While speaking at an annual business conference in (where?) on January 29, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov reaffirmed his country’s intent to enter the Eurozone by July 2022.
Integration into the Eurozone topped the agenda at this year’s conference where Borisov discussed the benefits that the country would experience if it moves into the European Union’s Exchange Rate Mechanism, namely, that the Bulgarians would enjoy further financial security with the oversight of the European Central Bank as well as increased investment.
This is the most recent move by the Bulgarian government as it moves to solidify its position as a member of the European Union, while at the same time focusing on their deeper integration into the core of the bloc.
In 2007, Bulgaria and a fellow former member of the old Communist-era Eastern Bloc, Romania, joined the European Union. Since that time, and in the face of systemic problems stemming from the legacy of the old Communist regime, Bulgaria’s economy and banking sector have been crippled by widespread corruption and cronyism.
Bulgaria has, however, worked hard to lower rates of inflation and debt, as well as meeting other criteria for joining the Eurozone. What lays ahead for the Bulgarian government is a round of stress tests for its financial system that will be performed by the European Central Bank. The results are expected in July and will play an important part in determining whether or not Bulgaria is able to take steps that bring it closer to officially joining the Eurozone. The earliest and most optimistic estimates have mentioned 2022 as a likely target date for Bulgaria to become a part of the common currency.
Both Bulgaria and Romania may also face challenges in their pursuit to become more integral players in the European Union due to the relative weakness of their economies and rampant corruption in comparison to the rest of the 28-member bloc.
The adoption of the euro theoretically gives countries higher rates of growth and more stability, as well as improves the choice of goods for consumers and more opportunities for businesses who have easy access to an integrated market.