Bulgaria's Govt Enjoys Approval Despite Tough Savings – Deputy PM

Finance | October 27, 2012, Saturday // 18:36|  views

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov, photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgarian Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov has argued that the Bulgarian government is enjoying high approval ratings among voters despite the tough savings measures.

In an interview for Vienna-based daily Kurier, as cited by Bulgaria's Finance Ministry, Djankov says that he does not wish to succeed Boyko Borisov to the post of Prime Minister, adding that Borisov is doing a very good job.

Djankov clarifies that Bulgaria opposes further financial aid for crisis-stricken Greece because the government has not implemented sufficient reforms to improve the situation.

"More needs to be done, which sounds hard. Greece has been in recession since 2008, the income of the citizens has declined by a third. It doesn't go that way, the EU and the IMF cannot only give without seeing results," he declares.

Djankov insists that a second debt haircut for Greece in late 2012 or 2013 is absolutely necessary.

He predicts that Greece will leave the eurozone unless the government implements structural reforms so as to get more aid

In Djankov's opinion, this will allow the Greek economy to recover faster and better.

Asked if EU politicians have the capacity to rein in the debt crisis, Djankov admits that a lot of mistakes have been made and the crisis management so far has been terrible.

"2010 was crucial as the IMF and EU set no obligations for the first Greek bailout package, which further deepened and extended the crisis," Bulgaria's Finance Minister says.

"In July 2009, I attended for the first time a finance ministers' meeting, where it was said that we were to meet again in October. I was in charge of crisis management at the World Bank, the EU ministers were supposed to meet every week. One cannot go on vacation during the crisis. The EU needs much swifter decisions. The debt brake also came much too late," Djankov notes.

He clarifies that Bulgaria backs the EU's banking union as long as there is equal representation at the ECB control body.

"We want to have a seat and a vote there. Anything else would be discriminatory. If that is not the case, to us there is no EU banking supervision," Djankov declares.

He reiterates his stance that Bulgaria will not join the eurozone in 2014, reminding that Bulgaria has fulfilled the Maastrict criteria.

"We are in the Eurozone waiting room, even though we are the only EU country that fulfills the Maastricht criteria... We shall wait to see how the fiscal union develops. We strongly oppose France's plans to harmonize taxes. Our flat tax rate of ten percent encourages investment. We need this tax rate for at least ten to fifteen years. We insist on our tax systems as a condition for the fiscal union," Djankov says.

According to Bulgaria's Finance Minister, the European Commission is not in a position to build and control the fiscal union.

To illustrate his point, he says that the review of budget plans is a bureaucratic exercise for the EC.

He adds that Bulgaria sends its papers to the EC and gets no substantial response as if the documents had not even been read.

Djankov further notes that Bulgaria backs Turkey's EU bid in the long term, adding that the EU structures and institutions must undergo changes before that.

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Tags: finance minister, Simeon Djankov, Deputy Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Eurozone, debt crisis, Greek debt, Greek crisis, Turkey EU membership


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