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New member countries, including the Slovak Republic, were given a status of the member state with derogation of accepting the euro. Term of the Euro zone entry will depend on the fulfilment of the Maastricht criteria, including the criterion on exchange rate. This assumes at least two years in the ERM II system. The article explains the basis and rules of functioning the exchange rate mechanism ERM II, requirements for fulfilment of the Maastricht criterion on exchange rate, effects of staying in the ERM II system and the strategy of the entry of new EU-member states into this mechanism. At the end, author discusses the time of the Slovak accession to the ERM II and adoption of the euro.
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Nowadays Poland possesses a comparative advantage arising from relatively lower production costs. However, it is apparent, that this advantage is fading away. The sources of the process lie, among others, in Poland's exposure to manufactures from beyond the European Union, from countries that are developing more dynamically than Poland. This process is unavoidable. Moreover, our lower-cost advantage is diminishing as a result of appreciation pressure which the zloty is permanently exposed to. Also high inflation pressure can boost this process. Therefore it is clear that Poland is facing a race against time: not only has it to slow down the loss of the above advantage, but it also has to create new advantages as quickly as possible. Consequently, one of the objectives of macroeconomic policy should be to accelerate Polish accession to the European Monetary Union. Failure to do so would result in further strengthening of the zloty and in its volatility that impair operations of Polish companies (especially small and mid-size which can not afford to hedge against exchange rate risks). Joining the EMU would give Poland extra time to build a modern economy, prevent the zloty's further appreciation and, as a result, reduce ongoing falling relatively-lower-costs competitive advantage.
The process of monetary integration in general is followed by a set of rules. The well known Optimum Currency Area (OCA) criteria are basically structural while official, so called Maastricht criteria for joining Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) are nominal. Many economists agree that nominal convergence itself is not sufficient for monetary union to function successfully and that also a certain level of structural convergence between the member states has to be achieved. In addition, in time of approaching eurozone enlargement the adequacy of Maastricht criteria is questionable. Whereas their modification seems to be politically unfeasible their flexible interpretation taking into account individual needs of the new member states would be desirable.
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