Labour MEP appointed rapporteur on Estonia's bid to join eurozone
Labour MEP Edward Scicluna has become the second Maltese MEP to be given the role of reporting to the European Parliament on a new entrant to the eurozone. Following Nationalist MEP David Casa, who two years ago served as the European Parliament's rapporteur on Slovakia's application, it is now Prof Scicluna's turn to scrutinise the application of Estonia and the European Commission's soon-to-be announced opinion on the Baltic country's application.
Prior to contesting on the Labour ticket during last year's MEP election, Prof. Scicluna was appointed as a representative of the private sector on the National Euro Changeover Committee.
Estonia applied to adopt the single currency last year and is hoping to become the next European Union member state to adopt the euro, probably next January.
Joaquin Almunia, then Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, suggested a few weeks ago that the Baltic state could receive an invitation to the eurozone as early as June 2010 in order to join at the start of 2011.
Officials from the European Central Bank and European Commission are expected to make a decision about Estonia, following an inspection next month.
If Estonia meets all necessary criteria, the Estonian kroon will be replaced by the euro. Last October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said euro adoption for Estonia in 2011 was within reach provided the Baltic state could keep control of its budget deficit. In order to qualify for the euro, Estonia must keep its government budget deficit below three per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) among other important criteria.