Bulgarian respondents in an Eurobarometer survey released on May 8 were broadly in favour of the country adopting the common European currency, and the least sceptic about the introduction of the euro, but also felt the country was not yet ready for the switch.
About 55 per cent of Bulgarians polled for the survey said they were in favour of the euro being introduced in the country, an increase of four percentage points from a similar poll carried out last year. More than two-thirds, 69 per cent, thought that the euro would be introduced at some point, and 29 per cent were uncertain, which left only two per cent convinced that Bulgaria would never join the euro zone, the lowest ratio among seven countries surveyed.
Three-quarters of respondents in Bulgaria said that the country was not prepared to adopt the euro and, despite the support for joining the euro zone, a majority of Bulgarian interviewees – 53 per cent – said that the consequences at national level were more likely to be negative.
At a personal level, 46 per cent said that they expected negative consequences (compared to 42 per cent who had positive expectations). About 64 per cent said that they expected prices to increase and 84 per cent (up from 78 per cent in the previous poll) said that they were afraid of abuses and cheating on prices during the changeover.
Asked about the ease of adapting to the new currency, 82 per cent of respondents in Bulgaria agreed that they would manage to do so.
Bulgaria already uses a currency board that pegs its national currency, the lev, to the euro and could have joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM-2), sometimes called the “euro zone waiting room”, in any of the past three years, but would require political agreement from the current members of the euro zone to do so.
The country currently meets all other macroeconomic requirements, known as the Maastricht criteria, although that may change later this month if the European Commission decides to open excessive deficit proceedings against Bulgaria.
The Eurobarometer poll was carried out among seven countries in the EU – six Eastern European member states that have joined since 2004 and Sweden – in April and can be seen in full here.
(Photo: Steve Ford/sxc.hu)