Since 1 January 1999 the euro has been introduced in 19 EU Member States; this report examines seven of the eight EU countries that have not yet adopted the single currency. One of the eight countries, Denmark, has notified the Council of the European Union (EU Council) of its intention not to participate in Stage Three of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). As a consequence, Convergence Reports only have to be provided for Denmark if the country so requests. Given the absence of such a request, this report examines the following countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden. All seven countries are committed under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter the “Treaty”) to adopt the euro, which implies that they must strive to fulfil all the convergence criteria.
In producing this report, the ECB fulfils its requirement under Article 140 of the
Treaty. Article 140 says that at least once every two years, or at the request of an EU Member State with a derogation, the ECB and the European Commission must report to the EU Council “on the progress made by the Member States with a derogation in fulfilling their obligations regarding the achievement of economic and monetary union”. The seven countries under review in this report have been examined as part of the regular two-year cycle. The European Commission has also prepared a report, and both reports are being submitted to the EU Council in parallel.
In this report, the ECB uses the framework applied in its previous Convergence Reports. It examines, for the seven countries concerned, whether a high degree of sustainable economic convergence has been achieved, whether the national legislation is compatible with the Treaties and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (Statute), and whether the statutory requirements are fulfilled for the relevant national central bank (NCB) to become an integral part of the Eurosystem.
The examination of the economic convergence process is highly dependent on the quality and integrity of the underlying statistics. The compilation and reporting of statistics, particularly government finance statistics, must not be subject to political considerations or interference. EU Member States have been invited to consider the quality and integrity of their statistics as a matter of high priority, to ensure that a proper system of checks and balances is in place when these statistics are compiled, and to apply minimum standards in the domain of statistics. These standards are of the utmost importance in reinforcing the independence, integrity and accountability of the national statistical institutes and in supporting confidence in the quality of government finance statistics (see Chapter 6).
It should be also recalled that, from 4 November 2014 onwards, any country whose derogation is abrogated must join the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) at the latest on the date on which it adopts the euro. From then on all SSM-related rights and obligations apply to that country. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that the necessary preparations are made. In particular, the banking system of any Member State joining the euro area, and therefore the SSM, will be subject to a comprehensive assessment.
This report is structured as follows. Chapter 2 describes the framework used for the examination of economic and legal convergence. Chapter 3 provides a horizontal overview of the key aspects of economic convergence. Chapter 4 contains the country summaries, which provide the main results of the examination of economic and legal convergence. Chapter 5 examines in more detail the state of economic convergence in each of the seven EU Member States under review. Chapter 6 provides an overview of the convergence indicators and the statistical methodology used to compile them. Finally, Chapter 7 examines the compatibility of the national legislation of the Member States under review, including the statutes of their NCBs, with Articles 130 and 131 of the Treaty.