EU plans ‘offer you cannot refuse’ to future eurozone members

Pierre Moscovici [European Commission]

The European Commission aims to make adopting the euro more attractive to European Union members currently outside the currency bloc, Pierre Moscovici said yesterday (23 May), in a bid to make the Union more tight-knit after Britain’s vote to leave.

The proposals will be unveiled next week in a blueprint on the future of the eurozone, which is part of a wider plan launched by the executive on how to revamp the EU after Brexit and amid a surge in eurosceptic sentiment.

“We will try to make a framework that is attractive enough, that is like, as they say in the movies, an offer you cannot refuse,” the Commissioner for Economic Affairs told reporters seeking details on his proposals for “completing the Economic and Monetary Union by 2025”.

European Union states except Britain and Denmark are obliged to adopt the euro but there is no deadline set for ditching their own currencies.

Moscovici emphasised that states should move gradually towards adopting the euro as their currency but he said the Commission has no power and no will to force countries to adopt the euro by a certain date.

Public opinion in EU states outside the eurozone is often against joining the common currency area.

In Poland, 57% of interviewees are against the euro, according to a Eurobarometer poll published last December. Opposition was also strong in Britain, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark and Bulgaria, while Hungarians, Croatians and Romanians are mostly favourable to the currency bloc.

Anniversary highlights non-eurozone aversion to EU currency

The euro, used by nearly 340 million people each day in 19 countries, marked its 15th birthday on 1 January without celebration. A Eurobarometer report published in December shows little enthusiasm for the currency in non-eurozone countries.

Moscovici noted that Brexit meant the eurozone will dominate the EU economy, providing a further incentive for countries to adopt the common currency.