Cyprus and Malta are on course to join the eurozone, after their bids to join the single currency in 2008 were supported by the European Commission and European Central Bank (ECB).
The ECB said both aspirant eurozone members were making good progress in meeting the necessary economic performance criteria, as set out in the Maastricht Treaty. These cover government debt, currency stability and interest rates. However, the ECB added that greater efforts were still needed, particularly in reducing high government debt-to-GDP ratio.
The next step will be the discussion of recommendations by EU leaders at a summit on 21-22 June, with the final decision to be made by EU finance ministers on 10 July. If approval is given, finance ministers will fix the euro exchange rates for the Cyprus pound and the Maltese lira. The two states would join on 1 January 2008; Slovenia was the most recent addition to the club, when it joined on 1 January 2007
16 May 2007