Deputy European Commission chief, Valdis Dombrovskis, who is in charge of the single currency and social dialogue, said that the Eurozone is not expected to welcome any new member countries in the upcoming years. “No new members are expected to join in the next few years,” Mr Dombrovskis told the German daily Die Welt. While the Eurozone’s long-term crisis seems to have put some countries off, he explained that “Initially, joining the euro seemed attractive to the new EU members. But the euro crisis changed this. And the Greek crisis all the more so”.
“Before a country joins the euro, it must have a fixed exchange rate to the euro. This mechanism is the waiting room for Eurozone membership,” Mr Dombrovskis said and noted that at the moment there is no country readying itself for the membership in the common currency area. No EU Member State is in the “euro waiting room”. In the past, governments of Bulgaria, Romania and Poland expressed their interest in starting negotiations and taking the first steps towards the euro. However, in case of Poland, the new government is “somewhat more reserved,” Mr Dombrovskis said.
The Eurozone is a monetary union of 19 of the 28 EU Member States, which have adopted the euro as their common currency and sole legal tender. Other EU states (except for Denmark and the United Kingdom) are obliged to join once they meet the criteria to do so. Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City have formal agreements with the EU to use the euro as their official currency and issue their own coins. The last countries that joined the Eurozone were Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015. No country has so far left the common currency and there are even no provisions to do so or to be expelled.