Cyprus, Malta Adopt Euro

Fireworks herald Mediterranean islands' currency change
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jan 1, 2008 12:35 PM CST
Euro flags are seen in Valletta, Malta, Monday, Dec. 31, 2007. EU newcomers Cyprus and Malta start using the euro at midnight Monday, tying two tiny countries on the edge of Europe to its core institutions...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The new year brought a new currency to Malta and Cyprus, which today became the 14th and 15th countries to adopt the euro. The changeover went smoothly, the EC said in a statement. "Both Cyprus and Malta are small, open and thriving economies for whom having a stable and widely used currency will provide a major advantage," an economist told Bloomberg.

Malta and Cyprus will now have representatives on the European Central Bank's governing council, giving them a voice in setting interest rates. To prepare for the transition, Cypriot officials sent out 300,000 currency converters, and the Maltese government established a phone hotline and special centers, the AP reports. The northern, Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus will retain the Turkish lira.