The European Commission and euro area Member States have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Croatia outlining the practical steps that will allow the country to begin producing euro coins when it receives the go ahead to join the euro area. This represents an important milestone in Croatia’s efforts to join the euro area.
The MoU was signed by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner Gentiloni, President of the Eurogroup Paschal Donohoe and Croatian National Bank Governor Boris Vujčić in a ceremony which followed the meeting of the Eurogroup which took place earlier today in Brdo, Slovenia.
The MoU allows Croatia, with the assistance of the Commission and euro area Member States, to carry out all the necessary preparations ahead of and up to the actual minting of euro coins. These include, among others: the selection by Croatia of its euro coin national side designs according to national procedures; the acquisition and production of minting tools and coin test runs; and arrangements for the distribution of euro coins and the withdrawal of the Croatian kuna during the changeover.
Members of the College said
Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “I am pleased to sign this Memorandum that will enable Croatia to begin preparations for minting euro test coins, marking another milestone on the journey to euro accession. The Commission continues to support Croatia in its efforts to join the euro area, from which it stands to benefit greatly. However, before it can adopt Europe’s single currency, Croatia must first meet all Maastricht criteria and continue to make progress on technical preparations.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy said: “The signature of this memorandum is an important symbolic but also practical step on Croatia’s road to joining the euro. I welcome Croatia’s strong determination to accede to the euro area, which is where the country belongs. The Commission will continue to support Croatia in its preparations and its efforts to meet the convergence criteria.”
Croatia is not yet a member of the euro area. The kuna is, however, part of the exchange rate mechanism (ERM II) since 10 July 2020.
The signing of this MoU is one of the normal preparatory steps when a non-euro area Member State intends to join the euro area. Due to the complexity of the tasks linked to euro coin production, Member States intending to join need to start preparing well in advance of the Council’s decision to lift the derogation from their participation in the euro. This will not prejudge the Council’s decision on the lifting of the derogation according to Article 140(2) TFEU.
The signing of the MoU allows Croatia to receive the necessary technical documentation to mint euro test coins, which are used to verify the technical fitness of future euro coins for vending and coin processing machines. The Commission and euro area national mints will also transfer to Croatia the required copyrights and minting tools. In the past, equivalent MoUs have also been signed with Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.