Tuesday

21st Aug 2018

Bulgaria to take first steps towards euro

  • "We don't think there are any sufficient arguments for us to stay out," Bulgaria's finance minister said on Thursday (Photo: Michal Jarmoluk)

Bulgaria will take the first steps towards joining the euro before the summer, its finance minister said on Thursday (11 January).

Vladislav Goranov told a group of journalists in Sofia that Bulgaria will "most likely apply in the first semester" to the EU Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), the mandatory phase before effectively adopting the EU single currency.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Prime minister Borisov is hoping his country will apply to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism before the summer (Photo: Wikipedia)

Goranov said Bulgaria had been "holding intensive discussions" with the European Central Bank (ECB) and eurozone member states about the move and that it was "ready".

The Bulgarian government will wait for a "signal" from the ECB and other EU actors that its application would have some chances to be accepted.

But Goranov added that the government would apply even if that sign doesn't come.

"We need a certain direction on what we need to do to join this [euro] club," he said.

"We don't think there are any sufficent arguments for us to stay out," the minister insisted, adding that his country fulfils the criteria to join the euro.


Bulgaria, the fourth most-rapidly growing EU economy, registers a zero percent deficit and public debt below 30 percent - against an EU average of almost 90 percent.

"We are excellent pupils," Goranov said.

Goodbye to the lev?

Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, but its currency, the lev, has been pegged to the euro since 1997.

Because of that, Goranov pointed out, Bulgaria is already "highly dependent on ECB policy" and cannot devaluate its currency.

The minister insisted that Bulgaria joining ERM II "will not result in any additional risk for the euro system."

The push towards the euro comes as Bulgaria takes over the six-month presidency of the EU council.

The country is also facing resistance from some other member states to it joining the passport-free Schengen area.

"We would not like to witness the same situation as with Schengen, where all formal criteria have been met but we are not allowed to any additional instruments for [EU] integration," the minister warned.

Countries like Germany are said to be wary of letting Bulgaria join the euro in the coming years. But Goranov argued that an application to the ERM II would oblige EU institutions to set clear targets and for Bulgaria to respect them.

"We accept all criticism and arguments as far as they are honest," he said.

"We need a perspective," he said, insisting that it would be "very difficult to explain to [the Bulgarian] society why we do not file a formal application."

Bulgaria's president vetoes anti-corruption bill

Bulgaria is starting its six-month EU presidency amid attempts to shake off issues of corruption and poor press freedoms. Earlier this week, Bulgaria's president vetoed an anti-graft bill, claiming it was too weak.

Small EU states rush to join single currency

Cyprus has applied to join the eurozone on 1 January 2008, as part of a trend that is seeing the EU's smallest new members rush to get into the single currency while bigger economies such as Poland and Romania pull further away from the euro-horizon.

Bulgaria's corruption problem mars EU presidency start

A dispute between the government and the president over an anti-corruption law has put the spotlight on one of the Bulgaria's main problems - just as it is trying to showcase its economic and social progress.

Opinion

What to expect from Bulgaria's EU presidency?

Corruption, organised crime, lack of foreign investment and digital skills make Bulgaria an unlikely standard bearer for the EU during its presidency. But perhaps Sofia can pull it off.

News in Brief

  1. Italy threatens to return migrants to Libya
  2. MEP accuses Maltese government of 'hate campaign'
  3. EU values not negotiable, German FM tells Poland
  4. Audit warns 840 French bridges at risk of collapse
  5. Fashion king pours money into campaign for second Brexit vote
  6. Germany could aid Turkey, SPD leader hints
  7. UK government set to publish no-deal Brexit advice
  8. Germany and Greece strike deal on taking back migrants

Focus

EU-China cooperation on CO2 storage lost in limbo

A long-standing cooperation between the EU and China on carbon capture and storage has fallen off the political agenda – with the European Commission not having any comment available when asked for an update.

EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation

The EU Commission has received several million responses from citizens, businesses, and organisations on whether to end the daylight summertime savings. Any tangible change would take ... time.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  2. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  3. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  4. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  5. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  6. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  8. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  12. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma

Latest News

  1. Wind delays launch of European wind-mapping satellite
  2. Greece 'normal' again after end of crisis, EU says
  3. Putin strikes blow against Russia's isolation by Europe
  4. EU-China cooperation on CO2 storage lost in limbo
  5. Greece exits bailouts, but difficult path ahead
  6. EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation
  7. 'Nativism' and the upcoming Swedish and Bavarian elections
  8. Former Malta opposition leader fears for his life

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us