BTA News

Bulgarian Economy Minister Says Euro Changeover Will Be Smooth and Well-Informed to Make Sure All People and Businesses Feel the Benefit

The transition to the euro in Bulgaria will be smooth and well-informed to make sure the benefits are felt by all people and businesses, caretaker Economy Minister Petko Nikolov said here Tuesday. “It is our topmost goal and task, and we will work for it with dedication and in the long term, during the caretaker cabinet’s tenure and after,” he said in his remarks at a conference titled “Bulgaria in the Eurozone, When?”. The event is organized by the Association of Honorary Consuls in Bulgaria, CFA Society Bulgaria and the Association of Banks in Bulgaria.

Nikolov also said that our membership in the most developed monetary union in the world brings significant benefits in economic, social and reputational aspects.

Bulgaria’s strategic goal is to meet the conditions for euro area membership by the end of 2024, after which it will introduce the euro as the national currency next year, Minister Nikolov said. He added that what needs to be done involved observance of budgetary discipline and reduction of inflation to levels comparable to the countries with the lowest inflation in the euro area. Meeting the inflation criterion remains a challenge for Bulgaria and efforts are needed to achieve it, he added.

Among the benefits for Bulgaria from eurozone membership, Nikolov mentioned an increase of the country’s credit rating, easier access to cheaper loans from the international markets; lower transactional costs for businesses; comparability of prices and wages. At the same time, the European Central Bank, by supervising the banking system, will ensure its sustainability and development in the future, the Minister said.

The minister said that the Bulgarian administration is working hard for the full implementation of the European requirements in the legislation in order to prepare Bulgarian businesses and consumers for the transition to the euro. He said that the introduction of the euro would be accompanied by specific measures to protect consumers, which included requirements for the correct conversion of prices from the lev to the euro and the indication of prices of goods and services both in euro and lev.

The period of double-marked prices will start one month after the date of entry into force of the decision on the adoption of the euro and will end one year after the date of the introduction of the euro, which is a guarantee for the protection of consumers’ rights, the Minister said. He said special attention will be paid to traders who mark the prices of goods and services in both currencies. Traders will have some freedom as regards the form and means of dual labelling, provided that it is easily understandable and presented in a way that cannot mislead the consumer as to the price of the goods or services, Nikolov explained. He said that the Commission for Consumer Protection (CCP), which reports to the Ministry of Economy and Industry, will monitor compliance with the obligations of traders for the correct recalculation and double marking of prices.