TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia on Saturday will become the 17th country to adopt the euro currency.
The following is a profile of the country’s central bank governor, Andres Lipstok, who will take a seat on the Governing Council of the European Central Bank which sets interest rates and other monetary policy for the euro zone:
Name: Andres Lipstok
Position: Head of central bank of Estonia
Date of birth: February 6, 1957
— Lipstok is a former veteran politician who became head of Estonia’s central bank in 2005. His term runs until 2012. Only one consecutive term is allowed.
— Earlier he had been a member of parliament from 1995, as well as a minister of finance and a minister of economic affairs. In the Soviet period, he was also a deputy minister of finance.
— As head of the central bank, he has been a safe pair of hands overseeing Estonia’s tight currency peg under a currency board system.
— He has been a staunch supporter of euro adoption, which Estonia has achieved, entering the single currency zone in January 2011.
— The central bank in February 2009 took a loan from Sweden’s central bank worth 10 billion Swedish kroons to make sure Estonia had enough liquidity to back the currency board.
— Lipstok has also stressed the need for financial sector stability, in a country where Nordic banks are now the dominant lenders.
— He has also urged the Baltic country’s center-right government to keep to a conservative fiscal policy in the future, leading some economists to suggest he may sit toward the hawkish end of the policy spectrum as an ECB member.
— He speaks little English and tends to use interpreters at events.
— Current central bank deputy Marten Ross remains favorite to take over from Lipstok in 2012 although politics will be the ultimate determining factor.
— Lipstok is married with two children.