Romania and the euro
Romania is required by its EU accession agreement to replace the current national currency, the Romanian leu, with the euro, as soon as Romania fulfills all of the six nominal euro convergence criteria. The leu is not yet part of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2), of which minimum two years of stable membership is one of the six nominal convergence criteria to comply with to qualify for euro adoption. The current Romanian government in addition established a self-imposed criteria to reach a certain level of "real convergence", as a steering anchor to decide the appropriate target year for ERM2-membership and euro adoption. As of April 2015, the government reported it was on track to ensure compliance with all of the nominal convergence criteria and its "real convergence" target by the end of 2018, and consequently the official target for euro adoption on 1 January 2019 was re-affirmed still to be valid.
To simplify future adjustments to ATMs after the adoption of the euro, when the Romanian new leu replaced the old leu in 2005 (at 10,000 old lei to 1 new leu) the new banknotes were the same physical dimensions as euro banknotes, except the 200 lei note, which had no euro size correspondent, and the 500 lei note, which was the same dimension as the €200 note.
In May 2006, it was announced that the Romanian government planned to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), a prerequisite for euro adoption, only after 2012. The president of the ECB said in June 2007, that "Romania has a lot of homework to do ... over a number of years" before joining ERM II. The Romanian government announced in December 2009, that they now officially planned to join the eurozone by 1 January 2015. In April 2011, the Romanian government announced it would strive to comply with the first four convergence criteria by 2013, but would not be ready to join the ERM II before 2013–2014.
EIU analysts suggested in May 2012, that 2016-2017 would be the earliest realistic dates for Romania's adoption of the euro. However, in October 2012, Valentin Lazea, the NBR chief economist, said that "the adherence of Romania to euro currency in 2015 is difficult for Romania". The governor of the National Bank of Romania confirmed in November 2012, that Romania would not meet its previous target of joining the eurozone in 2015. He mentioned that it had been a financial benefit for Romania to not be a part of the euro area during the European debt-crisis, but that the country in the years ahead would strive to comply with all the convergence criteria. Concerns about its workforce productivity were also been cited for the delay.
In April 2013 Romania submitted their annual Convergence Programme to the European Commission, which for the first time did not specify a target date for euro adoption. Prime Minister Victor Ponta has stated that "eurozone entry remains a fundamental objective for Romania but we can't enter poorly prepared", and that 2020 was a more realistic target. In April 2013, the National Bank of Romania submitted draft amendments to the Romanian Constitution to the European Central Bank (ECB) for review. The amendments would make the NBR's statue an organic law to ensure "institutional and functional stability", and would allow for the "transfer of NBR tasks to the ECB and the introduction of the euro as legal tender" using organic law. In 2014, Romania's Convergence Report set a target date of 1 January 2019 for euro adoption.
According to the Erste Group Bank, it would be very difficult for Romania to meet this 2019 target, not in regards of complying with the five nominal convergence criteria values, but in regards of reaching some appropriate levels of real convergence (i.e. raising the GDP per capita from 50% to a level above 60% of the eurozone average) ahead of the euro adoption. The Romanian Central Bank governor, Mugur Isărescu, admitted the target was ambitious, but obtainable if the political parties passed a legal roadmap for the required reforms to be implemented, and clarified this roadmap should lead to Romania entering ERM-2 only on 1 Jan 2017 - so that the euro could be adopted after two years of ERM-2 membership on 1 Jan 2019.
As of April 2015, the Romanian government concluded it was still on track to attain its target for euro adoption in 2019, both in regards of ensuring full compliance with all nominal convergence criteria and in regards of ensuring a prior satisfying degree of "real convergence". The Romanian target for "real convergence" ahead of euro adoption, is for its GDP per capita (in purchasing power standards) to be above 60% of the same average figure for the entire European Union, and according to the latest outlook, this relative figure was now forecast to reach 65% in 2018 and 71% in 2020, after having risen at the same pace from 29% in 2002 to 55% in 2013. Finally, the Romanian government also expressed its commitment fully to join all pillars of the Banking Union, as soon as possible.
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Romanian euro coins have not yet been designed. Romanian law requires that the coat of arms of the country be used on coin designs. The European currency is called in Romanian euro [ˈe.uro], and its subunit eurocent [e.uroˈt͡ʃent].
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