(ANSA) - ZAGREB - The Croatian government sent a 'letter of intent' to the member countries of the Eurozone and the EU institutions to join the European exchange rate mechanism, the so-called AEC II (European exchange rate agreements), which is a 'waiting room' "for the countries that aspire to adopt the European single currency. This is the" first formal step "towards participation in the AEC", a step that "comes before the introduction of the euro as the official currency", explained the Croatian finance ministry in a press release. The letter, the ministry underlined, includes the measures and reforms that Croatia will implement before joining the AEC II. The local media in Croatia have suggested that Croatia might even join the AEC II next year. This is the most optimistic scenario, but Croatia should be ready to enter the AEC II in 2023, the governor of the Croatian Central Bank Boris Vujcic told the Vecernji List daily newspaper. EC president Jean-Claude Juncker said in June that Brussels "has nothing against" the Croatian path towards the euro and underlined that "the public debt" in Croatia "has decreased significantly and at great speed".(ANSA).