Euro accession remains important but not most urgent objective for Romania: PM

2013-04-23 19:30:33 GMT2013-04-24 03:30:33(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BUCHAREST, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Romania has not given up the objective of eurozone entry, but it is an area the country should not rush into, Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday told his cabinet at the daily government meeting.

"Romania has not given up the idea of accessing the eurozone, but, same as Poland has done, we are purely adjusting the Convergence Programme to the realities in Romania and to the realities in the eurozone," he was quoted as saying by the official Agerpres news agency.

"We must be prepared when we do this thing and the eurozone must make some important decisions in this period concerning the Economic and Monetary Union, the Banking Union, discussions in which we are participating," he said.

"It is an area we saw that if others do not rush into, we should not either," Ponta stressed.

According to Ponta, the 1.6-percent economic growth provided in this year's budget was confirmed by the International Monetary Fund, and Fitch Agency reconfirmed Romania's rating, while it revised down other countries' ratings.

Romania had previously been targeting 2015 to adopt the single European currency. Yet, as economic conditions deteriorate in the European Union and as uncertainty grows over the prospects of the bloc, officials in Romania say the country is not ready to join the troubled single currency in 2015, as planned.

The prime minister said last November that his country would miss the 2015 target for joining the eurozone, and he said in March that 2020 provided more prospects for Romania's adopting the single currency.

"If we speak only of nominal convergence criteria - the deficit percentage, the debt in the GDP percentage, the inflation rate percentage - we deceive ourselves. These things, we are starting to meet," he said.

"It is a pity that we do not talk about the real criteria of convergence: the average income of Romanians compared to the European average, which is the purchasing power, which are the prices. Unless we do this, it would be a catastrophe to enter the euro area," said the head of cabinet.

Romanian President Traian Basescu also said earlier that date was now "unfeasible," warning that unless the competitiveness of the Romanian economy was improved, "joining the eurozone will end as a failure."

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