The Bulgarian government hopes to introduce the euro as a parallel payment currency to the lev in early 2024.
The decision was confirmed by Finance Minister Asen Vasilev, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Authorities in the Balkan country are in talks with the European Central Bank and the European Commission to allow citizens to trade in euros, an option that is currently only available to businesses, according to the finance minister.
Vasliev also pointed out that the changes could also allow companies to pay salaries in euros.
“As a people, we cannot make deals in euros, nor receive our salaries in euros. We know that there are countries like Montenegro that allow these deals on a voluntary basis.” » underlined Vassilev. The country has not yet completed its negotiations with the European Union and “At this time, we have no confirmation that such action is possible,” he pointed out.
If allowed, the new changes for the single currency will not be introduced this year, the minister said, while emphasizing that Bulgaria has not given up on its plan to enter the single currency area and that it comes close to respecting the inflation criteria.
Bulgaria will be able to allow its citizens to choose to trade in euros or levs. Such a mechanism is already implemented in Montenegro and Kosovo, both of which use the euro without being members of the EU or the eurozone.
“We know that there are countries like Montenegro that actually allow these transactions to take place on a voluntary basis. If two citizens are willing and able to transact in euros, they should be allowed to do so without the state restricting them.” he noted.
The minister stressed that transactions between citizens and final sales in euros are currently only in levs.
Currently, businesses in this Balkan country suffer a loss of 750 million euros per year in fees for currency conversions as well as transfers to Eurozone banks. This sum of money represents for this Balkan country 0.4 percent of the state’s GDP.
Previously, the authorities of Bulgaria has announced that it will attempt to adopt the euro on January 1, 2025.
The minister then stressed that the country had taken several measures, while adding that it was making constant progress with regard to entry into the euro zone.