Bulgaria and the euro

Bulgaria and the euro

Bulgaria aims to join the euro zone as soon as possible. The current target date is 1 January 2012. [cite news | url=http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/bulgarias-budget-of-reform/id_26395/catid_23 | title= Bulgaria's budget of reform | publisher=The Sofia Echo | date=2007-11-30 | accessdate=2008-02-06] The euro coins have not been designed yet, but the motif for all coins has been chosen to be the Madarski Konnik (the Madara Horseman).

Selecting the design

Madarski Konnik was one of the favourites to become the symbol of Bulgaria to be used on the national side of the country's euro coins. Other eminent pretenders for the title ‘Symbol of Bulgaria' were the ancient tradition of the nestinars (Bulgarian fire-dancers), the Cyrillic [cite web|url=http://international.ibox.bg/news/id_1342115870|title=Most Probable Symbol of Bulgarian Coins] , the Rila Monastery and Tsarevets medieval fortress near Veliko Turnovo. cite web | url=http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/the-symbolic-meaning-of-bulgaria-s-national-symbols/id_29975/catid_70 | title=The Sofia Echo - The symbolic meaning of Bulgaria’s national symbols | accessdate=2008-06-18]

As of 17 June 2008, debates about the design of the future Bulgarian Euro coins were held all over the country. They continued until 29 June when a vote decided the Bulgarian symbol on all the euro coins. Bulgarians voted for a symbol in post offices, gas stations and schools. [cite web | url=http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=94179 | title=Bulgaria Debates National Symbol for Euro Coin Design | accessdate=2008-06-16] [cite web | url=http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n143377 | title=Information Agency - Bulgaria singles out new national symbol by June 29 | accessdate=2008-06-18]

Finally, on 29 June 2008 it was announced that 25.44% of the Bulgarian voters have chosen the Madara Horseman to be depicted on their future euro coins. [cite web | url=http://infobulgaria.info/new2/bgsimvoli/ | title=Bulgaria selected the new eruo design | publisher=Info Bulgaria | accessdate=2008-06-30] [cite web | url=http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=94629 | title=Bulgaria Chooses Madara Horseman for National Symbol at Euro Coin Design | publisher=Sofia News Agency Novinite | accessdate=2008-07-01] [cite web | url=http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/1214761621.35 | title=Bulgaria chooses heritage site to adorn euro coins | publisher=EU Buisness | accessdate=2008-07-01]

Joining the eurozone

Bulgaria euro coins will replace the current national currency, the lev, once the convergence criteria are fulfilled. On the occasion of the signing of the EU accession treaty on 25 April 2005, the Bulgarian National Bank issued a commemorative coin with a face value of 1.95583 leva, giving it a nominal value of exactly 1 euro.

Bulgaria meets three and fails on two criteria in order to join the eurozone. It derogates on the price stability criterion, which envisages that its inflation does not exceed that of the three EU member states with the lowest inflation (Malta, the Netherlands and Denmark) by 1.5%. Bulgaria’s inflation in the 12 months to March 2008 reached 9.4%, well above the reference value of 3.2%, the report said.

On the upside, Bulgaria fulfils the state budget criterion, which foresees that the deficit does not exceed 3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Over the past few years, the report said, the country has consistently improved its budget fundamentals and since 2003, a break-even point, the budget ran surpluses and in 2007 was at 3.4% of GDP. The EC forecasts that it will remain at 3.2% of GDP in both 2008 and 2009.

In regard to public debt, Bulgaria has also been within the prescribed cap of 60% of GDP. Government debt has also been declining consistently, from 50% of GDP to 18% in 2007. The expectation are to reach 11% of GDP in 2009. [cite web | url=http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/first-check-against-euro-zone-criteria/id_29318/catid_23 | title=The Sofia Echo | accessdate=2008-05-17]


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