Following today's monthly meeting of the Finance Ministers of all EU member states in Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker the Chairman of the Eurogroup and the country's Prime Minister told reporters that "Estonia will become the 17th member of the Euro area on January 1, 2011
He said Estonia had pledged "to ensure the sustainability of convergence by implementing further structural reforms
" and the positive decision came after the Eurogroup took into consideration the "impressive recent performance ... in fulfilling the convergence (Euro) criteria
According to the convergence criteria set down in the Maastricht Treaty, aspiring members have to limit their budget deficits to 3% of gross domestic product (GDP), their gross debt to 60% of GDP and their inflation to within 1.5 percentage points of the three best-performing EU states.
As well documented, many Euro states have broken those rules many times in the last decade, but Estonia's deficit on the other hand is estimated at 2.4% GDP this year and its debt at 9.6% of GDP, which is better than any current member.
Today's decision by the Eurogroup is not the final link in the chain however, as it requires a further approval via a vote at the next EU summit scheduled for June 17th - which should be a formality now.
Assuming this is the case, experts will then finalise the terminal exchange rate between the Euro and the Estonian kroon, which have long been pegged, before Eurozone and EU finance ministers take a final decision on the issue on July 13.