Saturday

1st Apr 2023

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Exclusive

Aid agencies clam up in Congo sex-for-work scandal

The European Commission has 25 documents, including emails, in its possession that contains "information about potential crimes" involving aid agency staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. EUobserver received a partial disclosure of the documents.

Opinion

Ukraine — what's been destroyed so far, and who pays?

More than 50 percent of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, large parts of its transport network and industrial capacity, around 150,000 residential buildings damaged or destroyed. The bill is between €378bn to €919bn.

Latest News

  1. EU to press South Korea on arming Ukraine
  2. Aid agencies clam up in Congo sex-for-work scandal
  3. Ukraine — what's been destroyed so far, and who pays?
  4. EU sending anti-coup mission to Moldova in May
  5. Firms will have to reveal and close gender pay-gap
  6. Why do 83% of Albanians want to leave Albania?
  7. Police violence in rural French water demos sparks protests
  8. Work insecurity: the high cost of ultra-fast grocery deliveries

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains
  2. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  3. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us