News is kinda slow of late so I can get through of backlog of stuff I wanetd to tell you all about, and having realised the title of this blog i figuerd I better teach you all something (mostly) factual about Europe. Todays lesson is about one of my favourite little countries, with both the mountains, the sea and pretty girls, it has it all… of course im talking about Slovenia!
Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia but broke away early, declared themselves all on their own-some and promptly applied to become members of both the UN and the European Union. Slovenia is a small country both in size and population (~2.4 million), its easier to turn such an country and economy around than say somewhere the size of Poland and thusly they quickly became the poster child of ex commie countries in Europe.
So onto currency, As most of you know many countries in the EU share a common currency called the Euro with this funky sign € as its symbol. Now creating a common currency between such large economies isnt something which comes easily and its a HUGE credit to the EU they have been able to make it happen, reasonably well with most of their member countries. To keep things in perspective, the EU is celebrating its 50 anniversary this week even though the roots go back much further.
So not all EU countries have the Euro however, this is a common mistake to make. Some of the older, original countries dont because they opted out as effectly their ecomoies are stronger than the euro and it would bring them down, notables here are England with its pound and denmark and sweden which both have very strong currencies and both had a refferrudum and it was narrowly defeated. This opt out loophole however is reserved only for original members states.
Then you have the new member states and theres a stack of them… Slovenia, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the three baltic nations (who are the again?), who are all attempting to bring their economies up to a standard where they can begin to use the euro… cause see if they had really shitty econoies and they used the euro, it would drag everyone else down because now they are all linked at the hip.
So Slovenia was the first of these countries to meet the criteria because of its small size, smart population and blessing from the gods and thusly in january this year they switched currencies, so people stopped trading in the old Slovenia Tolar and went and traded them in for Euros. Now of course this didnt happen overnight, the change has been coming for years and much has been done to educate the population and get everyone thinking in the new money, switching over even 2.4 million people is a hard thing and I think they learnt A LOT from the inital countries and then Greeces taking the euro later. Ive learnt a lot about how the introduction of the euro hurt middle clas greeks a fair bit but more on that later.
So now Slovenia has a new currency and when you travel there you dont need to exhange currencies anymore. Each country can make its own (of course limited) number of euros and they have their own side. Above is the common 2€ side, here is the german rear side
And all coins are legal tender in all countries, its just chance as to which countries coin you get, nifty eh! Having visited Slovenia last week, I grabbed a few extra shiney new slovenian euro coins to keep before they get circulated to all corners of the EU.
So whos next? Estonia and Latvia should get the euro next year all things going well. They missed out this year because their economnies are growing TOO well, ie their inflation rates were slightly too high and you need to get yours under control so you dont mess with the other nations. So hang onto your krooni and lati, soon it will be euros up there too, its good for finnish sex tourists who come to tallinn for the weekend, I mean its hard to go to the exchange place when your drunk off cheap foreign booze.. and I should know.
So right now I have 60€ on me… which is about 90 aussie dollars and Im going up to Poland tonight so I need to buy a drink and then change the rest into Polish złoty for when I wake up tomorrow morning. I wont see euros again for while with my trip taking me to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and finally Sweden… good news is the Swedish Kronor is stronger than the € anyway… but more on that later.
Keep on rocking peeps, the eurotrip kicks on up north for a while, next time Ill be writing from Warsaw!