Estonia becomes 17th country to join euro zone
The Baltic republic of Estonia adopted the euro yesterday – becoming the euro zone’s 17th member.
Estonia, a country of 1.3 million people, had hoped to join the euro in 2007 but was prevented from doing so by high inflation.
However, its entry into the euro zone comes at a time when the region is battling with a debt crisis which threatens to spread to weaker economies.
However, figures show that Estonia’s public deficit is equal to 2.5% of GDP – staying within the euro’s criteria on budget deficits – unlike many other euro zone nations.
However, the economy is battling with high unemployment, with its rate currently exceeding the 16% mark – one of the highest rates within the euro zone.
Furthermore, the country continues to recover from recession, which saw the economy contract by 14%.
Meanwhile, commenting on its entry into the 17-member nation, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, said: “It is a small step for the euro zone and a big step for Estonia.
“Estonia is the poorest country in the euro zone, so we have a lot of things to do also now after the goal of reaching the euro zone has been accomplished,” he added.