Seven EU members that joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007 are concerned about an obligation to adopt the euro under the terms of their accession and could stage referendums to change their accession treaties, AFP has reported, quoting diplomatic sources.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania said the euro zone they thought they were going to join, a monetary union, may very well end up being a very different union, entailing much closer fiscal, economic and political convergence.
The new EU members that joined during the period 2004–07 are all obliged to adopt the euro under the terms of their accession treaties. Of these, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia and Estonia have already joined the euro zone. Countries from previous enlargement waves are not obliged to adopt the single currency.
“All seven countries agree to state that a change in the euro zone’s legal status could change the conditions of their adhesion treaties,” which “could force them to stage new referenda” on adopting the euro, said a diplomatic source close to the talks.
Before the euro-zone crisis several new members that have been close to fulfilling the Maastricht criteria for joining the euro zone, including Poland and Bulgaria, had set themselves ambitious plans to speedily join the common EU currency. More recently, several Polish officials have stated that the country has shelved its plans for early accession to the euro zone, until it becomes clear what future should be expected for the common EU currency.
Last April, Hungary indicated that it would seek an opt-out from the euro. More recently the Czech president, the Euro-critical Václav Klaus, said that the EU currency club was a “failure” and that his country should get a permanent opt-out from its obligation to adopt the euro.