Fitch's latest forecast dates for euro adoption are: 2011 for Estonia; 2014 for Lithuania; 2015 for Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Romania; and 2016 for the Czech Republic. However, Fitch notes that the risks are skewed towards longer delays.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania have yet to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II). The minimum two-year membership requirement and the assessment period (spring, for euro adoption the following January) rules out European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) for these countries until at least 2014.
"Deep recessions have caused the average budget deficit in the eight countries to widen to 6.1% of GDP in 2009 from just 1.1% in 2007, and many countries face a challenging and lengthy period of fiscal retrenchment to correct "excessive deficits" to below the 3% reference rate," said Ed Parker, Head of Emerging Europe in Fitch's Sovereigns team.
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