By Stipe Mayic and Kayhan Gul
The European Union’s latest member, Croatia, aims to be part of the bloc’s exchange rate mechanism by 2020, the country’s prime minister said on Monday.
Speaking at a conference where the country’s monetary transition to the euro currency was discussed, Andrej Plenkovic said Croatia has two key political goals — to become part of the Schengen area and to be a member of the eurozone.
Plenkovic said 2020, the year of Croatia’s EU Presidency, constituted a realistic timeframe to join the exchange rate mechanism (ERM II), which is one of the last steps before adopting the euro currency.
“The euro will bring Croatia political and economic credibility globally,” Plenkovic said, adding that the country would be “one of the most developed members of the EU”.
The government debt in Croatia was 86 percent of GDP in 2016. EU law government debt could surpass 60 percent to be a eurozone member.
Croatia joined the bloc in 2013 as its 28th member and is still using its national currency, the kuna, which is equal to 0.13 Euro.
EU member states — Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania Denmark and the U.K. — have not adopted the currency.
*Ilker Girit contributed to this story from Istanbul.
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