Estonia adopts euro

  • 2011-01-01
  • Oskars Magone

Estonia adopted the euro on Jan. 1, officially becoming the 17th member of the eurozone.

TALLINN - As of Jan. 1, 2011, Estonia has officially ditched the kroon and adopted the euro, becoming the 17th EU member to join the common currency zone.

Shortly after midnight Prime Minister Andrus Ansip ceremonially withdrew his first euro notes from a cash machine at a celebration in Tallinn's Theatre Square.

Estonia is the first former Soviet state to use the euro, and is, ironically, the only country that is a member of and fullfils all the requirements of both the eurozone and NATO.

Not only a boon for Estonia, joining the eurozone has also been a vote of confidence for a common European economy that has been ravaged by the economic crisis. 

The decision to join has not been welcomed by everyone within the country - support for the decision is still only around half of the general public.


In addition to joining the euro, on the first day of 2011 Estonia's capital city of Tallinn became the EU Capital of Culture. Tallinn will share the title with smaller counterpart Turku in Finland.

"I do hope that we will use this opportunity to become more cultural and European, within ourselves. That we will realise how culture is supporting us, not vice versa. That our top orchestras and conductors and writers and museums and more are invaluable. Without them there would be no Estonia, but rather something completely different," Estonian president Toomas Hendrick Ilves said in his New Year's speech.