Friday

23rd Jun 2017

Bulgaria shelves euro membership plans

  • Boiko: Bulgaria has shelved plans to join the euro. (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Bulgaria has halted plans to join the euro in the latest public setback for the beleaguered currency union.

Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Monday (3 September) in Sofia, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said the decision was the result of the debt crisis and the double dip recession facing the eurozone, along with rising public opposition to joining the single currency.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Right now, I don't see any benefits of entering the euro zone, only costs," Djankov said, adding that disagreement between countries on how best to respond to the debt crisis made the prospect of euro membership "too risky for us and it's also not certain what the rules are and what are they likely to be in one year or two."

In January 2010 Borisov claimed that Bulgaria would take steps to join the eurozone with a target date of 2013.

Bulgaria already fulfills the economic criteria to join the euro, having reduced its budget deficit to 2.1 percent in 2011, comfortably below the 3 percent limit laid out in the Stability and Growth Pact.

The country, whose 17.5 percent debt burden is also one of the lowest in the EU, has pegged its Lev currency to a currency basket including the euro but is not in ERM II, a formal EU mechanism for limiting currency fluctuation. Countries must spend at least two years in ERM II before joining the euro.

However, the timetable for adoption has slipped as economic conditions in the eurozone deteriorated, with eurozone leaders divided on how best to respond to the debt crisis,

Referring to this, Borisov said: "I'm certain that we will definitely see a deepening divide in Europe now because many governments are not prepared to stomach the difficult decisions they have to take. It's like a spoilt child who doesn't want to go to the dentist to fix his bad teeth, even though the operation is needed."

Meanwhile, Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland's foreign minister, admitted to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Monday (3 September) that Poland is also shelving plans to join the currency bloc.

Calling on EU leaders to resolve the crisis, he insisted that "We are ready to join when you have resolved your problems and when we can say to our people 'We can now safely join'."

Poland is the third-fastest growing EU country, despite forecasts indicating that it will fall slightly short of the 2.9 percent growth figure predicted in the 2012 budget, one of the few EU countries to avoided recession since the global financial crisis broke in 2008.

Lithuania, too, which had its euro membership bid rejected in 2006, has also cooled on its own accession process.

Estonia was the 17th and last country to join the eurozone in 2011. All EU member states with the exception of Britain and Denmark are required to join the single currency under the terms of their EU membership.

Row between EU ministers halts e-book tax rate

A bill to reduce VAT rates on e-books and e-publications has become the latest victim of a row between the Czech Republic and its partners over its own plan to collect VAT.

Focus

EU and China move to fill US void

At a summit in Brussels, EU and Chinese leaders will attempt to deepen ties on trade and climate as US president Trump plans to pull out of the Paris climate deal.

Italy reaches EU deal on failing bank

After months of negotiations, the European Commission and Italy agreed on the terms of rescue for Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, including job cuts, salary caps and private sector involvement in the bailout.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  2. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  3. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  4. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  5. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  6. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  7. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit
  8. EU pressures firms to tackle online terrorism