A senior Romanian politician has downplayed speculation that the country is planning to adopt the euro as its currency by 2022, saying further evaluation work is required before any decision is made.
Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party, said Tuesday that the government had not had a "serious analysis" about replacing the leu with the euro, which is currently used by 19 European Union countries. His comments follow a suggestion last week from Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu that Romania could start using Europe's single currency by 2022.
Dragnea said a study needed to be conducted involving the central bank, the government and parliament, before any decision is made.
The foreign minister said later Tuesday he had simply been expressing an opinion about when Romania would be ready to change its currency. He noted that the budget deficit is forecast to be 3 percent of Romania's annual GDP this year — in line with euro rules — and inflation is low. He also said that introducing the currency could have "a social impact ... especially for those on low incomes."
Romania has one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union. It's expected to expand by 5 percent this year, more than double the anticipated rate for the eurozone.
Despite that growth, Romania remains one of the poorest members of the 28-country EU.