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Some eurozone countries fear the EU’s poorest country could repeat the Greek catastrophe if it joins the euro too soon.13 June 2018
Bulgarian officials are planning to visit the European Central Bank “in the next few days” to “intensively” discuss procedures and timelines for taking crucial steps toward adopting the euro.
Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said yesterday the country is hoping to enter both the ERM-2 exchange rate mechanism and the EU banking union within a year, Bloomberg reports.
ERM is the system that prepares non-euro member states for a successful transition into the common currency, SEE News explains.
Bulgarian central bank governor Dimitar Radev said earlier this month that joining ERM-2 would catalyze further improvements and reforms.
The flurry of interest in kickstarting the country’s euro adoption process comes in the wake of ECB and European Commission calls for Bulgaria to improve its governance, economy, and banking system.
The country does not yet meet all the criteria for eurozone entry, the Commission concluded last month, as Balkan Insight reports.
Separately, the ECB said its laws on the central bank, corruption fighting, and credit institutions “do not comply with all the requirements for central bank independence, the monetary financing prohibition, and legal integration into the Eurosystem.”
Bulgaria appears well equipped to join ERM-2, with low public debt, a currency pegged to the euro, and a budget surplus, Bloomberg writes. But some eurozone members worry about its widespread corruption and the impact this could have on banks and other financial institutions, Reuters wrote last month.
“People are worried that unless Sofia’s euro adoption is prepared well, Bulgaria could one day become another Greece,” one senior eurozone official said. “The Greek trauma is still fresh in people’s minds and weighs on the perceptions of Bulgarian euro ambitions.”
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