Croatia eyes euro adoption in 2023 -PM

ZAGREB, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Croatia’s goal is to adopt the euro currency at the beginning of 2023, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday.

Last July Croatia entered the European Exchange Mechanism (ERM-2), a waiting room where a country must stay for at least two years while keeping its currency stable and its budgetary deficit and public debt under control.

“Our goal is to adopt the euro on Jan. 1, 2023. We aim to keep the budget deficit below three percent of gross domestic product,” Plenkovic said after a meeting gathering key economic officials involved in preparations for joining the euro zone.

This year, due to the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, Croatia will have a budget gap of 8% of GDP, but it plans to reduce it to 2.9% next year and maintain a falling trend in the coming years.

Croatia’s public debt is also set to increase this year due to the pandemic, to some 86% of GDP from around 72% a year ago, but the government has vowed to reduce it again in the coming years.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Kirsten Donovan