The Greek crisis has likely delayed euro adoption for the biggest emerging European economies by at least a year, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.
A poll of 44 strategists taken Feb 16-24 suggested that European policymakers will measure euro aspirants against the Maastricht adoption criteria with a new intensity.
Following are selected comments from economists.
PETER ATTARD MONTALTO, NOMURA
We do not think the Baltic states will let their pegs slip and have strong backing from the European Commission and Sweden.
Estonia is a strong and dynamic economy that has fared the crisis pretty well and as such I think there is enough momentum both there, in core Europe member states and the Commission to allow them to join the euro next year.
After the elections, we expect the new FIDESZ government in Hungary to want to join the euro at the end of its first term in 2015 and as such will set an ERM-II target of 2012.
In the Czech Republic we see little appetite for the euro and they won't join any time soon. For Poland, complacency in the budget with rising debt will cause headaches for the government but we still see them charging ahead and trying to enter ERM-II mid-next year.
DIEGO ISCARO, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT The euro zone countries will want to be absolutely sure that they are not bringing a new 'Greece' to the club. One consequence may be that they will take a long and detailed view of the statistical data presented by the candidate country before allowing it to join the common currency area, and this might result in some delay.
Political support for an enlargement may have also decreased following the crisis. It will be interesting to see the EC and the ECB asking new members to achieve the convergence criteria when most of the existing members are expected to run large deficit and debt levels for some time to come.
CEZARY CHRAPEK, BANK ZACHODNI WBK
In countries which went through the global crisis relatively well, like in the case of Poland, the problem of Greece may have no impact on the date of euro zone entry. Moreover, as indicated by ECB President Jean Claude Trichet the way Poland went through the crisis diminished concerns of the ECB over Poland's potential hidden structural weaknesses.
Such weaknesses emerged in some other Eastern European countries and, what is more, in peripheral euro zone countries. Trichet's comments support the view that the ECB would rather not put obstacles in front of Polish authorities, when they decide to adopt euro after meeting Maastricht criteria
PASQUALE DIANA/OLIVER WEEKS, MORGAN STANLEY
The unfolding Greek drama risks having ramifications on longer-term CEE euro adoption prospects. This is the first real test for the euro's institutional framework.
Even though we think the test will be passed, this episode will act for years as a reminder that it is not enough to meet the nominal Maastricht criteria to prove ability to live in
The current crisis experienced by Greece and others suggests that, aside from insistence on the Maastricht criteria, the EC/ECB may start putting far more emphasis on factors such as external imbalances, budget positions, proven ability to implement counter-cyclical fiscal policy, policy credibility overall.
In this scenario, investors may think about re-pricing CEE convergence, and companies which invest in the region may want to prepare about planning for FX volatility for a decade or more, rather than just four or five years.
ANNA ZADORNOVA, GOLDMAN SACHS Even prior to the debt issues in Southern Europe, the deterioration in fiscal balances across the CEE implied that none of the bigger CE-3 economies would be in the euro zone until 2015 at the earliest.
The new risk related to the current situation in Southern Europe is that the ECB/ECOFIN might seek to keep out even those countries that meet the Maastricht criteria - this could be a more long term negative factor, reducing the incentives for policy discipline for Euro aspirants