Lots of Change
Arvamus 04 Jan 2011  EWR
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As Estonia adopts the euro, we recall the moment another post-communist economic tiger ditched its old currency.

Lubos Palata, Transitions Online

When Estonia joined the euro zone on 1 January, it took part in what has essentially become a rite of passage, especially for the EU’s newer members. While people in almost every country that have adopted the currency feared rising prices as a result, many in the euro zone’s former communist countries – Slovenia, Slovakia, and now Estonia – take pride in a step that further cements their place in Europe and reinforces the notion that theirs is an advanced, market economy. In Estonia’s case, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip also said adopting the euro would help “shield” his country from the influence of Russia. Two years ago, TOL chronicled the irritations, fears, and bemusement on Bratislava’s streets when Slovakia entered the euro zone. This article was originally published on 8 January 2009.

BRATISLAVA | It is 15 minutes past midnight. A short while ago, the last of the New Year’s fireworks exploded over the Danube. The show of cascading lights was exceptional in that it was clearly visible. No foggy haze concealed the fireworks this time, as has happened every other time I’ve spent New Year’s Eve in Bratislava. While I can’t say that I really noticed the “euro theme” that the show’s organizers had promised, the spectacle did seem rather long and impressive, given the modest means of this small Central European capital. But there weren’t many of the city’s residents gathered on the New Bridge and the shoreline to actually witness the fireworks. Most Bratislavans had abandoned their frozen but snowless city for the holidays to spend a more pleasant Christmas in the mountains.

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