Thursday, July 16, 2020

Bulgaria and Croatia Enter Eurozone "Waiting Room" (ERM II)

This article covers the latest changes to PolGeoNow's map of which countries use the euro.

Map of the Eurozone (euro area), showing which countries use the euro as their currency. Includes members, pre-members (ERM II or ERM-2 waiting area), EU non-members using the euro, and other EU countries (color blind accessible). Updated for July 2020 with the entry of Croatia and Bulgaria into the ERM-II.
The Eurozone, European Union, and other countries using the euro.
Map by Evan Centanni, from blank map by Ssolbergj. License: CC BY-SA

Croatia and Bulgaria preparing to adopt the euro

The southeastern European countries of Bulgaria and Croatia have been approved by the European Union's central bank to take the next step towards joining the Eurozone - the organization of countries that officially use the euro as their shared currency. As new participants in the "European Exchange Rate Mechanism II" (ERM II or ERM-2), Croatia and Bulgaria are on track to adopt the euro after a 2-3 year waiting period - likely on January 1, 2024.

Through the ERM II program, the European Central Bank helps stabilize the exchange rates between the participant countries' currencies and the euro while they bring the rest of their banking system into line with the Eurozone's. Bulgaria and Croatia's currencies, the Bulgarian lev and the Croatian kuna, will continue to be used until the countries join the Eurozone, but will be "semi-pegged" to the euro - only allowed to vary 15% above or below a set exchange rate.

For Croatia, which became the newest member of the EU in 2013, this is a like a jump to the front of the line. But Bulgaria became an EU member back in 2007, and has had its plans to adopt the euro repeatedly delayed until now. The last countries to join the Eurozone were Lithuania in 2015 and Latvia in 2014.

For more on which countries do and don't use the euro, check out our Eurozone explainer article.

Map of the European Union (EU) and prospective member countries
The full European Union (EU) and prospective members

Other Changes to the Map

For those interested in the details of PolGeoNow's Eurozone map, there are a few other revisions we've made since the previous edition in 2016:

Learn More:  Which countries use the euro, and which European countries don't?