Almunia: euro could come in 2011

  • 2009-03-20
  • From wire reports

There is widespread speculation over when Estonia could adopt the euro.

TALLINN - EU Economic and Monetary Affairs CommissionerJoaquin Almunia has said that choosing January 1, 2011 as the target date foreuro adoption was a more certain option for Estonia.

In a meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, whohad previously said the country might be able to adopt the euro by July 2010,Almunia said it would be more likely that the country could make the move in2011.

The prime minister's economic affairs adviser, Aare Jarvan,who was present at the meeting, told the Baltic News Service that there is lessclarity surrounding the earlier date.

Jarvan said an extraordinary assessment of Estonia'scompliance with the criteria for eurozone membership could be discussed if Estonia'smade progress through the summer. But if the country is only able to meet thecriteria in December or January, it would rather be rational to wait until thescheduled assessment in spring, he said.

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said last week that Estoniacan expect to meet the criteria for eurozone membership at the end of thisyear. If that is the case, he said, then the EU would carry out anextraordinary assessment and the country could adopt euro as its officialcurrency as soon as in mid-2010.

Under the Maastrichtcriteria EU member countries must address issues of inflation, debt levels,financing, government deficit and interest rates before adopting the euro.