Bulgarian Radio April 1 Joke Angers IMF, C-Bank

Finance | April 1, 2010, Thursday // 13:00|  views

Bulgaria aims to adopt the euro by 2013, but analysts say this is not a realistic deadline. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A bogus interview with a fictional representative of the International Monetary Fund, aired by a Bulgarian national private radio, has stirred tensions in the country and abroad.

Meant, but not presented as an April 1 joke, the interview with a Hugh Jason, representative of the non-existent Developing Markets department of the International Monetary Fund, voices the radical proposal that Bulgaria introduces the euro as a parallel currency to the lev.

“We believe it is a good idea that Bulgaria adopts the euro as a parallel currency to the lev. That will not be a very difficult task due to the fact that Bulgaria operates in a currency board regime,” the imaginary IMF representative told Darik radio.

According to him the adoption of the euro will make commercial deals cheaper and will bring down interest rates.

“In one of today’s news reports, a person named “Hugh Jason” has made some statements about the Bulgarian economy,“ Tonny Lybek, IMF Resident Representative in Bulgaria and Romania, said in an official statement on Thursday in response to Darik radio April 1 joke.

"We would like to stress that this person is not a representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or a staff member of the IMF. These statements are obviously an April 1 joke. We do not appreciate the misuse of the name of the IMF,” Tonny Lybek stressed.

Meanwhile the Bulgarian National Bank issued a statement, slamming as “unacceptable” the use of such “dangerous jokes”, which “play on people's fears” amid the tough conditions of an unprecedented global economic crisis.

“This absurd idea grossly misuses the name of an extraordinarily influential global financial institution, such as the International Monetary Fund, whose authority has a direct impact on the world financial markets,” the statement said.

According to it what has been described as “a joke” can create tensions and unfounded concerns among the people.

The central bank pointed out that with its assessments of the currency board stability in Bulgaria and the fixed rate of its currency the International Monetary Fund has supported the country's strategy for more than ten years already.

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Tags: ERM 2, ERM II, euro, Buzek, gas transit, natural gas, Bulgaria President, Georgi Parvanov, Jose Manuel Barroso, EC, EC President, Eurozone, greece, gullible, hoax, prank, April Fool's Day, April 1


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