Why is Cyprus still in the EU

Cyprus and Malta are now euro countries

In the northern part of Cyprus, the Turkish lira remains, but the euro can be used to pay

In the popular holiday destinations of Malta and Cyprus it has been possible to pay with euros since January 1st, 2008. The two Mediterranean islands introduced the European common currency at the beginning of 2008. A Cyprus pound becomes 1.71 euros and a Maltese lira becomes 2.33 euros. The start of the euro was relaxed on New Year's Day 2008. With around 400,000 Maltese and almost 750,000 residents of the Republic of Cyprus, almost 320 million people now live in the euro area. So far, 15 of the 27 EU countries have given up their national money.

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso and his Monetary Commissioner Joaquín Almunia congratulated Malta and Cyprus on the historic event. "Today is another proud day in Malta's proud history," said Barroso in Brussels. "With the introduction of the euro, Malta said yes to stability, reform and free trade and travel for business people and citizens." Almunia added: "With the introduction of the euro, Cyprus is now all the more at the heart of the European Union - less than four years after accession." The Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos described the introduction of the euro in his country as a “miracle”.

You can still pay with the old currencies until February 2008. The Cypriots reacted calmly to the introduction of the euro. "Always with Tranquillity. I will change my taximeter in the next few days. Guests pay in (Cypriot) pounds. I am giving back euros. It's complicated, but I'm not going to let myself be driven mad, ”said a taxi driver shortly after midnight in the center of the capital Nicosia.

The gas stations had not yet converted the prices into euros on New Year's Day. On the night of January 1, 2008, prices in the island's overcrowded nightclubs switched from pounds to euros. "We ordered drinks in pounds and paid in euros," said guests in the early hours of the morning. Despite the bank holiday on January 1st, numerous banks remained open for three hours to convert the Cypriot pound into euros. The ATMs only issued euro bills.

In the northern part of Cyprus, the New Turkish Lira is the national currency. However, it was said that euros could also be used there. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus does not belong to the EU and is only recognized by Turkey. The island has been divided since 1974.

To avoid high price increases, many companies in Cyprus have committed themselves not to secretly raise prices with the introduction of the euro. In Malta, four fifths of all retailers pledged this. The prices and any changes are monitored by the authorities in both countries.

In Germany, after the introduction of cash on January 1, 2002, the euro was nicknamed "Teuro". Although statisticians denied a general surge in consumer prices, some goods and services had become noticeably more expensive.

The Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos exchanged congratulatory telegrams. As the government in Nicosia announced, the top politicians of the two Mediterranean island states described January 1, 2008 as a historic day that brought their countries closer to Europe.

dpa



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