Bulgaria’s Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said that Bulgaria’s preparations to join the euro zone are on track, with adoption of the euro expected as early as January 2022.
Bulgaria, which joined the European Union in 2007, was expected to have to wait at least until mid-2022 to join the euro.
However, Mr Goranov said he remained hopeful that Bulgaria would be allowed to enter the bloc’s banking union and the ERM-2 mechanism, the two-year obligatory precursor to the euro currency, this summer.
“I am a moderate optimist that in July, if all goes well with the asset quality review and the stress tests ... we will have a reason to apply for ERM entry and will expect a positive result,” Goranov told a public debate on the euro adoption.
“The shortest road to the euro is two years in the ERM-2 and then up to a year for additional adjustments. The most optimistic option to join could be Jan. 1, 2022.”
Bulgaria has low inflation and healthy public finances, and the Bulgarian lev currency is already pegged to the euro. However, it is the poorest state in the EU, and needs to prove its banks are healthy before it is approved to join ERM-2 and the banking union.
Asset quality reviews and stress tests will be carried out by the European Central Bank on six Bulgarian banks, with results expected in July.