The UK won’t have to adopt the Euro by 2020

Published: 7th May 2019

In brief

Claim

The Lisbon treaty calls for EU member nations to be part of the euro by 2020.

Conclusion

Incorrect. The treaty aims for the euro becoming the currency of all member states of the Union but it isn’t time limited and the UK has an explicit opt-out.

“The Lisbon Treaty which actually calls, within the text, for all EU member nations, hopefully, to be part of the euro by 2020,” Kris Hicks, UKIP Head of Press and Communications.

“Yes,” Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad), UKIP MEP candidate, 18 March 2019 (12:30).

The claim that all EU member states have to join the Euro by either 2020 or 2022 is inaccurate, and we’ve written about this before. The claim seems to originate from a 2014 opinion piece in the Telegraph which predicted EU member nations would have to adopt the Euro by 2020.

At the moment, 19 of the 28 EU members are part of the ‘Euro area’. Both the UK and Denmark have “opt-outs” to joining. The UK’s opt-out, which says that the UK “shall be under no obligation” to adopt the Euro, is explicitly referenced in the Lisbon Treaty.

The treaty does reference the ultimate goal of “the euro becoming the currency of all Member States of the Union”, but that doesn’t override the UK’s opt out, and it does not set a time limit on 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, but only when they meet certain conditions. 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”, exchange rates must be stable. The Lisbon Treaty says that countries not meeting these requirements will not have to adopt the euro.

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