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Bulgaria maintains its plan to join the euro in 2024, at the current fixed exchange rate

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Political uncertainty and the three rounds of elections last year delayed the adoption of this plan, which was drafted in 2020 after Bulgaria, along with Croatia, was admitted to the ERM II mechanism (exchange rate mechanism – no.), which will allow her to become a member of the eurozone in a few years.

The poorest member state of the European Union, which already has the national currency (leva) linked to the euro, has promised to adopt the single currency in 2024, at the current fixed exchange rate.

“Bulgaria has de facto adopted the euro through the Monetary Council. Due to the fixed exchange rate, for example, if we want to increase interest rates, we cannot do so,” said Bulgarian Finance Minister Assen Vassilev. “Today’s plan provides a clear timetable for banks and other payment institutions on how the euro will be adopted. It is only the first technical step,” Vassilev added.

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However, the Socialists and the “There is Such a People” party, members of the four-party governing coalition, which in principle support the adoption of the euro, spoke out on Friday against approving the national plan. The two sides said there were no analyzes by the Bulgarian National Bank on how the adoption of the euro would affect people’s incomes and the economy as a whole.

“It has been clear since we joined the EU that we will adopt the euro. It is up to us when that should happen. It is up to us to make a reasonable and informed decision and the one we have taken today is not one.” , said the leader of the Socialists and the holder of the Economy portfolio, Kornelia Ninova.

In response, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev said that parliamentary talks, where legal changes need to be approved, should be organized in the same way as the public debate.

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But Bulgaria, which has not shown tangible results in the fight against corruption, could also face challenges in meeting the nominal criteria for joining the eurozone.

Bulgaria is one of the least indebted EU member states and has had a public deficit of around 3% of GDP since 2020. However, the explosion in energy and food prices brought the annual inflation rate to 14.4% in April, the highest level since 2008.

The last enlargement of the eurozone dates back to 2015, when Lithuania became the 19th member state of the monetary bloc. Although all EU member states except Denmark are required to join the eurozone, few countries are making serious efforts to join the single zone.

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