HomeNewsTwenty-five years of the exam to enter the euro

Twenty-five years of the exam to enter the euro

Twenty-five years have passed since the examination to which the candidate countries were submitted to become part of the single European currency. It took place on May 2 and 3, approving that Saturday, day two, the entry of 11 countries to form part of the eurozone: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland. Only Greece, of the countries that wanted to enter, was left out for not meeting the convergence requirements, gaining entry on 1-1-2001, two years after the rest.

To enter, when monetary policy yielded, it was necessary to converge economically, for which the so-called five Maastricht criteria had to be met:

  1. Public deficit equal to or less than 3% of GDP.
  2. Public debt equal to or less than 60% of GDP or declining towards that threshold in a constant and credible manner.
  3. Exchange stability, without having been able to devalue or revalue with respect to the central exchange rate at least two years before.
  4. Price stability, with inflation not exceeding 1.5 percentage points to the average of the three countries with the lowest inflation in the EU.
  5. Convergence in interest rates, which cannot exceed the average interest rate of the three countries with the lowest inflation in the euro area by 2 points.
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Spain got it and for the first time he was on time in centuries to an appointment of this magnitude, probably since the Peace of Westphalia. Centuries of delay, of slipstreaming, were left behind at the time when that May 2nd twenty-five years ago Spain was included as a founding member of the euro. Subsequently, the irreversible exchange rates of the 11 currencies with the euro on 12-31-1998, marking 1 euro for the amount of 166,386 pesetas, would have led to the implementation of the euro as the single currency of the euro zone from 1-1 -1999, with the circulation of coins and bills since 1-1-2002.

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It is a historical milestone that has gone unnoticed, but one that must be remembered, because when the twenty-fifth anniversary of the launch of the euro zone is celebrated this January, we will have to go back a few more months, to the aforementioned May 2, where, if you do not meet the requirementswe would not have entered.

It must be remembered that in 1995 and 1996 not one of the criteria was met, so that in two years -May 1996, with the Aznar government just started- and May 1998, it was necessary to undertake all the reforms that made it possible to reduce the deficit, reduce the debt over GDP, stabilize prices, maintain exchange rate stability and gradually converge in interest rates. And when doing so, of course you have to remember President Aznar, Vice President Rato and his teams, but you also have to remember one of the key figures, who is none other than Professor Barea, thanks to whose knowledge and determination Spain was able to be on time in the foundation of the euro and return to occupy a prominent place in history.

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