Top German Expert: Bulgarians, Stay Alert, Don't Join the Euro!Bulgaria in EU | November 8, 2011, Tuesday // 17:43| views
The Euro sculpture is seen in front of the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo by EPA/BGNES
A prominent – and radical - German analyst has fuelled public mistrust in Bulgaria's eurozone membership, already quite solid following the troubling developments in the monetary union.
"If I were a Bulgarian, I would definitely not want to join that club. Why? Because Bulgaria is developing very well, as far as its fiscal parameters are concerned. This shows in all statistical data," Hans-Olaf Henkel, former president of the Federation of German Industries, said in an interview for Darik radio.
Henkel, who recently called for strong European economies to leave the euro for a German currency, pointed out that the country's accession to the eurozone would immediately entail the obligation to cover the expenses of what he sees as the irresponsible Southern European countries.
"Bulgaria is definitely on its way to meet the Maastricht criteria. If I were in your shoes, I would have acted like the Britons, the Danes, the Swedes and the Poles – steering clear of the common currency," Henkel said.
According to him Bulgaria is doing much better than Romania in terms of meeting the Maastricht criteria, but still has a long way to go in cutting red tape and combating corruption.
Public support for Bulgaria's eurozone membership has been seriously dented over the last few months following the troubling developments in the monetary union.
While at the end of last year the Bulgarian society was cut in two over calls for immediate introduction of the European single currency, recent surveys by the Open Society Institute and Transatlantic Trends 2011 have found out that those who oppose euro adoption now are a huge majority.
According to analysts the Currency Board regime in which Bulgaria operates enjoys great public support and is one of the most trusted institutions. The people prefer to use the lev instead of switching to the euro, even though the local currency is pegged to the euro.
Obviously Europe is falling short of providing Bulgarians with confidence that it can handle the crisis stemming from unsupportable debt loads in countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland and the looming crisis in Italy. Indicatively the highest levels of support for adopting the single currency were seen as far back as in 2008-2009.
Bulgaria's current center-right government however has consistently pursued European integration with enormous zeal and has made clear that the single currency woes and doomsayers' warnings of a possible crack-up will not give it a pause.
It has however just as consistently changed the time frame for eurozone accession.
Finance Minister Simeon Djankov's belt-tightening policy has drawn criticism of creating the illusion of a healthy economy on the back of the people, who are three times poorer than the average EU citizen and are just getting poorer.
Meanwhile polls have shown that most Germans support a return to the deutsche mark in the wake of the eurozone's financial troubles that have encumbered the otherwise robust German economy.
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