|Policy of|| |
|Established||1 January 1999|
|€0.2 trillion trade surplus|
|This article is part of a series on the|
the European Union
The eurozone, officially called the euro area, is a
The eurozone consists of
The ECB, which is governed by a president and a board of the heads of national
In 1998, eleven
of total, nominal
The 2012 data above of eurozone states does not include Latvia and Lithuania as they were not yet a part of the eurozone.
Five of the
The euro is also used in countries outside the EU. Four states – Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City — have signed formal agreements with the EU to use the euro and issue their own coins. Nevertheless, they are not considered part of the eurozone by the ECB and do not have a seat in the ECB or Euro Group.
The chart below provides a full summary of all applying
The eurozone was born with its first 11 member states on 1 January 1999. The first
All new EU members joining the bloc after the signing of the
In September 2011, a diplomatic source close to the euro adoption preparation talks with the seven remaining new member states 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status of the eurozone could potentially cause them to conclude that the conditions for their promise to join were no longer valid, which "could force them to stage new referendums" on euro adoption.
Nine countries (
Denmark and the United Kingdom obtained special
The other seven countries are obliged to adopt the euro in future, although the EU has so far not tried to enforce any time plan. They should join as soon as they fulfill the convergence criteria, which include being part of ERM II for two years.
Interest in joining the eurozone increased in Denmark, and initially in Poland, as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. In Iceland, there was an increase in interest in joining the European Union, a pre-condition for adopting the euro. However, by 2010 the debt crisis in the eurozone caused interest from Poland, as well as the Czech Republic, to cool. Latvia adopted the Euro in 2014, followed by Lithuania in 2015.
The prevailing legal opinion is that there is no provision in any European Union treaty for an exit from the Eurozone. In fact, it has been argued, the Treaties make it clear that the process of
In a Texas law journal, Jens Dammann has argued that even now EU law contains an implicit right for member states to leave the eurozone if they no longer meet the criteria that they had to meet in order to join the eurozone. Furthermore, he has suggested that, under narrow circumstances, the European Union can expel member states from the eurozone.
The outcome of leaving the euro would vary depending on the situation. If the country's own replacement currency was expected to devalue against the euro, the state might experience a large-scale exodus of money, whereas if the currency were expected to appreciate then more money would flow into the economy. A rapidly appreciating currency would be detrimental to the country's exports.
In 2015 Greece's case, one additional problem is that if Greece were to replace the euro with a new currency, this cannot be achieved very quickly. Banknotes must be printed for example, which takes up to six months. The changeover would likely require bank deposits be converted from euros to the new devalued currency. The prospect of this could lead to currency leaving the country and people withdrawing cash, causing a