Slovenia enters euro-zone

The euro's value was fixed at 239.640 tolars, officials said.

Slovenia is the first of the 10 nations that joined the EU in 2004 to embrace the euro.

The finance ministers' action makes final a decision by EU leaders at a mid-May summit to bring the country into the euro-zone.

Slovenia's entry has upset Baltic newcomer Lithuania, which also wanted to adopt the euro on Jan. 1 but was told to wait because its inflation is too high.

The European Commission estimates Lithuania's inflation rate will hit 3.5 percent at the end of the year, well over the 2 percent that is the current reference rate. Lithuania argues its core inflation is much lower than that, the AP reports.

Together with other newcomers, it insists eastern nations must be cut some slack because their above-average growth rates tend to fan inflation.

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