EU member countries don’t all have to join the Euro by 2020

Published: 20th Mar 2019

In brief

Claim

All EU members have to adopt the Euro after 2020.

Conclusion

Incorrect. The UK and Denmark have opt-outs so don’t have to join the Euro. The seven countries without an opt-out and not already in the Euro are supposed to join it, but only once they meet certain conditions. There is currently no time limit on this process.

“I’ve just been hearing that the European Union is now telling all the other non-Eurozone countries that after 2020 they’re all going to have to abandon their currencies and have the Euro.”

Daniel Kawczynski MP, 12 March 2019

“After 2020, all EU members will have to adopt the euro”

BrexitCentral, 9 March 2019

Two MPs in recent weeks have made or shared the claim that all EU countries that don’t already use the Euro as their currency will be forced to adopt it after 2020.

In a now-deleted tweet Conservative MP Esther McVey shared a tweet from the account BrexitCentral which claimed the same thing. The BrexitCentral tweet was based on a prediction in an opinion piece from the Telegraph that was published in 2014.

It’s not correct.

At the moment, 19 of the 28 EU members are part of the ‘Euro area’. Two countries—the UK and Denmark—have “opt-outs” meaning they don’t have to join the Euro at any time.

All other EU member states are supposed to join the Euro eventually, but this doesn’t override the UK or Denmark’s opt out, and there is currently no time limit on reaching that goal.

The seven EU member states that do not currently use the Euro, and do not have an opt-out, are expected to join the Euro only when they meet certain conditions of economic stability.

These criteria include: inflation (the way prices change over time) and long-term interest rates in that country must be within a certain distance of the three “best performing” countries in the EU, public finances must be “sound and sustainable”, and exchange rates must be stable. Again, currently there is no time limit set on this process.

This claim is similar to one we’ve factchecked before (as part of a viral post on the Lisbon Treaty) which claimed that all EU members must adopt the Euro by 2020, or within two years of joining the EU. For the same reasons this claim is also incorrect.


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