Bulgaria's Eurozone Entry Likely Delayed to 2026 Amid Disinformation and Economic Challenges

Finance | April 22, 2024, Monday // 13:32|  views

Experts suggest that Bulgaria's admission to the Eurozone is more realistic in January 2026, according to insights from Cinzia Alcidi of the Brussels Center for the Study of European Politics, as reported by Politico. Despite previous aims for entry on January 1, 2025, various factors, including Russian-funded disinformation campaigns, political uncertainties, persistent inflation, and insufficient public support, cast doubts on meeting the earlier target.

Political leaders in Bulgaria, including the governor of the Bulgarian National Bank, acknowledge the possibility of delayed entry, potentially around mid-2025. However, technical considerations related to the timing of accession make a mid-year entry less conventional.

The European Central Bank's upcoming assessment of Bulgaria's readiness, expected before summer, will play a crucial role in determining the feasibility of entry. Meeting the Eurozone criteria demands that Bulgaria's inflation rate does not exceed that of the top three performing EU countries by more than 1.5 percentage points. Despite favorable budgetary conditions, Bulgaria's current inflation forecast for 2025, standing at 2.9%, suggests a more plausible entry in 2026.

Zsolt Darvas from the Bruegel think tank emphasizes that Bulgaria's fiscal position remains robust, indicating readiness for Eurozone integration. However, he highlights the potential for expedited entry by leveraging the "gray zone," as seen in Croatia's accession in 2023. Yet, any acceleration must be backed by valid justifications.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Eurozone, entry, delay

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