Bulgaria's interim government must speed up negotiations with European Union institutions to ensure that the country does not miss its target date of joining the eurozone in January 2024. This is stated in a resolution of the Bulgarian parliament, Reuters reported.
Central bank officials and economists said Bulgaria, gripped by political turmoil that has led to four elections in the past two years, has lost momentum in preparing for the transition to the euro.
As parties are again mired in difficult negotiations to form a government after an inconclusive early election on Oct. 2, lawmakers have urged the interim administration to step up preparations for the euro transition.
Two major political parties, the center-right GERB and the reformist PP, backed the resolution, stressing the benefits of deeper integration of Bulgaria's economy into the EU. The lev currency has long been pegged to the euro.
The Renaissance faction voted against it, while the Socialists and the Bulgarian Revolt party abstained.
A total of 157 deputies in the 240-member parliament voted in favor of the resolution to accelerate preparations for the transition to the eurozone, 28 voted against and 23 abstained.
Central Bank Governor Dimitar Radev told lawmakers that political instability posed a serious problem for Bulgaria's accession to the eurozone and urgent political decisions were needed to avoid breaking the deadline.
He said that delaying entry into the eurozone could trigger a downgrade in credit ratings, which would raise Bulgaria's financial costs, which are already rising amid the political stalemate.