Svet passed along this interesting article:
If the euro were being launched this year, which European states would be allowed to adopt it? The answer is that only Finland, Bulgaria and Luxembourg currently meet the euro convergence, or Maastricht, criteria.
Bulgaria? This new EU member state is supposed to be a basket case, bucolic economy riddled with corruption. Perhaps, but it also has low inflation of 0.3%, low public debt of only 13.5% of GDP, and low interest rates of 0.8% - all way under the Maastricht limits of 3.2%, 60% and 6.5% respectively.
The international financial crisis has turned Europe on its head and made a mockery of the old division of east (read: "backward") and west (read: "developed") that existed only two years ago. Indeed, any lists that rank the economic health of all the countries on the Continent is now a mash-up of eastern and western names. Many of the so-called "industrialised" countries of the west now have structural problems more typical of Europe's "emerging markets", whereas many emerging markets in Europe sport much better fundamentals than their western cousins.
The result is the current crisis will accelerate the catch-up of east with west.
Much more at the link.