( AFP ) - European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso tied Saturday the euro's current strength to that of the European economy, ahead of celebrations marking Malta's entry into the eurozone.
"The success of the euro reflects the confidence in the European economy, the European economy has come back and the euro reflects that," Barroso said, speaking after talks with Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
Malta and Cyprus entered the eurozone January 1, bringing the number of countries now using the single European currency to 15.
Surveys show that already over 90% of the Maltese population is using euro notes and coins, although the equivalent of 442 million euros (653 million dollars) in Maltese notes are still in circulation.
Barroso said discussions were taking place to address concerns about the euro's strength on the part of some economic sectors in Europe -- while singling out Germany as a success story.
"Look at Germany which is booming in exports terms and is exporting to countries which don't have euros," he said.
Those sectors experiencing difficulties had not yet adapted themselves to the realities of globalisation, Barroso added.
As for the UK's decision to stay out of the eurozone, Barroso said: "While we respect the British position, we of course have to concentrate on those who want to enter our common project."
Apart from Barroso, Prime Minister Janez Jansa of current EU president Slovenia, along with Italy's prime minister Romano Prodi and European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet are among those attending Malta's eurozone fete that includes a concert by the island state's philharmonic orchestra.