Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov says that the “egotism” of Western countries is putting the future of the European Union at risk.
Speaking at a forum on June 26, Borissov – whose country holds the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU until the end of June – hit out at “continual changes” in conditions for joining the euro zone and the EU itself.
Borissov, whose government has signalled its intention to apply to join the ERM-2 “waiting room” mechanism on the path to euro zone accession, expressed irritation at what he described as constant changes for conditions for joining.
Reportedly, an additional condition is being set, for Bulgaria’s major banks to be under the supervision of the European Central Bank before euro accession.
“Why are you constantly changing the conditions for the eurozone? Where is the risk in Bulgaria being in the euro zone waiting room? It’s zero! There is egotism, yes – in the way you are working now, you will break Europe down the middle and this incredible creature will eventually be torpedoed by the egotism of every single state,” Borissov said.
He said that a main criticism of Bulgaria was its currency board arrangement, put in place to keep local currency the lev stable after the financial and economic crisis of 1996/97, by pegging the currency to the Deutschmark and later the euro.
Bulgaria had shown that it could operate successfully with the currency board arrangement in place, Borissov said.
“We have a stable fiscal reserve which we protect, a huge gold reserve which we protect and a (euro/lev) exchange rate of one to two with which we have been living for 22 years. What is it that you do not like about that?” he said. Borissov added that Bulgaria was maintaining GDP growth of four per cent while unemployment was less than six per cent.
Against a background of the message from EU ministers that talks with Macedonia and Albania on accession to the bloc could start in June 2019 if certain conditions were met regarding reforms, Borissov criticised those EU countries unenthusiastic about EU accession talks with Skopje.
“What more can Macedonia do to get a call for talks? Not even about membership, but about talks? They’ve done everything, the name has changed…:Let’s imagine if Germany or Poland had to change their name,” Borissov said.
He dismissed the argument that European Parliament elections were coming up in 2019 and there should be no move before then. This argument, he said, was weak. “When will the right time be?” Borissov said.