TALLIN - Joaquin Almunia, the EU's economic and financial affairs commissioner, said during a visit to Tallinn that Estonia should amend its constitution to adopt the euro.
While meeting with Finance Minister Aivar Soerd on June 8, the Spanish commissioner referred to Article 111 of the Estonian Constitution, according to which the Bank of Estonia has the sole right to issue Estonia's currency.
Thus if the euro were to be introduced in Estonia on Jan. 1, 2007, Almunia explained, it would be against the Baltic state's constitution as the Bank of Estonia would never have the sole right to issue the euro.
Soerd downplayed the legal imbroglio, saying he discussed different opportunities for solving the problem with Almunia. "Amending the constitution is complicated, so we are considering solving the issue by a separate act," he said.
In order to introduce the euro state officials have said it would be necessary to amend the country's laws on finance and the Bank of Estonia.
Still, some officials have been guided by the amendment to the constitution endorsed in a referendum in fall 2003 that being member of the European Union the Estonian Constitution would be applied with consideration of the rights and obligations proceeding from the treaty of accession to the European Union.
Bank of Estonia chief Andres Lipstok said that there is no need to amend the constitution to adopt the euro. "When the euro is issued it will also be the Estonian currency," he said. o