Bulgaria’s government has abandoned its plans to introduce the euro in January 2024. Finance Minister Rossitsa Welkowa admitted on Friday that the country neither meets the necessary inflation criteria nor has the necessary legislative changes been implemented. Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. The country is already in the European System of Fixed Exchange Rates (ERM-2) – an important preliminary stage on the way to the introduction of the euro. This is to ensure that the national currency does not fluctuate too much. The euro zone currently has 20 members – Croatia was the 20th country to join in January.
“We haven’t kept our promises made when we joined the ERM-2 and we don’t meet the inflation criteria,” Welkova said. Bulgaria is the poorest member state of the EU. The country is striving to join the euro zone because it expects more investment and greater credit security. However, Bulgaria is struggling with political crises. The fifth parliamentary elections within two years are due in April of this year. Welkowa also said that if there is no clarity about the introduction of the euro in the next six months, this could have a negative impact on the country’s credit rating.
Since the government will not issue a convergence report at the end of February, the planned introduction date of January 1, 2024 can no longer be maintained. Bulgaria may submit the report after July if it meets the criteria. If the country has the support of the member states, it could join the euro zone by January 1, 2025 at the latest, the minister said.