Wednesday

1st Feb 2023

Romania most keen to join eurozone

  • Across the seven non-member countries, 57 percent are in favour of introducing the euro, while 40 percent are against (Photo: Images Money)

Of all eight non-euro EU member states, Romanians top the chart of single-currency favourability, with 75 percent wanting the euro switchover - up from 63 percent last year.

According to the Flash Eurobarometer, Romanians is followed by other eastern and central European nations, with 69-percent of Hungarians, 61-percent of Croats and 54-percent of Bulgarians favouring joining the single currency.

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The survey was carried out in seven member states that have not yet adopted the single currency: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden. Denmark has decided not to join, having negotiated an opt-out.

"Across the seven countries, 57 percent are in favour of introducing the euro, while 40 percent are against. There is wide variation at country level: three quarters are in favour of introducing the euro in Romania, but in the Czech Republic and Sweden, a majority of respondents are against the idea of introducing the euro", the survey finds.

Across all countries, except the Czech Republic, there has been an increase in the proportion of those in favour of introducing the euro, compared to 2020.

Yet, most respondents in each country think introducing the euro will increase prices and are concerned about abusive price-setting during the changeover.

While Romanians lead in terms of favourability towards the euro they are also much aware of their fiscal unreadiness, with 69 percent of the population saying that their country is not prepared to join the eurozone.

In order to become part of the single currency, a country must meet a set of criteria, with Romania no longer fulfilling the requirements - according to last year's European Commission report on euro convergence.

To join the eurozone an EU member state must have price stability, sound and sustainable public finances, exchange-rate stability and sustainable long-term interest rates.

Romania has moved back and forth on various phases of the accession process over the past 14 years since it became part of the EU, outlining plans and setting numerous deadlines for joining the eurozone.

The country lags behind in its readiness to adopt the single currency. Romania previously set 2024 as a deadline to join the eurozone but the odds are slim for that to happen.

Moveable 'deadline'

Recently, officials in Bucharest pushed back the deadline. Prime minister Florin Citu said at the beginning of the year that Romania could join the eurozone in 2027-2028.

On the other hand, Bulgaria and Croatia have been admitted in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) - the first step in joining the euro.

Officials in the Bulgaria set 1 January 2024 as the accession date to the euro area. Government representatives said that there will be no transition period and that the national currency and the euro will circulate simultaneously for a month, with Bulgaria's lev withdrawn from circulation in early February 2024.

Sweden remains one of the most-prepared countries in switching to the euro.

Yet joining the ERM requires public approval. Back in September 2003, 56-percent of Swedes voted against adopting the euro in a referendum, with political parties pledging to abide by the result of the referendum.

All member states of the European Union, except Denmark which negotiated opt-outs from the provisions, are obliged to adopt the euro as their sole currency once they meet the criteria.

Author bio

Cristian Gherasim is a freelance journalist contributing to EUobserver, Euronews, EU Reporter, Katoikos, Von Mises Institute, and bne IntelliNews, with a particular focus on European and regional affairs.

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