gain by rounding up their prices, contributing to inflation.
- "Cyprus and Malta to adopt the euro" — Wikinews, July 10, 2007
- "Slovenia adopts euro" — Wikinews, January 1, 2007
- "Cyprus and Malta adopt the euro" — , January 1, 2008
- Menelaos Hadjicostis (AP). "Cyprus and Malta Adopt the Euro" — , January 1, 2008
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- "Malta adopts the euro". - , January 1, 2008
- "Changeover to the euro in Cyprus and Malta". - , January 1, 2008
- "Cyprus and Malta: welcome to the euro area!". - , January 1, 2008