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2015 - Most recent euro area enlargement

Lithuania joined the euro area on 1 January 2015, becoming the 19the Member State of the European Union to adopt the euro. Nine EU Member States are not members of the euro area: Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.

In accordance with the European treaties, Member States shall adopt the euro when they satisfy the criteria for joining Monetary Union (except for the United Kingdom and Denmark, which signed an opt-out clause). These criteria, regularly assessed by the European Commission and the ECB, aim to guarantee a high and sustainable degree of economic convergence:

- stable prices, not exceeding by more than 1.5% that of the three best-performing Member States in terms of inflation,

- sustainable public finances (a ratio of government debt to gross domestic product at market prices below the 60% reference value),

- converging long-term interest rates (not exceeding by more than 2 percentage points that of, at most, the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability),

- a stable exchange rate (absence of severe tensions and without devaluing against the currency of any other Member State for at least two years).

Other conditions, in particular legal requirements, must be met.

The euro was introduced on 1 January 1999 in 11 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain). It expanded to include Greece on 1 January 2001, Slovenia in 2007, Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014 and lastly Lithuania in 2015.

Interactive map of euro area enlargements (ECB)

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