Enlargement of the eurozone

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The enlargement of the eurozone is an ongoing process within the European Union (EU). All Member states of the European Union, except for Denmark and the United Kingdom are obliged to adopt the euro as their sole currency once they meet the criteria, including: complying with the debt and deficit criteria outlined by the Stability and Growth Pact, keeping inflation and long-term governmental interest rates below certain reference values, stabilizing their currency's exchange rate versus the euro by participating in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), and ensuring that their national laws comply with the ECB statute, ESCB statute and articles 130+131 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The obligation to adopt the euro is outlined by the accession treaties, and the European Commission decided in 2004 not to allow for any more separate euro adoption referendums to take place, except for the three countries (UK, Denmark and Sweden) previously having negotiated such a process as a prerequisite for euro adoption.

There are currently 19 EU member states in the eurozone, of which the first 11 (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) introduced the euro 1 January 1999 when it was electronic only. Greece joined 1 January 2001, one year before the physical euro coins and notes replaced the old national currencies in the eurozone. Subsequently, the following seven countries also joined the eurozone on 1 January in the mentioned year: Slovenia (2007), Cyprus (2008), Malta (2008), Slovakia (2009),[1] Estonia (2011),[2] Latvia (2014)[3] and Lithuania (2015).

Seven remaining states are on the enlargement agenda: Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden and Croatia. Denmark is not obliged to join, but a referendum on the renunciation of their EU opt-outs is proposed to be held during the next parliamentary term between 2015 and 2019, though this referendum may not include membership of the EMU. Should the country decide to do so, it may join the eurozone rapidly as Denmark is already part of the ERM-II. The United Kingdom has opted to stay outside of the EMU, and currently has no intention of adopting the euro.

Accession criteria[edit]

In order for a state to formally join the eurozone, enabling them to mint euro coins and get a seat at the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Eurogroup, a country must be a member of the European Union and comply with five convergence criteria, which were initially defined by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. These criteria include: complying with the debt and deficit criteria outlined by the Stability and Growth Pact, keeping inflation and long-term governmental interest rates below reference values, and stabilizing their currency's exchange rate versus the euro by participating in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II). The country must also ensure that their national laws are compliant with the ECB statute, ESCB statute and articles 130+131 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The obligation for all EU member states to adopt the euro is outlined by their accession treaty, and the European Commission decided in 2004 not to allow for any more euro adoption referendums, with the exception of the three countries (UK, Denmark and Sweden) which had previously negotiated such a process as a prerequisite for their adoption of the euro.

The European microstates of Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City, which had a monetary agreement with a eurozone state when the euro was introduced, were granted a special permission to continue these agreements and to issue separate euro coins, but they don't get any input or observer status in the economic affairs of the eurozone. Andorra, which had used the euro unilaterally since the inception of the currency, negotiated a similar agreement which granted them the right to officially use the euro as of 1 April 2012 and to issue euro coins.[4]

In 2009 the authors of a confidential International Monetary Fund (IMF) report suggested that in light of the ongoing global financial crisis, the EU Council should consider granting new EU member states which are having difficulty complying with all five convergence criteria the option to "partially adopt" the euro, along the lines of the monetary agreements signed with the European microstates outside the EU. These states would gain the right to adopt the euro and issue a national variant of euro coins, but would not get a seat in ECB or the Eurogroup until they met all the convergence criteria.[5] However, the EU has not made use of this alternative accession process.

Convergence criteria (valid for April 2014)
Country HICP inflation rate[6][nb 1] Excessive deficit procedure[7] Exchange rate Long-term interest rate[8][nb 2] Compatibility of legislation
Budget deficit to GDP[9] Debt-to-GDP ratio ERM II member[10] Change in rate[11][12][nb 3]
Reference values Max. 1.7%[nb 4][nb 5]
(May 2013–April 2014)
None open (as of 30 April 2014) Min. 2 years
(as of present)
Max. ±15%[nb 6]
(for 2013)
Max. 6.2%[nb 4][nb 7]
(May 2013–April 2014)
Yes[14]
(as of 30 Apr 2014)
Max. 3.0%
(Fiscal year 2013)[15]
Max. 60%
(Fiscal year 2013)[16]
EU members (outside the Eurozone)
 Bulgaria −0.8% None No 0.0% 3.52% No
1.5% 18.9%
 Croatia 1.1% Open No −0.8% 4.8% Yes
4.9% 67.1%
 Czech Republic 0.9% Open (Closed in June 2014) No −3.3% 2.21% No
1.5% 46.0%
 Denmark 0.4% Open (Closed in June 2014) 16 years, 6 months −0.2% 1.78% Unknown
0.8% 44.5%
 Hungary 1.0% None No −2.6% 5.80% No
2.2% 79.2%
 Poland 0.6% Open No −0.3% 4.19% No
4.3% 57.0%
 Romania 2.1% None No 0.9% 5.26% No
2.3% 38.4%
 Sweden 0.3% None No 0.6% 2.24% No
1.1% 40.6%
 United Kingdom 2.2% Open No −4.7% 2.25% Unknown
5.8% 90.6%
Candidates for EU membership
 Albania 1.9%[17] N/A No Unknown Unknown Unknown
6.2% 70.5%[17]
 Macedonia 3.6%[18] N/A No Unknown Unknown Unknown
3.8%[19] 31.0%[19]
 Montenegro 2.2%[20] N/A No N/A[nb 8] Unknown Unknown
4.1% 56.8%[20]
 Serbia 7.9%[20] N/A No Unknown Unknown Unknown
4.9% 63.4%[20]
 Turkey 7.5% N/A No Unknown 7.90%[22] Unknown
1.6% 36.0%[20]
Potential candidates for EU membership
 Bosnia and Herzegovina −0.1%[17] N/A No Unknown Unknown Unknown
2.2% 42.7%[17]
 Kosovo[nb 9] 1.9%[17] N/A No N/A[nb 10] Unknown Unknown
2.5% 17.6% (estimated)[nb 11][24]


  Criterion fulfilled
  Criterion potentially fulfilled: If the budget deficit exceeds the 3% limit, but is "close" to this value (the European Commission has deemed 3.5% to be close by in the past),[25] then the criteria can still potentially be fulfilled if either the deficits in the previous two years are significantly declining towards the 3% limit, or if the excessive deficit is the result of exceptional circumstances which are temporary in nature (i.e. one-off expenditures triggered by a significant economic downturn, or by the implementation of economic reforms that are expected to deliver a significant positive impact on the government's future fiscal budgets). However, even if such "special circumstances" are found to exist, additional criteria must also be met to comply with the fiscal budget criterion.[26][27] Additionally, if the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 60% but is "sufficiently diminishing and approaching the reference value at a satisfactory pace" it can be deemed to be in compliance.[28]
  Criterion not fulfilled


Notes
  1. ^ The 12-months average for the annual HICP inflation rate must be no more than 1.5% larger than the unweighted arithmetic average of the similar HICP inflation rates in the 3 EU member states with the lowest HICP inflation. If any of these 3 states have a HICP rate significantly below the similarly averaged HICP rate for the eurozone (which according to ECB practice means more than 2% below), and if this low HICP rate has been primarily caused by exceptional circumstances (i.e. severe wage cuts or a strong recession), then such a state is not included in the calculation of the reference value and is replaced by the EU state with the fourth lowest HICP rate.
  2. ^ The annual average for the yield of 10-year government bonds must be no more than 2.0% larger than the unweighted arithmetic average of the bond yields in the 3 EU member states with the lowest HICP inflation. If any of these states have bond yields which are significantly larger than the similarly averaged yield for the eurozone (which according to previous ECB reports means more than 2% above) and at the same time does not have complete funding access to financial markets (which is the case for as long as a government receives bailout funds), then such a state is not be included in the calculation of the reference value.
  3. ^ The change in the annual average exchange rate against the euro.
  4. ^ a b Average annual percentage change. Data for 2014 refer to the period May 2013–April 2014.[13]
  5. ^ The 3 best performing countries in regards to HICP inflation were Latvia (0.1%), Portugal (0.3%) and Ireland (0.3%).The inflation rates of Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus (−1.2%, −0.8% and −0.4%, respectively) have been excluded from the calculation of the reference value.
  6. ^ The maximum allowed change in rate is ± 2.25% for Denmark.
  7. ^ The three best performing countries in terms of price stability were subject to an interest rate of 3.3% (Latvia), 3.5% (Ireland) and 5.8% (Portugal).
  8. ^ Montenegro has not had a currency of its own since it decided to abandon the use of the Serbian Dinar in November 1999 and make the Deutsche Mark its de facto currency. When Germany yielded the Mark for the Euro on 1 January 2002, Montenegro unilaterally adopted the Euro as its currency. However, as they are not a member of the eurozone they do not have a seat at the ECB or the right to mint euro coins. It is undecided whether Montenegro will be required to reintroduce its own currency to comply with the ERM II criteria for official euro adoption.[21]
  9. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments normalised relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.
  10. ^ The Republic of Kosovo adopted the Deutsche Mark in 1999 to replace the Serbian dinar.[23] The euro is currently the official currency of Kosovo.[citation needed] However, as they are not a member of the eurozone they do not have a seat at the ECB or the right to mint euro coins. It is undecided whether Kosovo will be required to reintroduce its own currency to comply with the ERM II criteria for official euro adoption.[21]
  11. ^ The debt level for Kosovo can currently only be estimated because no deal has been finalized to settle the Kosovo's share of the Serbian national debt.[citation needed]

Reference values for the HICP criteria and interest rate criteria[edit]

The compliance check above was conducted in June 2014, with the HICP and interest rate reference values specifically applying for the last assessment month with available data (April 2014). As reference values for HICP and interest rates are subject for monthly changes, any EU member state with a euro derogation, has the right to ask for a renewed compliance check at any time during the year. For this potential extra assessment, the table below feature Eurostat's monthly publication of values being used in the calculation process to determine the reference value (upper limit) for HICP inflation and long-term interest rates, where a certain fixed buffer value is added to the moving unweighted arithmetic average of the three EU Member States with the lowest HICP inflation rates (ignoring states classified as "outliers").

The black values in the table are sourced by the officially published convergence reports, while the lime-green values are only qualified estimates, not confirmed by any official convergence report but sourced by monthly estimation reports published by the Polish Ministry of Finance. The reason why the lime-green values are only estimates is that the "outlier" selection (ignoring certain states from the reference value calculation) besides depending on a quantitative assessment also depends on a more complicated overall qualitative assessment, and hence it can not be predicted with absolute certainty which of the states the Commission will deem to be outliers. So any selection of outliers by the lime-green data lines shall only be regarded as qualified estimates, which potentially could be different from those outliers which the Commission would have selected if they had published a specific report at the concerned point of time.[nb 1]

Reference values for the HICP and interest rate convergence criteria in 2014
Reference
values[nb 2]
Note about
HICP inflation
Benchmark Outliers[nb 3]
(among the 28 EU member states)
Benchmark states with
lowest HICP inflation rate
(12-month average HICP over
12-month average a year earlier)[33][6]
Note about
Interest rate
Benchmark Outliers[nb 4]
(among the 3 HICP benchmark states)
Interest rates
of the qualified
benchmark states
(12-months average
of 10yr bond yields)[8]
HICP inflation
reference value[nb 3]
(12-month average HICP
over 12-month average
a year earlier)
Interest rate
reference value[nb 4]
(12-months average
of 10yr bond yields)
31 Dec 2013[47] Greece was outlier (2.3% below average)
Latvia no outlier (1.4% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.0% below average)
Bulgaria no outlier (1.0% below average)
Latvia (0.011%) = 0.0%
Cyprus (0.383%) = 0.4%
Bulgaria (0.383%) = 0.4%
Cyprus was outlier (3.50% above average) Latvia (3.34%)
Bulgaria (3.47%)
1.8%[nb 13] 5.4%[nb 14]
31 Jan 2014[48] Greece was outlier (2.3% below average)
Latvia no outlier (1.3% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.2% below average)
Bulgaria no outlier (1.2% below average)
Latvia (0.003%) = 0.0%
Cyprus (0.052%) = 0.1%
Bulgaria (0.090%) = 0.1%
Cyprus was outlier (3.44% above average) Latvia (3.36%)
Bulgaria (3.50%)
1.6%[nb 15] 5.4%[nb 16]
28 Feb 2014[49] Greece was outlier (2.3% below average)
Bulgaria no outlier (1.5% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.4% below average)
Latvia no outlier (1.2% below average)
Bulgaria (−0.307%) = -0.3%
Cyprus (−0.164%) = -0.2%
Latvia (0.018%) = 0.0%
Cyprus was outlier (3.39% above average) Bulgaria (3.53%)
Latvia (3.35%)
1.3%[nb 17] 5.4%[nb 18]
31 Mar 2014[50] Greece was outlier (2.3% below average)
Bulgaria no outlier (1.7% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.4% below average)
Latvia no outlier (1.1% below average)
Bulgaria (−0.604%) = -0.6%
Cyprus (−0.345%) = -0.3%
Latvia (0.024%) = 0.0%
Cyprus was outlier (3.35% above average) Bulgaria (3.53%)
Latvia (3.33%)
1.2%[nb 19] 5.4%[nb 20]
30 Apr 2014[32] Greece was outlier (2.2% below average)
Bulgaria was outlier (1.8% below average)
Cyprus was outlier (1.4% below average)
Latvia (0.127%) = 0.1%
Portugal (0.253%) = 0.3%
Ireland (0.290%) = 0.3%
None Latvia (3.30%)
Portugal (5.75%)
Ireland (3.54%)
1.7% 6.2%
31 May 2014[51] Greece was outlier (2.3% below average)
Bulgaria was outlier (1.9% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.3% below average)
Cyprus (−0.405%) = -0.4%
Portugal (0.151%) = 0.2%
Latvia (0.204%) = 0.2%
Cyprus was outlier (3.25% above average) Portugal (5.60%)
Latvia (3.27%)
1.5%[nb 21] 6.4%[nb 22]
30 Jun 2014[52] Greece was outlier (2.3% below average)
Bulgaria was outlier (2.1% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.3% below average)
Cyprus (−0.470%) = -0.5%
Portugal (0.032%) = 0.0%
Latvia (0.2498%) = 0.2%
Cyprus was outlier (3.25% above average) Portugal (5.37%)
Latvia (3.21%)
1.4%[nb 23] 6.3%[nb 24]
31 Jul 2014[53] Greece was outlier (2.2% below average)
Bulgaria was outlier (2.1% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.2% below average)
Cyprus (−0.451%) = -0.5%
Portugal (−0.090%) = -0.1%
Ireland (0.237%) = 0.2%
Cyprus was outlier (3.34% above average) Portugal (5.11%)
Ireland (3.21%)
1.4%[nb 25] 6.2%[nb 26]
31 Aug 2014[54] Greece was outlier (2.2% below average)
Bulgaria was outlier (2.1% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.1% below average)
Cyprus (−0.393%) = -0.4%
Portugal (−0.109%) = -0.1%
Spain (0.081%) = 0.1%
Cyprus was outlier (3.45% above average) Portugal (4.84%)
Spain (3.45%)
1.4%[nb 27] 6.1%[nb 28]
30 Sep 2014[55] Greece was outlier (2.1% below average)
Bulgaria was outlier (2.0% below average)
Cyprus no outlier (1.0% below average)
Cyprus (−0.414%) = -0.4%
Portugal (−0.135%) = -0.1%
Spain (0.019%) = 0.0%
Cyprus was outlier (3.59% above average) Portugal (4.52%)
Spain (3.26%)
1.3%[nb 29] 5.9%[nb 30]
31 Oct 2014[56] Greece was outlier (2.1% below average)
Bulgaria was outlier (2.0% below average)
Cyprus (−0.347%) = -0.3%
Portugal (−0.123%) = -0.1%
Slovakia (−0.018%) = 0.0%
Cyprus was outlier (3.70% above average) Portugal (4.26%)
Slovakia (2.34%)
1.4% 5.3%
30 Nov 2014[57] Bulgaria was outlier (2.0% below average)
Greece was outlier (1.8% below average)
Cyprus (−0.285%) = -0.3%
Portugal (−0.122%) = -0.1%
Spain (−0.067%) = -0.1%
Cyprus was outlier (3.82% above average) Portugal (4.02%)
Spain (2.92%)
1.3% 5.5%
31 Dec 2014[58] Bulgaria was outlier (2.0% below average)
Greece was outlier (1.8% below average)
Cyprus (−0.260%) = -0.3%
Spain (−0.187%) = -0.2%
Portugal (−0.158%) = -0.2%
Cyprus was outlier (3.95% above average) Spain (2.72%)
Portugal (3.75%)
1.3% 5.2%


The national fiscal accounts for the previous full calendar year are released each year in April (next time 23 April 2015).[59] As the compliance check for both the debt and deficit criteria always awaits this release in a new calendar year, the first possible month to request a compliance check will be April, which would result in a data check for the HICP and Interest rates during the reference year from 1 April to 31 March. Any EU Member State may also ask the European Commission to conduct a compliance check, at any point of time during the remainder of the year, with HICP and interest rates always checked for the past 12 months – while debt and deficit compliance always will be checked for the three-year period encompassing the last completed full calendar year and the two subsequent forecast years.[34][32] As of 12 January 2015, all of the remaining euro derogation states without an opt-out, had not yet entered ERM-II,[60] which mean its highly unlikely any of them will ask the European Commission to conduct an extraordinary compliance check ahead of the publication of the next regular convergence report (scheduled for release in June 2016).

Historical eurozone enlargements and exchange-rate regimes for EU members[edit]

Further information: History of the euro

The chart below provides a full summary of all applying exchange-rate regimes for EU members, since the European Monetary System with its Exchange Rate Mechanism and the related new common currency ECU was born on 13 March 1979. The euro replaced the ECU 1:1 at the exchange rate markets, on 1 January 1999. During 1979–1999, the German mark functioned as a de facto anchor for the ECU, meaning there was only a minor difference between pegging a currency against ECU and pegging it against the German mark.

Sources: EC convergence reports 1996-2014, Italian lira, Spanish peseta, Portuguese escudo, Finish markka, Greek drachma, UK pound

The eurozone was born with its first 11 Member States on 1 January 1999. The first enlargement of the eurozone, to Greece, took place on 1 January 2001, one year before the euro had physically entered into circulation. The next enlargements were to states which joined the EU in 2004, and then joined the eurozone on 1 January in the mentioned year: Slovenia (2007), Cyprus (2008), Malta (2008), Slovakia (2009),[1] Estonia (2011),[2] Latvia (2014),[3] and Lithuania (2015).[61]

All new EU members having joined the bloc after the signing of the Maastricht treaty in 1992, are obliged to adopt the euro under the terms of their accession treaties. However, the last of the five economic convergence criteria which needs first to be complied with in order to qualify for euro adoption, is the exchange rate stability criterion, which requires having been an ERM member for a minimum of two years without the presence of "severe tensions" for the currency exchange rate.

In September 2011, a diplomatic source close to the euro adoption preparation talks between the seven remaining new Member States from Eastern Europe who had yet to adopt the euro (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania), claimed that the monetary union (eurozone) they had thought they were going to join upon their signing of the accession treaty may very well end up being a very different union entailing much closer fiscal, economic and political convergence. This changed legal status of the eurozone could potentially cause them to conclude that the conditions for their promise to join were no longer valid, which "could force them to stage new referendums" on euro adoption.[62]

States obliged to join[edit]

Eurozone participation
  19 European Union member states in the eurozone
  7 European Union member states not in ERM II but obliged to join once convergence criteria are met
  1 European Union member state in ERM II, with an opt-out (Denmark)
  1 European Union member state not in ERM II, with an opt-out (United Kingdom)
  4 non-European Union member states using the euro with a monetary agreement (Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City)
  2 non-European Union member states using the euro unilaterally (Kosovo and Montenegro)

Apart from Denmark and the United Kingdom, which gained opt-outs under the Maastricht Treaty, all other EU members are legally obliged to join the eurozone. The following members must first join ERM II before they can adopt the euro:

Bulgaria[edit]

Main article: Bulgaria and the euro

The lev is not part of ERM-II, but since the launch of the euro in 1999, it has been pegged to the euro at a fixed rate of €1 = BGN 1.95583 through a strictly managed currency board.[nb 31] In all of the three latest annual assessment reports, Bulgaria managed to comply with four out of the five economic convergence criteria for euro adoption, only failing to comply with the criteria requiring the currency of the state to have been a stable ERM-II member for a minimum of two years.[63][64][65]

Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov, originally planned to join ERM-II in 2009–10.[66][67][68] However, in July 2011 he explained that the government had decided not to adopt the euro, for as long as the European sovereign-debt crisis was still ongoing and unsolved, but that euro adoption could take place as early as 1 January 2015.[69] According to Deutsche Bank, the government had selected a target date for ERM-II entry of the beginning of 2013.[70] However, Bulgaria abstained from entering ERM-II during the entire 2013 and 2014,[71] while reiterating they had no intention to adopt the euro for as long as the eurozone debt crisis remained unsolved as they wanted certainty and clarity of all the consequences of adopting the euro before deciding to join.[72]

In January 2015, the new elect Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said, that it was absolutely possible for Bulgaria to join ERM-II before the term of the current government ends in 2018, and that he would begin talks with the Eurogroup to map what sort of preparations the state should undertake to qualify for membership.[73] The former governor of the Bulgarian National Bank, Kolyo Paramov, in office when the currency board of the state was established, believes the euro should be adopted already in January 2018, as this would "trigger a number of positive economic effects": Sufficient money supply (leading to increased lending which is needed to improve economic growth), getting rid of the currency board which prevents the national bank functioning as a lender of last resort to rescue banks in financial troubles, and finally private and public lending would benefit from lower interest rates (at least half as high).[74] The former deputy governor of the Bulgarian National Bank, Emil Harsev, agreed with Paramov, stating that it was possible to adopt the euro already in 2018, and "Bulgaria’s membership in the eurozone will bring only positive effect on the economy" because "since establishing the currency board in 1997, we have been accepting all the negative effects of accession into the eurozone without getting the positive ones (access to the European financial market)".[75]

In July 2015 Bulgaria approved the establishment of a co-ordination council to prepare the country for euro zone membership. The government has stated that among the main functions of the council will be drafting a national plan for the introduction of the euro in Bulgaria, a proposal to the Cabinet to determine the target date for euro adoption, organisation and coordination of the practical preparation of the country for euro membership and management and coordination of the work of the expert working groups. [76]

According to a eurobarometer poll in April 2015, 55 per cent of Bulgarians are in favour of introducing the euro (an increase of 4 per cent from 2014) while 39 per cent are opposed (a decrease of 6 per cent from 2014).[77][78]

Croatia[edit]

Main article: Croatia and the euro

Croatia's currency, the kuna, has used the euro (and prior to that one of the euro's major predecessors, the Deutsche Mark) as its main reference since its creation in 1994, and a long-held policy of the Croatian National Bank has been to keep the kuna's exchange rate with the euro within a relatively stable range. Prior to Croatia becoming a member of the EU on 1 July 2013, Boris Vujčić, governor of the Croatian National Bank, stated that he would like the kuna to be replaced by the euro as soon as possible after accession.[79] In its first assessment under the convergence criteria in May 2014, the country satisfied the inflation and interest rate criteria, but did not satisfy the public finances and ERM membership criteria.[80] The European Central Bank expects Croatia to be approved for ERM-II membership at the earliest in 2016, leading to a subsequent euro adoption at the earliest in 2019.[81] According to a eurobarometer poll in April 2015, 53 per cent of Croatians are in favor of introducing the euro (a decrease of 2 per cent from 2014) while 40 per cent are opposed (an increase of 1 per cent from 2014).[77][78]

Czech Republic[edit]

Following their accession to the EU in May 2004, the Czech Republic aimed to replace the koruna with the euro in 2010, however this was postponed indefinitely.[82] The European sovereign-debt crisis further decreased the Czech Republic's interest in joining the eurozone.[83] Then Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas said that since the conditions governing the eurozone had significantly changed since their accession treaty was ratified, he believed that Czechs should be able to decide by a referendum whether to join the Eurozone under the new terms.[84] In late 2010 a discussion arose within the Czech government, partially initiated by then President Václav Klaus, a well known eurosceptic, over negotiating an opt-out from joining the eurozone. Nečas later stated that an opt-out was unnecessary because the Czech Republic could not be forced to join the ERM II and thus could decide if or when to fulfil one of the necessary criteria to join the eurozone, an approach similar to the one taken by Sweden.[85][86]

Miloš Zeman, who was elected President of the Czech Republic in early 2013, supports euro adoption by the Czech Republic, though he also advocates for a referendum on the decision.[87] Prior to being elected Prime Minister, Bohuslav Sobotka stated on 25 April 2013 that he was "convinced that the government that will be formed after next year's election should set the euro entry date" and that "1 January 2020 could be a date to look at".[88] In line with this, the governor of the Czech National Bank, having an advisory role towards the government about the timing of euro adoption, described 2019 as the earliest possible euro entry date.[89]

In December 2013, the Czech government approved a recommendation from the Czech National Bank and Ministry of Finance, against setting a formal target date for euro adoption or joining ERM-II in 2014.[90] In April 2014, the Czech Ministry of Finance confirmed in its Convergence Programme delivered to the European Commission that the country had not yet set a target date for euro adoption and would not apply for ERM-II membership in 2014. Their goal was to limit their time as an ERM-II member, prior to acceding to the eurozone, to as brief as possible. Moreover, it was the opinion of the previous government that: "the fiscal problems of the eurozone, together with continued difficulty to predict the development of the monetary union, do not create a favorable environment for the future adoption of the euro."[91] According to a Eurobarometer poll in April 2015, 29 per cent of Czechs were in favour of introducing the euro (an increase of 13 per cent from 2014) while 70 per cent were opposed (a decrease of 7 per cent from 2014)[77][78]

Czech president Milos Zeman stated in June 2014, that he hoped his country would adopt the euro as soon as 2017, arguing that adoption would be beneficial for the Czech economy overall.[92] The opposition ODS party responded by running a campaign for Czechs to sign an anti-euro petition, handed over to the Czech Senate in November 2014, but viewed by political commentators as not having any changing impact of the government's policy to adopt the euro in the medium term without holding referendums about it.[93]

In December 2014, the Czech government approved a joint recommendation from the Czech National Bank and Ministry of Finance, against setting a formal target date for euro adoption or joining ERM-II during the course of 2015.[94] In March 2015, the ruling Czech Social Democratic Party decided at its annual congress to adopt the policy of striving hard to gather political support for the state to adopt the euro by 2020, as one of their four top priorities.[95]

Hungary[edit]

Main article: Hungary and the euro

With their accession to the EU in 2004, Hungary began planning to adopt the euro in place of the forint. However, the country's high deficit delayed this. After the 2006 election, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány introduced austerity measures, reducing the deficit to less than 5% in 2007 from 9.2%. In February 2011, newly elected Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, of the soft eurosceptic Fidesz party, made clear, that he did not expect the euro to be adopted in Hungary before 1 January 2020.[96] Orbán said the country was not yet ready to adopt the currency and they will not discuss the possibility until the public debt reaches a 50% threshold.[97] The public debt-to-GDP ratio was 81.0% when Orban's 50% target was set in 2011, and it is currently forecast to decline to 73.5% in 2016.[98]

In April 2013, Viktor Orbán proclaimed euro adoption would not happen until the Hungarian purchasing power parity weighted GDP per capita had reached 90% of the eurozone average.[99] According to Eurostat, this relative percentage rose from 57.9% in 2004 to 62.1% in 2013.[100][101] If the same pace of "catching up" progress was to be expected in the future (as in the past nine years), Hungary would only reach Orban's 90% target and adopt the euro in 2073. Shortly after Viktor Orbán had been re-elected as Prime Minister for another four-year term in April 2014,[102] the Hungarian Central Bank announced they plan to distribute a new series of Forint bank notes in 2018.[103] No official target date has been set for euro adoption.

According to a eurobarometer poll in April 2015, 60 per cent of Hungarians are in favor of introducing the euro (a decrease of 4 per cent from 2014) while 35 per cent are opposed (an increase of 5 per cent from 2014).[77][78]

Poland[edit]

Main article: Poland and the euro

Article 227 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland[104] will need to be amended to allow a change of the Polish currency from the złoty to the euro. In December 2011 Polish foreign minister Radosław Sikorski said that Poland aimed to adopt the euro on 1 January 2016, but only if "the eurozone is reformed by then, and the entrance is beneficial to us."[105] In the autumn of 2012 the Monetary Policy Council of the Polish National Bank published its official monetary guidelines for 2013, confirming earlier political statements that Poland should only join the ERM II once the existing eurozone countries had overcome the ongoing sovereign-debt crisis, to "maximise the benefits of monetary integration and minimise associated costs".[106]

In late 2012, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that he planned to launch a "national debate" on euro adoption the following spring, and in December 2012 Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said that his country should strive to adopt the euro as soon as possible. However, the opposition Law and Justice Party opposes euro adoption and the governing parties do not have enough seats in the Sejm to make the required constitutional amendment.[107][108] In January 2013, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski stated that a decision on euro adoption should not be made until after parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 2015, but that in the meantime the country should try to comply with the convergence criteria.[107] In February 2013, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice Party stated that "I do not foresee any moment when the adoption of the euro would be advantageous for us" and called for a referendum on euro adoption.[109] In March 2013, Tusk said for the first time that he would be open to considering a referendum on euro participation, decided by a simple majority, provided that it was part of a package in which the parliament first approved the necessary constitutional amendment to adopt the euro subject to approval in a referendum.[110] In April 2013 Marek Belka, head of National Bank of Poland, said that Poland should demand to be permitted to adopt the euro without first joining the ERM-II, due to concerns over currency speculation.[111] In June 2014, a joint statement by the finance minister, central bank chief and president of Poland stated that Poland should begin a debate shortly after the 2015 parliamentary election about when to adopt the euro,[112] leading to a roadmap decision that might even include identification of a target date.[113]

In October 2014, the Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechociński suggested that Poland should join the Eurozone in 2020 at the earliest.[114] The new elect Prime Minister, Ewa Kopacz, having replaced Donald Tusk for the remaining last year of the governments term, at the same time commented: "Before answering the question which target date should be set for the euro changeover, we must ask another: What is the situation of the eurozone and where are they going? If the eurozone will strengthen, then Poland should fulfill all the criteria for inclusion, which would in any case be good for the economy."[115] The PM hereby referred to the earlier political decision of first letting the National Coordination Committee for Euro Changeover complete its update of the changeover plan, which await a prior establishment of the banking union, before setting a target date for euro adoption.[nb 32]

Polls have generally showed that Poles are opposed to adopting the euro straight away,[83][117] with a eurobarometer poll in April 2015 showing that 44 per cent of Polish people are in favour of introducing the euro (a decrease of 1 per cent from 2014) while 53 per cent are opposed (no change from 2014).[77][78] However, polls conducted by TNS Polska throughout 2012–2014 have consistently shown support for eventually adopting the euro,[118][119][120][121][122][123] though that support depends on the target date. According to the latest TNS Polska poll from September 2014, the share who supported adoption was 45% against 42%. When asked about the appropriate timing, the supporters were divided into three equally sized groups, with 14% advocating for adoption within the next 5 years, another 14% preferring it should happen between 6–10 years from now, and finally 17% arguing it should happen more than 10 years from now.[123]

Romania[edit]

Main article: Romania and the euro

Originally, the euro was scheduled to be adopted by Romania in place of the leu by 2014.[124] In April 2012 the Romanian convergence report submitted under the Stability and Growth Pact listed 1 January 2015 to be the target date for euro adoption.[125] The governor of the National Bank of Romania argued in November 2012 that it had been a financial benefit for Romania to not be a part of the euro area during the European debt crisis, but that the country in the years ahead would strive to comply with all the convergence criteria.[126] In April 2013 Romania submitted their annual Convergence Programme to the European Commission, which for the first time did not specify a target date for euro adoption.[127][128] Prime Minister Victor Ponta has stated that "eurozone entry remains a fundamental objective for Romania but we can't enter poorly prepared", and that 2020 was a more realistic target.[128] The following year, Romania's Convergence Report set a target date of 1 January 2019 for euro adoption.[129][130]

According to the Erste Group Bank, it would be very difficult for Romania to meet this 2019 target, not in regards of complying with the five nominal convergence criteria values, but in regards of reaching some appropriate levels of real convergence (i.e. raising the GDP per capita from 50% to a level above 60% of the eurozone average) ahead of the euro adoption.[131] The Romanian Central Bank governor, Mugur Isărescu, admitted the target was ambitious, but obtainable if the political parties passed a legal roadmap for the required reforms to be implemented, and clarified this roadmap should lead to Romania entering ERM-2 only on 1 Jan 2017 so the euro could be adopted after two years of ERM-2 membership on 1 Jan 2019.[132]

As of April 2015, the Romanian government concluded it was still on track to attain its target for euro adoption in 2019, both in regards of ensuring full compliance with all nominal convergence criteria and in regards of ensuring a prior satisfying degree of "real convergence". The Romanian target for "real convergence" ahead of euro adoption, is for its GDP per capita (in purchasing power standards) to be above 60% of the same average figure for the entire European Union, and according to the latest outlook, this relative figure was now forecast to reach 65% in 2018 and 71% in 2020,[133] after having risen at the same pace from 29% in 2002 to 55% in 2013.[101] Finally, the Romanian government also expressed its commitment fully to join all pillars of the Banking Union, as soon as possible.[133] According to a eurobarometer poll in April 2015, 68 per cent are in favor of introducing the euro (a decrease of 6 per cent from 2014) while 26 per cent are opposed (an increase of 2 per cent from 2014).[77][78]

Sweden[edit]

Main article: Sweden and the euro

Although Sweden is required to replace the krona with the euro eventually, it maintains that joining the ERM II, a requirement for euro adoption, is voluntary,[134][135] and has chosen to remain outside pending public approval by a referendum, thereby intentionally avoiding the fulfilment of the adoption requirements. On 14 September 2003 56% of Swedes voted against adopting the euro in a referendum.[136] Most of Sweden's major parties believe that it would be in the national interest to join, but they have all pledged to abide by the result of the referendum. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stated in December 2007 that there will be no referendum until there is stable support in the polls.[137] The polls have generally showed stable support for the "no" alternative, except some polls in 2009 showing a support for "yes". Since 2010 the polls showed strong support for "no" again. According to a eurobarometer poll in April 2015, 32 percent of Swedes are in favor of introducing the euro (an increase of 9 per cent from November 2014) while 66 percent are opposed (a decrease of 7 per cent from November 2014).[78][138]

States not obliged to join[edit]

Denmark[edit]

Main article: Denmark and the euro

Denmark has pegged its krone to the euro at €1 = DKK 7.46038 ± 2.25% through the ERM II since it replaced the original ERM on 1 January 1999. During negotiations of the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, Denmark secured a protocol which gave it the right to decide if and when they would join the euro. Denmark subsequently notified the Council of the European Communities of their decision to opt out of the euro. This was done in response to the Maastricht treaty having been rejected by the Danish people in a referendum earlier that year. As a result of the changes, the treaty was ratified in a subsequent referendum held in 1993.

On 28 September 2000, a euro referendum was held in Denmark resulting in a 53.2% vote against the government's proposal to abrogate the euro opt-out. Since 2007, the Danish government has discussed holding another referendum on euro adoption.[139] The uncertainty, both in terms of the stability of the euro and the establishment of new political structures at the EU level, resulting from the ongoing financial crisis led the government to postpone the referendum. After a new government came to power in September 2011, they stated that the referendum would not be held during its four-year term due to this uncertainty. Opinion polls, which had generally favoured euro adoption from 2002 to 2010, showed a rapid decline in support during the height of the European sovereign debt crisis,[140] reaching a low in May 2012 with 26% in favor towards 67% against while 7% were in doubt.[141]

United Kingdom[edit]

The United Kingdom entered the ERM in October 1990. The UK government spent over £6 billion trying to keep its currency within the narrow limits prescribed by ERM, but was forced to exit the programme within two years after its currency the pound sterling came under major pressure from currency speculators. The ensuing crash of 16 September 1992 was subsequently dubbed "Black Wednesday". During the negotiations of the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 the UK secured an opt-out from adopting the euro.[142] The Labour government of Tony Blair argued that the UK should join the euro, contingent on approval in a referendum, if five economic tests were met. The UK Treasury first assessed tests in October 1997, when it was decided that the UK economy was neither sufficiently converged with that of the rest of the EU, nor sufficiently flexible, to justify a recommendation of membership at that time. The assessment of June 2003 concluded that not all were met.[143] The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government elected in 2010 pledged not to join the euro during its term of office,[144][145] due to expire in 2015.

Outside the EU[edit]

The EU's position is that no independent sovereign state is allowed to join the eurozone without first being a full member of the European Union (EU). However, four independent sovereign European microstates situated within the borders of the eurozone states, have such a small size — rendering them unlikely ever to join the EU — that they have been allowed to adopt the euro through the signing of monetary agreements, which granted them rights to mint local euro coins without gaining a seat in the European Central Bank. In addition, some dependent territories of EU member states have also been allowed to use the euro without being part of the EU, conditional the signing of agreements where a eurozone state guarantee their prior adoption of regulations applying specifically for the eurozone.

Iceland[edit]

During the 2008–2011 Icelandic financial crisis, instability in the Icelandic króna led to discussion in Iceland about adopting the euro. However, Jürgen Stark, a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, has stated that "Iceland would not be able to adopt the EU currency without first becoming a member of the EU".[146] Iceland subsequently applied for EU membership. As of the ECB's May 2012 convergence report, Iceland did not meet any of the convergence criteria.[147] One year later, the country managed to comply with the deficit criteria and had begun to decrease their debt-to-GDP ratio,[19] but still suffered from elevated HICP inflation and long-term governmental interest rates.[6][8] On 13 September 2013, a new elect government dissolved the Icelandic accession negotiation team, and thus suspended its application to join the European Union until a referendum can be held on the question whether or not the accession negotiations shall resume and complete, so that the public ultimately at such time will get the opportunity in a second referendum to vote yes/no to the question "whether or not Iceland shall join the EU on the negotiated terms?".[148][149][150]

Kosovo and Montenegro[edit]

State/Territory Adopted Seeking Notes Pop.
 Kosovo[a] 1 January 2002[152]
(unilateral adoption)
EU Membership[153] Potential candidate 1,700,000
 Montenegro 1 January 2002[154]
(unilateral adoption)
EU Membership[155] Candidate 684,736

Kosovo[a] and Montenegro have unilaterally adopted and used the euro since its launch, as they previously used the German mark rather than the Yugoslav dinar. This was due to political concerns that Serbia would use the currency to destabilise these provinces (Montenegro was then in a union with Serbia) so they received Western help in adopting and using the mark (though there was no restriction on the use of the dinar or any other currency). They switched to the euro when the mark was replaced, but have signed no monetary agreement with the ECB; rather the country depends only on euros already in circulation.[156][157] Kosovo also still uses the Serbian dinar, which replaced the Yugoslav dinar, in areas mainly populated by the Serbian minority.[158]

European microstates[edit]

State Adopted euro Issuing rights Pop.
 Andorra[159] 1 January 2002 (de facto)[160]
1 April 2012 (de jure)[4]
1 July 2013 82,000
 Monaco[161][162][163] 1 January 1999 1 January 2002 32,671
 San Marino[164][165][166] 1 January 1999 1 January 2002 29,615
  Vatican City[167][168][169] 1 January 1999 1 January 2002 800

The European microstates of Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City, which had a monetary agreement with a eurozone state when the euro was introduced, were granted a special permission to continue these agreements and to issue separate euro coins, but they don't get any input or observer status in the economic affairs of the eurozone. Andorra, which had used the euro unilaterally since the inception of the currency, negotiated a similar agreement which granted them the right to officially use the euro as of 1 April 2012 and to issue euro coins.[4] Liechtenstein, situated on the border of Switzerland, opted instead to sign a monetary agreement making the Swiss franc their legal tender since 1920, and so far has not expressed any interest in adopting the euro.

Dependent territories of EU member states — outside EU (OCT's)[edit]

Four of the dependent territories of EU member states having opted not to be a part of the EU (OCT's), have decided nevertheless to adopt the euro:

Faroe Islands and Greenland[edit]

The Danish krone is currently used by both of its dependent territories, Greenland and Faroe Islands, with their monetary policy controlled by the Danish Central Bank.[170] If Denmark does adopt the euro, separate referendums would be required in both territories to decide whether they should follow suit. Both territories have voted not to be a part of the EU in the past, and their populations will not participate in the Danish euro referendum.[171] The Faroe Islands utilise a special version of the Danish krone notes that have been printed with text in the Faroese language.[172] It is regarded as a foreign currency, but can be exchanged 1:1 with the Danish version.[170][172] On 5 November 2009 the Faroese Parliament approved a proposal to investigate the possibility for euro adoption, including an evaluation of the legal and economic impact of adopting the euro ahead of Denmark.[173][174][175][176]

New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna[edit]

The CFP franc is currently used as a euro pegged currency by three French overseas collectivities: French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia. The French government has recommended that all three territories decide in favour of adopting the euro. French Polynesia has declared themselves in favour of joining the eurozone. Wallis and Futuna announced a neutral standpoint, that they would support a currency choice similar to what New Caledonia chooses. However, New Caledonia has not yet made any decision, because they first await the fallout of an independence referendum, scheduled to be held at the latest in November 2018,[b] as this might influence their opinion whether or not to adopt the euro. If the three collectivities decide to adopt the euro, the French government would make an application on their behalf to the European Council, and the switch to the euro could be made after a couple of years. If the collectivities fail to reach a unanimous decision about the future of the CFP franc, it would be technically possible to implement an individual currency decision for each territory.[178]

Summary of adoption progress[edit]

EU member states which have not adopted the euro
EU member states
(outside eurozone)
Currency ERM II
membership[60]
Central rate
versus euro[60]
Euro adoption
target date[179]
name code
 Bulgaria Lev BGN No 1.95583[nb 31] await political decision
 Croatia Kuna HRK No No (free floating) await political decision
 Czech Republic Koruna CZK No No (free floating) await political decision
 Denmark Krone DKK 1 January 1999 7.46038 Opt-out[nb 33]
 Hungary Forint HUF No No (free floating) await political decision
 Poland Złoty PLN No No (free floating) await political decision
 Romania Leu RON No No (free floating) 1 January 2019[133]
 Sweden Krona SEK No No (free floating) Pending referendum
approval
[nb 34]
 United Kingdom Pound sterling GBP No No (free floating) Opt-out [nb 35]

The 16 EU member states, that joined the union in 1995, 2004, 2007 and 2013 are required by treaty to adopt the euro as soon as they meet the criteria. For them, the single currency was "part of the package" of European Union membership. Unlike for the UK and Denmark, "opting out" from the third stage of the EMU is not permitted. As of 2015, nine of those sixteen members had adopted the euro:

Article 140 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires the European Commission and the ECB to report to the Ecofin Council at least once every two years, or at the request of a Member State with a "euro derogation", on the progress made by states to comply with the euro adoption criteria and their suitability to join the eurozone. The most recent report was published 4 June 2014, and covered the 8 remaining non-euro member states without an opt-out: Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Sweden.[180] Lithuania's adoption of the euro on 1 January 2015 was given final approval by the Council of the European Union on 23 July 2014.[61]

As reported by the table below, the remaining seven new EU members are expected to take longer to adopt the euro. This is in part due to the challenges caused by the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the necessity for their economies to catch up to European standards after recently joining the EU's internal market, before being able to comply with all the economic convergence criteria.[181] Each country aspiring to adopt the euro has been requested by the European Commission to develop a "strategy for criteria compliance" and "national euro changeover plan". In the "changeover plan", the country can select from between three scenarios for euro adoption:[182]

  1. Madrid scenario (with a transition period between euro adoption day and the physical circulation of euros)
  2. Big-bang scenario (euro adoption day coincides with the first day of circulating euros)
  3. Big-bang scenario with phaseout (the same as the second scenario, but with a transitional period for legal documents like contracts to be denoted in euros)

The second scenario is recommended for candidate countries, while the third is only advised if at a late stage in the preparational process they experience technical difficulties (i.e. with IT systems), which would make an extended transitional period for the phasing out of the old currency at the legal level a necessity.[182] The European Commission has published a handbook detailing how states should prepare for the changeover. It recommends that a national steering committee is established at a very early stage of the state's preparation process, with the task to outline detailed plans for the following five actions:[183]

  1. Prepare the public with an information campaign and dual price display.
  2. Prepare the public sectors introduction at the legal level.
  3. Prepare the private sectors introduction at the legal level.
  4. Prepare the vending machine industry so that they can deliver adjusted and quality tested vending machines.
  5. Frontload banks as well as public and private retail sector several months (although at the earliest 4 months[184]) ahead of the euro adoption day, with their needed supply of euro coins and notes.

The table below summarizes each candidate country's national plan for euro adoption and currency changeover.[185]


State Official target for euro adoption[186] ERM/ERM‑II
entry[60]
Coordinating institution Changeover plan
(latest version)
Introduc-tion[187] Dual circulation
period
Exchange of coins period Dual price display Coin design
Bulgaria Bulgaria Not set 2018 or earlierNot set
(Possibly by 2018)[73]
Only published a
strategy plan[188]
Approved
Croatia Croatia 2019Not set
(earliest Jan 2019)[81]
2016Not set
(earliest 2016)[81]
Competition
under
consideration
Czech Republic Czech Republic 2019Not set
(earliest Jan 2019)[189]
2016Not set
(earliest 2016)[94]
2006:02National Coordination Group
(founded Feb.2006)
2007:04Approved Apr.2007[190] Big-Bang 2 weeks Banks:
6 months,
Central bank:
5 years
Start 1 month after Council approval of euro adoption, and lasts until 12 months after adoption Competition
under
consideration
Denmark Denmark Opt-out formal, with current abrogation considerationOpt-out
(A referendum is planned for after the next general election)
1979-03-1313 Mar 1979 2000The original plan from 2000,[191] is no longer valid, and will be replaced by a new plan ahead of the referendum. Madrid scenario
(as per the outdated plan)
4 weeks
or 2 months
(as per the outdated plan)
Central bank:
30 years

(as per the outdated plan)
Start on the day of euro circulation, and last 4 weeks or 2 months
(as per the outdated plan)
In 2000, prior to the euro referendum, a possible coin design was published [192]
Hungary Hungary 2020Not set
(earliest Jan 2020)[96]
Not set 2007:09National Euro Coordination Committee
(founded Sep.2007)
2009:12Updated Dec.2009[193] Big-Bang less than
1 month
(not decided yet)
Central bank:
5 years
Start 1 day after Council approval of euro adoption, and lasts until 6 months after adoption Not yet
decided
Poland Poland Not set Not set[nb 36] 2009:11Government Plenipotentiary for the Euro Adoption in Poland

National Coordination Committee for Euro Changeover

Coordinating Council
(founded Nov.2009)

2011Approved in 2011
(updated plan in preparation)
[nb 32]
Public survey
under consideration
Romania Romania 1 Jan 2019[133] 2017-01-011 Jan 2017[132] 2011:05Interministerial Committee for changeover to euro
(founded May 2011)
11 months[197] Not yet
decided
Sweden Sweden ReferendumPending referendum approval[nb 34] Not under consideration[nb 37]
United Kingdom United Kingdom Opt-out formalOpt-out Not under consideration

The 2008 financial crisis caused a delay in the schedule for adoption of the euro for most of the new EU members. The convergence progress for the newly accessed EU member states, is supported and evaluated by the yearly submission of the "Convergence programme" under the Stability and Growth Pact. As a general rule, the majority of economic experts recommend for newly accessed EU member states with a forecasted era of catching up and a past record of "macroeconomic imbalance" or "financial instability", that these countries first use some years to address these issues and ensure "stable convergence", before taking the next step to join the ERM-II, and as the final step (when complying with all convergence criteria) ultimately adopt the euro. In practical terms, any non-euro EU member state can become an ERM-II member whenever they want, as this mechanism does not define any criteria to comply with. Economists however consider it to be more desirable for "unstable countries", to maintain their flexibility of having a floating currency, rather than getting an inflexible and partly fixed currency as an ERM-II member. Only at the time of being considered fully "stable", the member states will be encouraged to enter into ERM-II, in which they need to stay for a minimum of two years without presence of "severe tensions" for their currency, while at the same time also ensuring compliance with the other four convergence criteria, before finally being approved to adopt the euro.[181]

The table below has mapped the historic exchange rate developments for the remaining states with a euro derogation, pre and post of the 2008 financial crisis. Positive percentage changes are equal to a depreciation of the local currency, while negative percentage changes are equal to an appreciation of the local currency. For all of the remaining non-eurozone states in Central and Eastern Europe with a free-floating currency (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania), having economies characterized by being engaged in an ongoing significant catching up process — moving closer year by year towards the average values of the eurozone, the aftermath of the financial crisis resulted in severe currency devaluations.

Exchange rates FX Oct 2002
(currency/euro)[198]
FX Apr 2008
(currency/euro)[199]
FX 2 Sep 2014
(currency/euro)[60]
2008/2002
(%-change)
2014/2008
(%-change)
Bulgaria[nb 31] 1.95583 1.95583 1.95583 0.0 0.0
Czech Republic 30.66 25.0638 27.784 -18.3 10.9
Hungary 243.53 253.752 315.49 4.2 24.3
Poland 4.043 3.44213 4.2141 -14.9 22.4
Romania 3.127 3.64281 4.4116 16.5 21.1
Sweden 9.105 9.36989 9.2018 2.9 -1.8

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments normalised relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.
  2. ^ According to the Nouméa Accord, the Congress of New Caledonia is entitled to schedule an independence referendum during 2014-18, if a ⅔ majority for this exist in the Congress. If the Congress refrain to call the referendum during 2014-18, the French state will call for it to take place in November 2018. Should the electorate vote "yes" to full independence, then the territory will change status from its current OCT status to become a fully sovereign state. Should the electorate vote "no" to full independence, then a second independence referendum will be called two years later, asking if the electorate is certain about their choice. If the electorate confirm their "no vote" in the second independence referendum, another third one will be called two years later, asking if the electorate is absolutely sure. If the "no vote" will be confirmed again, this settle the question, meaning that New Caledonia will maintain its current autonomy powers while continuing being a dependent OCT associated with France. In theory, the territory also have the third option "to become an integrated part of France as an Outermost region (OMR status)" — which automatically also would make it an integrated part of EU and the Eurozone — but this is not under consideration by any of the established political parties on the island, and thus not an option the electorate can vote for in the independence referendum.[177]
  1. ^ A particular high uncertainty exists for the Polish selection of HICP outliers, as it is only based upon evaluation of the first part of the official outlier criteria. The official outlier criteria require both (1) The HICP rate to be significantly below the eurozone average and (2) This "significant below" HICP to stem from adverse price developments from exceptional factors (i.e. severe enforced wage cuts, exceptional developments in energy/food/currency markets, or a strong recession). Precedent assessment cases proof the second part of the outlier criteria also needs to be met, i.e. Finland had a HICP criteria value being 1.7% below eurozone average in August 2004 without being classified to be "HICP outlier" by the European Commission,[29] and Sweden likewise had a HICP criteria value being 1.4% below eurozone average in April 2013 without being classified to be "HICP outlier" by the European Commission.[30]
    In addition to the uncertainty related to the fact that the Polish source only evaluate the first requirement, there is also uncertainty related to the Polish quantification of what "significant below" means. For all assessment months until March 2014, the Polish source had adopted the assumption (based on precedent assessment cases) that "all states with HICP criteria values minimum 1.8% below eurozone average" should be classified to be "HICP outliers". Based on the 2014 EC Convergence report's classification of Cyprus with a HICP criteria value only 1.4% below eurozone average as a "HICP outlier", the Polish source accordingly also adjusted their "HICP outlier selection criteria" from April 2014 onwards, so that it now automatically classify "all states with HICP criteria values minimum 1.4% below eurozone average" as "HICP outliers".[31] The European Commission never quantified what "significant below" means, which is why the Polish source attempts to quantify it based on precedent assessment cases, but this also means it is uncertain whether or not the currently assumed 1.4% limit is correct. It could perhaps just as well be 1.0%.
  2. ^ a b Reference values were last time officially published in the EC convergence report of June 2014. The next regular convergence report is scheduled to be published around May 2016. Any member state with a euro derogation, can however request for an extraordinary convergence report to be published before then - if they expect having fulfilled all criteria at such time. The table has recalculated the constantly moving reference values for HICP inflation and Long-term interest rates, based on the calculation principle outlined in the 2014 Convergence report (where a certain fixed buffer value is added to the moving yearly average for the three EU Member States with the lowest HICP figures - ignoring states classified as "outliers"), with input of Eurostat's verified average data for the past 12 months by the end of the given assessment month. The black values in the table are sourced by the officially published convergence reports, while the lime-green values are only qualified estimates - not confirmed by any official convergence report - but sourced by monthly estimation reports published by the Polish Ministry of Finance. The selection or non-selection of outliers by the lime-green data lines, could potentially be different, from those outliers which the Commission would have selected if they had published a specific report at the concerned point of time.[32]
  3. ^ a b c d Reference value limit for HICP inflation rates: The 12-months average for the annual HICP inflation rate of any euro adoption applicant, shall not exceed the HICP reference value, which is calculated to be the unweighted arithmetic average of the similar HICP inflation rates in the 3 EU member states with the lowest 12-months average HICP inflation plus 1.5%. While the ordering of best HICP performers is based on unrounded raw data, the calculation of the unweighted arithmetic average will always be based upon input of rounded data (rounded up or down to one digit after punctuation). If any of the 3 best performing states have a HICP rate "significantly below" the similarly averaged HICP rate for the eurozone (values being at least 1.4% below were found to meet this requirement in previous EC reports), and if it can be established this low HICP rate has been primarily caused by exceptional factors (i.e. severe enforced wage cuts, exceptional developments in energy/food/currency markets, or a strong recession), then such a state will be deemed to be an outlier and not qualify as a benchmark country for the calculation of the reference value, and will then be replaced by the EU state with the fourth lowest 12-months average HICP rate.[32] As it is still uncertain, whether or not EC and ECB will consider a state with a 12-months average HICP-value in the range of 1.0-1.3% below eurozone average, to be "significant below" and hereby in risk to be assessed being a "HICP-outlier", the table make note for all states measured to be minimum 1.0% below eurozone average, whether or not the given source selected them to be HICP-outliers.
  4. ^ a b c d Reference value limit for long-term interest rates: The annual average for the yield of 10-year government bonds must be no more than 2.0% above the unweighted arithmetic average of the similar bond yields in the 3 EU member states selected as benchmark states for the calculation of the HICP reference value. If any of these 3 benchmark states in concern, both have bond yields which are "significantly above" the similarly averaged bond yield for the eurozone ("significant above" has not been quantified, but Ireland was judged to be "significant above" when it posted a 4.71% differential in March 2012) and at the same time does not have complete funding access to financial markets by the last day of the 2-year assessment period (which will be the case for as long as a country is unable to issue new government bonds with 10-year maturity - instead being dependent on disbursements from a sovereign state bailout programme), then such a country will be deemed to be an outlier and not qualify as a benchmark state for the calculation of the reference value - leaving it to be calculated as the average of fewer than three states.[34][35]
  5. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 3.1% in Dec-2012 (on basis of: Sweden=0.936%=0.9%, Ireland=1.922%=1.9%, Germany=2.137%=2.1%).
  6. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 3.5% in Dec-2012 (on basis of: Sweden=1.59%, Germany=1.50%).
  7. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 3.1% in Jan-2013 (on basis of: Sweden=0.928%=0.9%, Ireland=1.936%=1.9%, Latvia=2.0496%=2.0%).
  8. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.0% in Jan-2013 (on basis of: Sweden=1.60%, Latvia=4.35%).
  9. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 3.0% in Feb-2013 (on basis of: Sweden=0.884%=0.9%, Latvia=1.805%=1.8%, Ireland=1.902%=1.9%).
  10. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.8% in Feb-2013 (on basis of: Sweden=1.61%, Latvia=4.17%, Ireland=5.61%).
  11. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 2.9% in Mar-2013 (on basis of: Sweden=0.840%=0.8%, Latvia=1.563%=1.6%, Ireland=1.767%=1.8%).
  12. ^ If Greece had been deemed to be a HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.7% in Mar-2013 (on basis of: Sweden=1.61%, Latvia=4.00%, Ireland=5.35%).
  13. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the HICP reference value would have been 1.8% in Dec-2013 (on basis of: Latvia=0.011%=0.0%, Portugal=0.440%=0.4%, Sweden=0.443%=0.4%).
  14. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.9% in Dec-2013 (on basis of: Latvia=3.34%, Portugal=6.29%, Sweden=2.12%).
  15. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the HICP reference value would have been 1.8% in Jan-2014 (on basis of: Latvia=0.003%=0.0%, Sweden=0.403%=0.4%, Portugal=0.408%=0.4%).
  16. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.9% in Jan-2014 (on basis of: Latvia=3.36%, Sweden=2.17%, Portugal=6.21%).
  17. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the HICP reference value would have been 1.7% in Feb-2014 (on basis of: Latvia=0.018%=0.0%, Ireland=0.321%=0.3%, Sweden=0.375%=0.4%).
  18. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.1% in Feb-2014 (on basis of: Latvia=3.35%, Ireland=3.68%, Sweden=2.19%).
  19. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the HICP reference value would have been 1.7% in Mar-2014 (on basis of: Latvia=0.024%=0.0%, Portugal=0.295%=0.3%, Ireland=0.298%=0.3%).
  20. ^ If Bulgaria and Cyprus had been deemed to be HICP outliers, the Interest rate reference value would have been 6.3% in Mar-2014 (on basis of: Latvia=3.33%, Portugal=5.95%, Ireland=3.61%).
  21. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 1.7% in May-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=0.151%=0.2%, Latvia=0.204%=0.2%, Ireland=0.283%=0.3%).
  22. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 6.1% in May-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=5.60%, Latvia=3.27%, Ireland=3.48%).
  23. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 1.7% in Jun-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=0.032%=0.0%, Latvia=0.2498%=0.2%, Ireland=0.260%=0.3%).
  24. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 6.0% in Jun-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=5.37%, Latvia=3.21%, Ireland=3.35%).
  25. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 1.6% in Jul-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=−0.090%=-0.1%, Ireland=0.237%=0.2%, Latvia=0.256%=0.3%).
  26. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.8% in Jul-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=5.11%, Ireland=3.21%, Latvia=3.14%).
  27. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 1.5% in Aug-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=−0.109%=-0.1%, Spain=0.081%=0.1%, Slovakia=0.141%=0.1%).
  28. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.6% in Aug-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=4.84%, Spain=3.45%, Slovakia=2.62%).
  29. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the HICP reference value would have been 1.5% in Sep-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=−0.135%=-0.1%, Spain=0.019%=0.0%, Slovakia=0.042%=0.0%).
  30. ^ If Cyprus had been deemed still to be an HICP outlier, the Interest rate reference value would have been 5.4% in Sep-2014 (on basis of: Portugal=4.52%, Spain=3.26%, Slovakia=2.49%).
  31. ^ a b c As of January 2015, Bulgaria is not officially part of ERM II.[60] The Bulgarian National Bank pursues its primary objective of price stability through an exchange rate anchor in the context of a Currency Board Arrangement (CBA), obliging them to exchange monetary liabilities and euro at the official exchange rate 1.95583 BGN/EUR without any limit. The CBA was introduced on 1 July 1997 as a 1:1 peg against German mark, and the peg subsequently changed to euro on 1 January 1999.[32]
  32. ^ a b Cite from the 2014 Polish convergence report: Due to the significant reform agenda in the European Union and in the euro area, the current objective is to update the National Euro Changeover Plan with reference to the impact of those changes on Poland’s euro adoption strategy. The date of completion of the document is conditional on the adoption of binding solutions on the EU forum concerning the key institutional changes, in particular, those referring to the banking union. The outcome of these changes determines the area of the necessary institutional and legal adjustments as well as the national balance of costs and benefits arising from introduction of the common currency.[116]
  33. ^ Denmark negotiated an opt-out from the Maastricht Treaty and is not obliged to join the euro. However, the Danish government has pledged to hold a referendum on the opt-outs after the next Parliamentary elections.
  34. ^ a b Sweden, while obliged to adopt the euro under its Treaty of Accession, has chosen to deliberately fail to meet the convergence criteria for euro adoption by not joining ERM II without prior approval by a referendum.
  35. ^ The UK negotiated an opt-out from the Maastricht Treaty and is not obliged to join the euro.
  36. ^ ERM-II does not define any requirements to be met for membership. However, for the purpose of providing a basis for "secure participation" with full exchange rate stability, the Polish government introduced in April 2009 four self-imposed prerequisites to be met before joining ERM-II:[194]
    1. "The level of the central parity should reflect macroeconomic fundamentals, meaning it shall be consistent with the equilibrium exchange rate. For the purpose of identifying the true stable equilibrium central rate, the moment of ERM-II entry should be preceded by at least a few-month period of exchange rate volatility not exceeding significantly the level observed for other currencies before their ERM-II entry."
    2. "The declared duration of ERM-II membership should be as short as possible."
    3. "The fulfillment of all the formal requirements at the next time of assessing Poland’s readiness for euro adoption should be ensured" [per the economic forecasts].
    4. "Political consensus over the necessary formal adjustments to adopt the common currency is indispensable."
    Poland did not enter the ERM-II in the period 2009–2013 due to the zloty’s volatility and developments on the international markets.[195] Another reason for the delayed ERM-2 membership, was Poland's incompliance with the fiscal criteria, having an open EDP from mid 2009, only being scheduled to close in mid 2016.[196]
  37. ^ The Swedish National Bank's monetary policy is not to peg the SEK against the euro - but instead to operate an inflation managed free floating exchange-rate regime, for as long as there is no prior referendum approval for euro adoption, which is why potential ERM2-membership is not under consideration for the time being.

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