United Kingdom: EMU opt-out clause

Why has the United Kingdom not adopted the euro? When the Maastricht Treaty was concluded in 1992, the United Kingdom was granted an opt-out clause, meaning that it was not required to participate in the third stage of economic and monetary union (EMU) and consequently introduce the euro. This Protocol specifies the provisions of the opt-out.


Protocol (No 25) on certain provisions relating to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1992), annexed to the Treaty establishing the European Community.


This Protocol specifies the provisions of the United Kingdom's opt-out from moving to the third stage of economic and monetary union (EMU), meaning that it has not introduced the euro for the time being. The United Kingdom is still in the second stage of EMU. The opt-out clause was a condition for the United Kingdom to approve the Treaty as a whole.


The Protocol states that certain articles of the Treaty do not apply to the United Kingdom:

The United Kingdom's voting rights are suspended for the acts of the Council concerning:

For this purpose, the weighted votes of the United Kingdom are excluded from any calculation of a qualified majority.


On 30 October 1997, the UK Government notified the Council that it was not intending to adopt the single currency on 1 January 1999. The United Kingdom may change its notification at any moment and introduce the single currency provided that it satisfies the following conditions:

Acting at the request of the United Kingdom, the Council, after examining a report from the Commission and the ECB, after consulting the European Parliament and after discussion in the Council, meeting in the composition of the Heads of State or Government, will decide whether the conditions are met and will act by qualified majority.


The UK Government has announced that any move to the third stage of EMU will depend on five economic tests being met:

According to the UK Government, these tests must be met before the United Kingdom applies to participate in the third stage of EMU. They are in addition to the formal criteria laid down in the Treaty. The assessment of the tests by the UK Treasury carried out in June 2003 (EN) was as follows: since 1997, the United Kingdom has made real progress towards meeting the criteria of the five tests. However, although the possible benefits (increases in investment, financial services, economic growth and job creation) seem clear, the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot definitively conclude that convergence will be sustainable and that flexibility is sufficient to cope with any difficulties with the euro zone. A decision to adopt the single currency is therefore not currently in the UK national interest, according to reports from the Treasury.

See also

For further information please visit the websites of the UK Government:

Last updated: 30.06.2006