FRANKFURT (Reuters) - None of the eight countries on the waiting list to join the euro are meeting the required standards at the moment, the European Central Bank’s latest convergence report said on Wednesday.
Before the debt crisis, European Union member states that were not yet part of the currency union were queuing up to join the bloc, but interest has faded since and right now only Latvia is on track to join the single currency in the next two years.
“In none of the eight countries examined, the legal framework is fully compatible with all requirements from the adoption of the euro as laid down in the Treaties and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the ECB,” the ECB said.
“Incompatibilities remain regarding central bank independence,” the bank added with reference to the countries under review - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden.
Denmark and the United Kingdom are not part of the assessment as they negotiated an exclusion from the single currency when it was instituted.
The ECB had already called on Hungary to make further changes to its disputed central bank law earlier this year, saying the bank’s independence could be hurt.
Latvia and Lithuania are the only two of the countries under review that have been taking part in the exchange rate mechanism II (ERM II) for more than two years - a prerequisite for joining the euro.
While Latvia hopes to adopt the euro in 2014, Lithuania has not given a date.
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said earlier in May that the country was still ready to join the euro, even though the euro zone’s reputation has been dented by a protracted debt crisis.
Reporting By Eva Kuehnen