Estonia is adopting the € tomorrow!
Tomorrow on 1 January 2011 the Eurozone is going to have it’s 17th member – Estonia. The Baltic Tiger, as the country was known before the economic crisis as being one of the world’s fastest growing economies, aimed to adopt the Euro in 2007. Due to not meeting the inflation criterion, the date was postponed several times. Replacing the current currency, the kroon, has brought very different opinions out to the public.
Estonian government has been critizised a lot for deciding to join the Eurozone now, when the monetary union has brought to test by several members who are facing very difficult economical situations, compearing it to boarding a sinking ship. Others are being more positive and bringing Estonia as an example for countries who are experiencing difficulties with managing the economical crisis. The Northern European country was second worst hit of all 27 EU memebers, which forced the government to do very painful budgetary cuts. Government’s decisions are believed to be successful as according to Eurostat Estonia has the lowest ratio of government debt to GDP among all EU countries and the GDP is expected by the OECD to grow by 3,4% in 2011.
Though, most of Estonian people don’t care about the government debt or the growth of GDP. The kroon means more than just a currency for Estonian people. It was reintroduced only ten months after Estonia regain indpendence from the Soviet Union and instantly became a symbol of independence. Therefore many people see adopting another shared currency (the first one being Soviet ruble) as giving away big part of Estonian independence. There are a lot of people against the euro because of considering kroon banknotes to be more ‘beautiful’ or for not being used to use coins daily.
On the other hand, many people see adopting the Euro as a positive thing to Estonian economy, stating that Estonia is too small to have a strong competitive economy while having it’s own currency. It is also believed that using the euro would bring more foreign investors to Estonia because many risks as devaluating the kroon are being removed. People also see adopting the EU single currency positive because it makes travelling in Europe much easier. Many different polls have been made about Estonians being for or against adopting the Euro. But as all the polls have had very different results, we don’t know the overall opinion.
Tomorrow Estonia will celebrate the New Year, adopting the Euro and Tallinn getting the title of the European Capital of Culture 2011. The main event will be held in the National Opera “Estonia” and in front of it, on the Theatre Square. An organisation of eurosceptics have bought most of the advertisment places in the theatre square and put up anti-euro posters. A short gallery of the posters is below together with the official poster by the Estonian Ministry of Finance.
Andry Silla from snowy Tallinn, Estonia on 31 December 2010