This paper deals with the phenomenon of high levels of unofficial euroisation in countries preparing for EU membership (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey). The challenges stemming from unofficial euroisation are particularly relevant for central banks as high degrees of euroisation reduce the effectiveness of monetary policy and create risks to financial stability. Unofficial euroisation in these countries is fuelled by legacies of inflation and macroeconomic imbalances, close economic and financial linkages with the euro area, as well as the perspective of EU membership. While euroisation (or, more generally, dollarisation) is typically a sticky phenomenon that is difficult to reverse, entrenched as it is in the behaviour and mind-set of economic agents, the paper finds - based also on the experience of countries outside the region - that there is a set of policies under the competence of domestic authorities which are conducive to strengthening the use of domestic currencies, even though efforts to bring down dollarisation or euroisation rates typically take a long time to show results. In this context, macroeconomic stabilisation is a necessary but not sufficient condition. It needs to be flanked by targeted prudential and regulatory measures, as well as efforts to develop local currency capital markets. Authorities in EU candidate and potential candidate countries have already engaged in such endeavours and euroisation rates have gone down to some extent in recent years, though at different levels and at an uneven pace. Nevertheless, further efforts are needed, while acknowledging that some specific factors like the strong presence of euro area headquartered banks in these countries as well as their EU accession perspective are conducive to euroisation.
bank regulation capital markets currency dollarisation euroisation financial stability monetary policy prudential policy South-East Europe