Greece was introduced to euro in 2002 but since then many things have changed. In 2011 Greece is ranking 88th in the world in the Index of Economic Freedom and 83rd in Global Competitiveness Index, worse than Latvia and Bulgaria, while France is 15th in the world. The country has to deal with 25% unemployment, illegal immigration, high levels of political and economic corruption and inflation totally up to 75% since 2002. According to Eurostat Greece has public debt 161.7% of its GDP for 2011 when officials say that growth returned. In order an EU member state to join the eurozone, it should fulfill the following euro convergence criteria, also known as the Maastricht criteria.
1. Inflation rates: No more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the average of the three best performing member states of the EU.
2. Government finance:
Annual government deficit:
The ratio of the annual government deficit to gross domestic product (GDP) must not exceed 3% at the end of the preceding fiscal year. If not it is at least required to reach a level close to 3%. Only exceptional and temporary excesses would be granted for exceptional cases.
The ratio of gross government debt to GDP must not exceed 60% at the end of the preceding fiscal year. Even if the target cannot be achieved due to the specific conditions, the ratio must have sufficiently diminished and must be approaching the reference value at a satisfactory pace.
3. Exchange rate: Applicant countries should have joined the exchange-rate mechanism (ERM II) under the European Monetary System (EMS) for two consecutive years and should not have devalued its currency during the period.
4. Long-term interest rates: The nominal long-term interest rate must not be more than 2 percentage points higher than in the three lowest inflation member states.