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The Euro goes Eastwards

  • 320 million people in 15 countries are using the Euro at the moment, around 440 million Europeans are expected to use it in future.
  • Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic could join by 2012/2013.
  • Romania and Bulgaria will thereon introduce the Euro by 2013/2014.

320 million Europeans in 15 European Union countries are using the Euro day by day. In the next 7 to 8 years this number will grow by more than a third. Almost 120 million people live in those countries aiming at adopting the Euro as future national currency. “The perspective for the Euro introduction remains an important anchor for most of the CEE countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. However, the prospects for an early Euro introduction are gradually changing for many countries”, says Debora Revoltella, CEE Chief Economist of UniCredit Group. “Beyond the political commitment, the compliance with the Maastricht criteria is seen as increasingly challenging, especially given the recent inflationary pressures that are further affecting the CEE region.”

After Slovenia adopted the single currency in 2007, only Slovakia is close to join the Eurozone in the near future. A decision by the European bodies (the EU Commission, the Council and the European Parliament) will be made before summer and the chances for Slovakia to adopt the Euro in 2009 lie by 90 %.

Unlike Slovakia, its three regional peers, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, have not yet set any official target date to join the single currency. They are however committed on meeting the Maastricht convergence criteria, including Hungary, which suffers from the highest imbalances (budget deficit above 3% and debt/GDP ratio above 60%). At the moment, 2012/2013 remains the most probable entry date for the three countries, with the focus increasingly moving towards 2013 rather than 2012.

The three Baltic countries, whose currencies are already pegged to the Euro, are targeting 2011/2012 as entry date. “This is optimistic”, so Debora Revoltella. “The inflation is the culprit for a gradual shift in the timetable of the Euro adoption.” The inflation gap with the European inflation has never been so high and will be reduced only very gradually. The Euro as the new national currency is the target of the EU members Romania and Bulgaria too and they attempt to finalize the introduction before 2013/2014.

About UniCredit Group
UniCredit has a presence in 23 countries, with over 40 million clients and 9,000 branches, approximately 170,000 employees. 
In the CEE region, UniCredit operates the largest international banking network with over 3,700 branches and outlets, where more than 76,000 employees serve approximately 27 million customers. Currently, the Group operates in the following countries: Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.


Communications CEE 

Christina Bischof
Phone: +43 (0) 50505 57126 
E-mail : christina.bischof@unicreditgroup.at 

Silvana Lins
Phone: +43 (0) 50505 56036
E-mail : silvana.lins@unicreditgroup.at