For an EU member state to be able to introduce the euro, it must fulfil certain requirements: the convergence (or Maastricht) criteria defined in Article 121(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community and in the Protocol on Convergence Criteria cited in Article 121 of the Treaty. The convergence criteria are related to the achievement of:
- A low inflation rate,
- Sound public finances,
- Low interest rates,
- Stable exchange rates.
Convergence criteria are divided into economic and legal criteria.
For individual member states, the convergence criteria and their fulfilment are assessed on a monthly basis. The table below (as published in the Convergence Report in May 2006) shows the convergence criteria with calculations for the euro area (Austria, Belgium,Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain) and for Slovenia before the euro adoption:
12 months*; %)
rate (last 12 months*, %)
|General government deficit |
in 2005 (% of GDP)
| Public debt in 2005 |
(% of GDP)
|The euro area||2.3||3.4**||-2.4||70.8|
Remarks: *Last 12 months refers to the average of the data up to and including March 2006.** Data refers to previous month.