Abstract

The accession of 10 new member states to the European Union (EU) in May 2004 and, in particular, the announced intentions of some of the acceding countries to rapidly join the euro area have reopened the debate on the Maastricht convergence criteria. Academics, policymakers, and international institutions are discussing whether the criteria are still relevant and whether they are sufficiently tailored to the needs of the new EU member states. In addition, because of the explicit reference to it in the exchange rate stability criterion, the exchange rate mechanism (ERM II) has become a particular focus of attention in the debate.