On 1 May 2004 ten countries - the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia - joined the European Union. Bulgaria and Romania became EU members on 1 January 2007.
To adopt the euro, countries need to fulfil certain economic criteria, namely, a high degree of price stability, a sound fiscal situation, stable exchange rates and converged long-term interest rates.
The European Central Bank contributes to the decision-making on future euro area members by preparing convergence reports in which it analyses whether the countries concerned fulfil the necessary conditions for adoption of the euro.
The Governors of the central banks of the non-euro area EU countries are members of the General Council of the ECB but they do not join the main decision-making body - the Governing Council - until they adopt the euro. The Member States central banks’ experts are also members of the committees of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).