Minister Petko Nikolov: The introduction of the euro will be proof of Bulgaria’s deepening European integration

Minister Petko Nikolov: The introduction of the euro will be proof of Bulgaria’s deepening European integration

Our country’s entry into the Eurozone will be accompanied by specific measures to protect consumers

‘Joining the single European currency is among the country’s top priorities. Its introduction will be proof of Bulgaria’s deepening European integration’. This is what the Minister of Economy and Industry Dr. Petko Nikolov said at the opening of the international conference on ‘The Future of the Euro and Bulgaria’s Future in the Euro Area?’. He pointed out that our country will make a big step forward in its integration and will participate in the process of monetary policy making in the EU.

‘With Bulgaria’s accession to the euro area, we will become part of a community where more than 340 million citizens of 20 EU member states use the euro as their national currency. Membership in the most developed monetary union in the world brings significant economic, social and reputational benefits’, Dr. Petko Nikolov emphasized.

In his words, Bulgaria’s strategic goal is to meet the conditions for eurozone membership by the end of 2024, after which it will introduce the euro as the national currency. Among the actions needed to achieve this goal, he pointed to the observance of budgetary discipline and the reduction of inflation to levels comparable to the countries with the lowest inflation in the euro area. In the words of the economic minister, meeting the inflation criterion remains a challenge for Bulgaria and he stressed that efforts are needed to achieve it.

Among the benefits for Bulgaria, the economy minister highlighted the increase of the country’s credit rating after the adoption of the euro. ‘The single currency will reduce transaction costs for businesses, which will help foreign trade and have a positive effect on foreign investment’, he said.

In his words, in a crisis, a strong European monetary policy has the tools to contain inflation in the euro area countries and keep it low. At the same time, the European Central Bank supervises the banking system and thus ensures its sustainability.

Minister Nikolov stressed that the introduction of the euro in Bulgaria will be accompanied by specific measures to protect consumers, which include requirements for the correct conversion of prices from leva to euro, double marking of prices of goods and services in euro and in leva. He assured that the period of dual pricing would start one month after the date of entry into force of the Euro Adoption Decision and would end 12 months after the date of introduction of the euro.

‘The transition from the lev to the euro should be smooth and informed so that the benefits of membership can be felt by all Bulgarian citizens and businesses’, he added. Dr Petkov Nikolov pointed out specific measures that aim to ensure that the process of introducing the euro will be transparent and fair for all consumers.

In his words, the Consumer Protection Commission will monitor compliance with the obligations of traders for the correct recalculation and double marking of prices. He added that specific measures such as monitoring of commercial practices, price controls and rapid response mechanisms for detecting infringements were included to ensure consumer protection.

‘Once Bulgaria meets the requirements for joining the Eurozone, the Bulgarian business will have enough time to prepare for the actual transition of the information, internal-company process management and payment systems’, Minister Nikolov assured.