* Price stability. The average rate of inflation observed over the 12 months preceding EMU accession must not exceed the average in the three best-performing EU member states by more than 1.5 percentage points. In practice, this will most likely mean that inflation rates will need to be below 3%.

* Fiscal sustainability. The general government deficit must be below 3% of GDP. General government gross debt must be below 60% of GDP, or at least on a declining trend.

* Exchange rate stability. The exchange rate must remain within a +/- 15% band around an agreed central parity against the euro. Furthermore, the local currency must stay within ERM II for at least two years "without severe tensions" on the exchange rate.

* Interest rates. The average nominal long-term interest rate must not exceed the average in the three EU member countries with the lowest inflation by more than two percentage points.

Source: Standard & Poor's


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