Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

It would be offensive to set dates for Eurozone membership, economists said

Adelina Marini, June 30, 2009

"Every attempt of Bulgaria to set a date is, literally, an insult for the Eurozone. We cannot talk about any dates, we have enough work to do here in Bulgaria and only then we could try and look toward Frankfurt". This is what the programme director of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, the economist Georgi Ganev, responding to a question of euinside. He also said that one of the many things that Bulgaria should do so as to prepare for the single currency, is institutional changes within the country. Besides, saying that because of the crisis Bulgaria would easily fulfill the criteria for the euro area is not serious because even if the inflation is down, other criteria like the long-term interest rates, are up.

Georgi Stoychev, executive director of the "Open society" institute reminded that Sweden, which is to take over the Presidency of the EU from the 1st of July, recently indicated that it is preparing to expand the monitoring over our country to cover Schengen and the Eurozone. Given this, the actual political debate should be Bulgaria's joining the ERM2 because this is the only way our country to be monitored what kind of monetary policy it has. Georgi Stoychev underlined that Bulgaria has missed for the last couple of years much better chances to enter the ERM2 "and now, after we've missed the tame, we have to catch the wild in much worse times, because in times of crisis and the problems that the current euro area member states have, entering the ERM2 would be much more difficult".

All experts, that were present at a meeting for the 12th anniversary of the introduction of the currency board in Bulgaria, were unanimous in saying that large part of the discussions on economic issues for the last months, actually have political targets. "Entering the ERM2 is entirely political issue and has nothing to do with economy", concluded Stoychev.

Georgi Angelov, senior economist with the "Open society" institute said he was happy that something that he had long stood for, has finally been included in the governing programmes of most political parties because this would give a chance politicians to answer to the society what they are doing Bulgaria to enter the ERM2. He added that the constant talking about the budget is very important from the Eurozone point of view because it is an indicator of stability. The confidence of the European institutions is also very important. "I do not imagine how the eurofunds are being stopped and we are being told that our judicial system is corrupt and in the same time Bulgaria will be pushed into the heart of the European currency so that we can determine interest rates for the whole EU. This is incompatible, i.e. we have to complete our work here and it is, on the one hand economic - to keep the budget balanced and, on the other hand, political and administrative - to overcome those problems that the EU follows closely and is not quite happy with our work. What Georgi Stoychev said - instead of lifting the monitoring over Bulgaria they introduce new forms, which means that the lack of confidence is increasing", Georgi Angelov said.

So far all political parties that have election platforms with economic issues in them, insist that Bulgaria should quickly join the Eurozone. The NDSV (the National Movement for Stability and Progress of the ex tsar Simeon Saxecobourggotta) has set 2013 as a possible date for Bulgaria to join the single currency. The same position has been expressed by the leader of the UDF (United Democratic Forces) and co-chair of the Blue coalition Martin Dimitrov. GERB (Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria of Mr. Boyko Borisov) promised that the euro will be introduced in 2012. And the BSP (the Bulgarian Socialist Party of the prime minister Sergey Stanishev) have not set any specific date but promise to be fully engaged with the process.

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