Bulgaria will speed up its plans to join the euro zone and apply for membership by the end of April in a process that should help the Balkan country recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said
Borissov said he had discussed the plan with the president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, senior officials at the European Commission and his colleagues in the 27-member EU.
Borissov said he was convinced that both Bulgaria and Croatia will be allowed to join the euro zone’s obligatory two-year “waiting room”, the ERM-2 mechanism. Membership should allow Sofia access to ECB financing, he said.
The country plans to join both the ERM-2 and the EU’s banking union simultaneously.
“This (coronavirus) crisis has shown us that those who are in the euro zone and in its ‘waiting room’ will have billions of euros for recovery. Those who are not will have to take on debt at high interest rates,” he told reporters.
Bulgaria, one of the poorest but also least indebted EU members, maintains tight fiscal discipline, but the government expects that the effect of stringent measures across the globe to contain the coronavirus will shrink Bulgaria’s small and open economy by 3% this year and boost its fiscal gap to 3% of economic output.
Bulgaria has pegged its lev currency to the euro.
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