Bulgaria Stymied in Bid to Use Euro Currency
CBJ — Bulgaria has hit a setback to its hopes of soon becoming a member of the shared euro currency after the European Central Bank said the EU’s poorest country needs “wide-ranging” reforms to get its economy in shape.
That assessment came in the ECB’s report card on progress toward membership among seven European Union member countries that have not yet joined the 19-country euro.
Bulgarian officials have said they want to enter the two-year process that leads to joining the euro, called ERM II, this year. Their hope is that a swift entry into the eurozone would guarantee Bulgaria’s deeper integration in the EU.
But the ECB expressed concern about high business debt, corruption and weak education and skills training. Bulgaria is also experiencing a high level of bad loans burdening bank balance sheets.