SOFIA — The European Commissions czar for economic and financial affairs Friday cautiously backed Bulgarias bid to become the newest member of the eurozone.
Pierre Moscovici told reporters that “Bulgaria will be the next country of the eurozone,” ahead of todays meeting between eurozone ministers in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
But he dismissed the idea of setting a timetable, saying that “we mustnt rush” the process and that a “collective decision” would be needed before Bulgaria could join the euro club.
Moscovicis comments come after eurozone diplomats recently began discussing the next steps that Sofia should take before it officially applies to enter the EUs Exchange Rate Mechanism, known as ERM II.
The mechanism is specifically designed to help countries outside the eurozone adopt the blocs single currency.
The process also aims to ensure that any exchange rate fluctuations between national currencies and the euro are contained and avoid any disruption to the single market. This is accomplished by fixing a national currency against the euro and is only allowed to fluctuate within specific thresholds.
The European Central Banks governing council monitors the whole process while coordinating monetary and exchange rate policies for the country in question. All of this is done for at least two years, and the countrys central bank loses the power to devalue its national currency.
Eurozone diplomats told POLITICO that they expected Bulgaria to apply for ERM II later this year, probably after its EU presidency draws to a close in the summer.