ECONOMY

Romania not ready for euro before 2009

BUCHAREST (AFP) – Romania will not be able to join the eurozone before 2009 since adopting the single European currency before then would cost its economy too much, its central bank governor, Mugur Isarescu, said yesterday. «The timetable for adopting the euro must be a prudent one, since imposing the Maastricht criterion (that govern the euro) could entail substantial costs for the Romanian economy,» he told a banking seminar. Under the terms of the Maastricht treaty, and the Stability and Growth Pact that extended its principles after the euro was created, eurozone countries must keep public deficits below a maximum of 3 percent of gross domestic product. Romania has a deficit of 2.65 percent of GDP predicted for its 2003 budget. But inflation is high in Romania, expected to reach 20 percent by the end of the year before declining to 14 percent in 2003. Isarescu said it was «important to bring the Romanian economy into convergence with EU member states,» but this would be difficult since Romania has «structural imbalances.»