The Finance Minister of Bulgaria, Asen Vasilev, has confirmed that the government is moving forward with its plans to introduce the euro as a parallel payment currency alongside the lev in early 2024.
In this regard, discussions are being held with the European Central Bank and the European Commission to allow individuals to trade in euros, a privilege currently limited to companies. Vasilev stated, "We as people can't make deals in euros, nor can we receive our salaries in euros... we know that there are countries like Montenegro, which allow those deals on a voluntary basis."
While the changes to permit euro transactions are still under negotiation with the European Union, Vasilev emphasized that Bulgaria remains committed to joining the single currency area and is getting closer to meeting the inflation criteria. He added, "We know that there are countries such as Montenegro, which actually allows a voluntary principle for these transactions to be carried out. If two citizens want and can carry out transactions in euros, they should be allowed to do so without the state restricting them."
The introduction of the euro as a parallel currency is expected to provide benefits for both businesses and individuals in Bulgaria. Currently, businesses in the country face significant losses, amounting to around €750 million per year, due to fees for currency conversion and transfers to Eurozone banks. Vasilev highlighted the economic impact, stating, "Such an amount of money for the Balkan country accounts for 0.4 percent of the state's GDP."
The move to adopt the euro as a parallel payment currency aims to reduce these losses and give citizens the option to choose between euros and levs for transactions. This approach is already in practice in countries like Montenegro and Kosovo, which use the euro without being members of the European Union and the eurozone.
While the implementation of the new currency system is not expected to occur in the current year, Vasilev assured that Bulgaria is determined to proceed with its plans. The government has introduced several measures and continues to make progress toward entering the eurozone. The original target date for adopting the euro as the official currency in Bulgaria is set for January 1, 2025.
By fLEXI tEAM