A Strategy for EMU Enlargement
This paper summarizes the results of CASE's research project on 'Strategies for Joining the EMU' and proposes policy recommendations both for new member states (on how to manage their accession to the Eurozone) and for the European Commission, ECB and old member states (on how to manage and absorb EMU enlargement in an optimal way). Both the economic and the political economy arguments point to fast EMU accession of NMS. Looking at the 'classical' optimum currency area criteria, i.e. trade integration, co-movement of business cycles and actual factor mobility, NMS' record is not worse, on average, than that of the current Eurozone members, and should further improve before Eurozone entry, decreasing risk of their exposure to idiosyncratic shocks. After joining the EMU, the common currency should help NMS to develop additional intra-EMU trade links, further synchronize business cycle and increase factor mobility. Both theoretical arguments and empirical experience demonstrates that so-called real convergence accompanies nominal convergence, and that there is synergy rather than a trade-off between the two. The credibility of the Euro and price stability in the Eurozone will not be threatened by fast EMU Enlargement. Neither can the accession of fast growing NMS create an additional 'recessionary' impact on slow growing incumbent members. The biggest challenge for the common currency in the medium to long run may come from widespread breaches of EU fiscal rules. So the incumbents should replace their 'don't rush' advice by active encouragement of NMS to proceed with fast nominal convergence in order to meet the Maastricht criteria and join the EMU as quickly as possible.
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