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'Don't laugh': Romania still wants to join the euro

President Traian Basescu has insisted that his country is committed to fulfilling the entry criteria for the single currency by 2015.

Image: Michael Probst/AP

THE PRESIDENT of Romania has insisted that his country remains committed to joining the euro by 2015 – despite the constant turmoil within the single currency which has threatened to ruin it completely.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, after a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel, president Traian Basescu said his country’s economic priority had been to fulfil the entry criteria for the common currency, and that this had not changed.

“We want to join the eurozone in 2015 if all the preconditions are satisfied,” Basescu said.

He prefaced his remarks with the words, “Don’t laugh.”

There are four main criteria for entry to the euro: keeping the government deficit within 3 per cent of GDP; joining the European exchange rate mechanism; and keeping both long-term bond and inflation rates close to those already in place in the eurozone.

So far Romania has only met one of those four criteria – keeping its gross government debt at just 30.5 per cent of GDP, well below the 60 per cent limit.

The Czech Republic last month insisted it wanted to fulfil the criteria by 2014, and has so far fulfilled two of the four criteria. It has not yet joined the exchange rate mechanism, and currently has a government deficit standing at 5.7 per cent of its GDP.

At least four of the current members of the eurozone – Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Italy – would not currently qualify for eurozone membership if they were not already part of the single currency, simply because the cost of borrowing for each government is above the 6 per cent threshold.

At the same press conference, Angela Merkel denied newspaper reports that her country and France were seeking to try and reduce the size of the eurozone by either kicking some countries out, or by adopting a separate currency.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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