On May 1, 2004, in the fifth enlargement round, ten more countries, (1) eight of which are from central and eastern Europe, became members of the European Union (EU). (2) The final monetary objective of EU accession and, indeed, a treaty obligation for these countries, is the adoption of the euro. The requirement for the introduction of the euro is compliance with the five Maastricht convergence criteria. They comprise the inflation, the interest rate, and the exchange rate, as well as the public deficit and public debt criteria. There has been a lot of controversy regarding the economic wisdom of these criteria and, in particular, the exchange rate criterion. After becoming an EU member the countries are expected, albeit not necessarily upon EU accession, to participate in the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) (3) for at least two years in order to satisfy the Maastricht exchange-rate criterion for adoption of the euro. The majority of the new member countries have announced that they will strive to adopt the euro at an early, if not the earliest possible, date. Thereby, they opt for a rather brief participation in the ERM II. Indeed, three of the ten new EU members (Estonia, Lithuania, and Slovenia) already entered the ERM II on June 28, 2004, thereby commencing the last stretch on the road to the euro. Although participation in ERM II and the adoption of the euro are to be seen as two distinct issues, technically the three countries could introduce the euro as early as around the middle of 2006.