No eurozone hopeful fit to join single currency yet: ECB
(FRANKFURT) - None of the eight countries on the waiting list to adopt the euro meets all the required membership criteria at the moment, the European Central Bank said on Wednesday.
The ECB publishes a Convergence Report at least once every two years on the progress made by EU member states that have not yet adopted the euro towards joining the single currency.
Ten of the EU's 27 member countries have not yet done so, but two of them -- Britain and Denmark -- have opt-out clauses, allowing them not to join the euro.
Of the remaining eight -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Sweden -- no single country currently meets the euro membership criteria, the ECB found in its latest report.
The report examines the prospective eurozone members with regard to their track record on inflation, government finances, exchange rates, long-term interest rates and legal convergence.
In none of the eight countries examined was the legal framework fully compatible with all the requirements, the ECB said.
"Incompatibilities remain regarding central bank independence," the bank complained.
Hungary, in particular, has recently come under fire over changes to its central bank law which are seen as damaging the independence that is enshrined in eurozone statutes.
Another prerequisite is that countries peg their currencies to the euro for at least two years, and Latvia and Lithuania are the only two of the eight which currently do so.
Last week, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis told AFP in an interview that his country intends to join the eurozone in 2014 despite the debt crisis, hoping it will bring an element of economic stability.
Lithuania has not given a date for euro membership.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has also said his country is still ready to join the euro, even if the single currency area's reputation has been dented by the debt crisis.
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