Greek Crisis Shows Bulgaria Shouldn’t Rush to Euro, Premier Says

Bulgaria needs to stay outside the euro area until the Greek crisis is resolved and fiscal discipline reinstated in all member countries, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said.

“If we were in the euro area now, we would’ve been required to contribute funds for Greece,” a government statement cited Borissov as saying in Brussels on Friday. “The less affluent giving money to the more affluent, it isn’t logical.”

Greece’s financial turmoil is preventing new European Union members from speeding up efforts to join the euro area even as the currency bloc takes a large part of their exports. While debate over the merits of swapping national currencies for the euro reignited in some post-communist nations, including the Czech Republic and Poland, fears of having to contribute to bailout packages is keeping the governments wary of making steps toward the membership.

“I don’t see a reason to hurry with euro-area membership, until all member countries achieve fiscal discipline,” Borissov said.

The Balkan country, which has a currency-board system that limits the conduct of independent monetary policy, may apply for the ERM-2 pre-euro exchange-rate mechanism in 2018, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said on Thursday. A Eurobarometer poll showed in April that 55 percent of Bulgarians are in favor of switching the lev currency for the euro.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed the Greek government to accept a “generous” offer made by creditors, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras lamented the terms demanded in return for aid.

Technical talks are underway in Brussels before euro-area finance ministers meet on Saturday to hammer out an agreement ending a five-month standoff with Greece. They’ll reconvene armed with a proposal by creditors to unlock as much as 15.5 billion euros ($17.3 billion) and extend Greece’s program through November.

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