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The 1.95583 leva coin issued by the Bulgarian National Bank, with a nominal value of exactly 1 euro.

Bulgaria aims to join the euro zone as soon as possible. The country has set itself a target date of 1 January 2013.[1], though generally dates vary between 2013 and 2014 [2]. The euro coins have not been designed yet, but the motif for all coins has been chosen to be the Madara Rider.

Contents

Selecting the design

The Madara Rider 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[3], the Rila Monastery[4] and Tsarevets medieval fortress near Veliko Turnovo.[4]

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.[5][6]

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.[7][8][9][10]

Joining the eurozone

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Bulgarian euro coins

Bulgaria euro coins will replace the current national currency, the lev, once the convergence criteria are fulfilled. As the current lev was fixed to the Deutsche Mark in par, the lev's peg effectively switched to the euro, at the rate of 1.95583 leva = 1 euro, which is the Deutsche Mark's fixed exchange rate to euro.[11] 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.

Convergence criteria

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. Furthermore, Bulgaria has not yet joined ERM II but plans to formally apply for membership in November 2009. [1][2][3]

On the upside, Bulgaria fulfills 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.[12] Some recent analysis says that Bulgaria will not be able to join the Eurozone earlier than 2015, due to their inflation problems and the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008.[13]. Some members of Bulgarian government, notably economy minister Petar Dimitrov, have speculated recently about unilaterally introducing the euro, which was not well-met by the European Commission[14]

Joining ERM II

On January 11, 2010, the Bulgarian Prime-Minister Borisov said that Bulgaria will apply for ERM II membership in the end of the month.[15]

References

  1. ^ "Bulgaria's budget of reform". The Sofia Echo. 2007-11-30. http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/bulgarias-budget-of-reform/id_26395/catid_23. Retrieved 2008-02-06.  
  2. ^ "INSIGHT: Bulgarian side of the euro". The Sofia Echo. 2008-07-04. http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/insight-bulgarian-side-of-the-euro/id_30332/catid_5. Retrieved 2008-12-03.  
  3. ^ "Most Probable Symbol of Bulgarian Coins". http://international.ibox.bg/news/id_1342115870.  
  4. ^ a b "The Sofia Echo - The symbolic meaning of Bulgaria’s national symbols". http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/the-symbolic-meaning-of-bulgaria-s-national-symbols/id_29975/catid_70. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  5. ^ "Bulgaria Debates National Symbol for Euro Coin Design". http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=94179. Retrieved 2008-06-16.  
  6. ^ "Bulgaria singles out new national symbol by June 29". http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n143377. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  7. ^ "Bulgaria choses Madara horseman as its symbol". The Sofia Echo. http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/bulgaria-choses-madara-horseman-as-its-symbol/id_30258/catid_70. Retrieved 2008-12-03.  
  8. ^ "Bulgaria selected the new eruo design". Info Bulgaria. http://infobulgaria.info/new2/bgsimvoli/. Retrieved 2008-06-30.  
  9. ^ "Bulgaria Chooses Madara Horseman for National Symbol at Euro Coin Design". Sofia News Agency Novinite. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=94629. Retrieved 2008-07-01.  
  10. ^ "Bulgaria chooses heritage site to adorn euro coins". EU Business. http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/1214761621.35. Retrieved 2008-07-01.  
  11. ^ "Prof. Dr. Ivan Angelov: Bulgaria needs a managed floating exchange rate". http://www.iki.bas.bg/english/CVita/angelov/No104e.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-12.  
  12. ^ "First check against euro zone criteria". The Sofia Echo. http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/first-check-against-euro-zone-criteria/id_29318/catid_23. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  13. ^ "Bulgaria’s Eurozone accession drifts away". http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n160657. Retrieved 2008-11-25.  
  14. ^ http://evropa.dnevnik.bg/show/?storyid=595094
  15. ^ http://www.dnevnik.bg/bulgaria/2010/01/11/840831_borisov_v_kraia_na_ianuari_trugvame_kum_evrozonata/

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