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I often see/hear in the media about joining Eurozone in my country (Romania). AFAIK criteria for joining this zone are mostly technical, namely convergence criteria which mostly seem to be related to: inflation rate, debt, budget deficit and compatibility of legislation.

However economical indicators do not look very promising for Romania and "the convergence" seems very far fetched:

This article argues that joining Eurozone seems far away.

Inflation rose mainly as a side effect of higher consumer spending, economists say, so the fiscal policy is actualy ruining the efforts to meet the convergence criteria.

Considering above, my feeling is that there is no real local political will to join Eurozone, so why having all these assessments, discussions and delays about this matter?

Question: Can an EU member officially give up pursuing Euro/Eurozone?

Note: I know there are some countries that negotiated non-pursuing Euro from the beginning (UK?), but this is not the Romania's case.

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Can an EU member officially give up pursuing Euro/Eurozone?

No (...ish). The current stance of the EU Commission is:

All EU Member States, except Denmark and the United Kingdom, are required to adopt the euro and join the euro area. To do this they must meet certain conditions known as 'convergence criteria'.

The exceptions for the UK and Denmark are due to negotiated opt-outs:

All member states, other than Denmark and the United Kingdom, have either adopted the euro or are legally bound to do so. During the negotiations of the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 the UK secured an opt-out, while a protocol gave Denmark the right to decide if and when they would join the euro. Denmark subsequently notified the Council of the European Communities of their decision to opt out of the euro, and this was included as part of the 1992 Edinburgh Agreement, a Decision of Council, reached following the Maastricht Treaty's initial rejection in a 1992 Danish referendum. The purpose of the agreement was to assist in its approval in a second referendum, which it did.


However this does not imply the existence of a mechanism to enforce the enlargement. The euro zone is still very much a strongly political notion whose adoption is largely a diplomatic issue. Nevertheless there is some pressure to make members join the euro zone. Just check Jean-Claude Juncker's State of the Union speech last year (2017).

If we want the euro to unite rather than divide our continent, then it should be more than the currency of a select group of countries. The euro is meant to be the single currency of the European Union as a whole. All but two of our Member States are required and entitled to join the euro once they fulfill the conditions.

The reason he said so is because some countries do not want to lose monetary sovereignty. But understand that his policy is not a consensus in the European Union. The large majority argues for more integration, but some want it faster and others want it slower.


EDIT: yesterday, and just a few days after this answer was written, the European Commission released a new fact sheet named The 2018 Convergence Report: Review of Member States' progress towards euro adoption where a question very similar to yours was answered. Here goes the quote:

Are Member States obliged to join the euro?

In principle, all Member States that do not have an opt-out clause (i.e. United Kingdom and Denmark) have committed to adopt the euro once they fulfill the necessary conditions. However, it is up to individual countries to calibrate their path towards the euro and no timetable is prescribed.

The Member States that joined the EU in 2004, 2007 and 2013, after the euro was launched, did not meet the conditions for entry to the euro area at the time of their accession. Therefore, their Treaties of Accession allow them time to make the necessary adjustments.

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It's worth specifically talking about Sweden

While UK and Denmark have negotiated Opt-outs, Sweden fits as a country that has basically unilaterally decided not to join the Euro.

The Euro convergence criteria in the Maastricht Treaty obliges members to adopt the Euro once they fulfil certain criteria. Sweden deliberately fails to meet these criteria, by not joining ERM II. ERM II membership is voluntary (at least according to both Sweden and the European commission).

Could other countries do this? That entirely depends on The EU's desire to expand the euro and the strength of their political power to compel these new countries to join. But from a "legal" perspectives based on what the treaties say, basically, yes. The accession treaty Romania doesn't mention ERM II and doesn't put them in any different legal position than Sweden here.

You can say that doesn't count as "officially giving up", but that sounds just like word games at that point

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