Today, AmCham Bulgaria organized a conference titled “Bulgaria in the Eurozone – What is Next for the Business” at Grand Hotel Millennium Sofia. It was attended by Metodi Metodiev, Caretaker Deputy Minister of Finance of Bulgaria, Dimitar Radev, Governor, Bulgarian National Bank, as well as the executive directors of two of the sister AmChams of Croatia and Greece – Andrea Doko Jelusic and Elias Spirtunias. Ivan Mihaylov, AmCham Bulgaria CEO opened the event and moderated the Opening Session. Ivaylo Lakov, Editor-in-Chief and Anchor of BloombergTV Bulgaria moderated the Business Panel.
“The business in Bulgaria represented by all of our members, expects from each government and the political establishment to realize well organized and deepening integration of Bulgaria in the European Union. At this point it includes the adoption of the single European currency and the accession in the Schengen space. Only in this way we can be fully integrated within the EU, incl. in economic way. Bulgaria can be full-scale member of the EU only if it can be part of its processes and its agenda,” pointed out Ivan Mihaylov, CEO, AmCham.
Bulgaria is part of the EU since 2007. Thanks to the export potential and connections, our country is part of the Transatlantic Economy between the USA and EU – the biggest economy globally, which generates 1/3 of the world’s GDP. Our EU integration and our economic ties and proximity with the U.S. continue to bring significant benefits to the country, while Bulgaria should continue seeking more and new competitive advantages in strategic sectors and foster business relationships on both sides of the Atlantic.
Bulgaria’s results in the export of goods and services to and from the United States for 2022 are very impressive. Bulgaria exports to the U.S. goods of the value of USD 1.2 billion and services at USD 0.4 billion. These are stable levels of both indicators while the one about the goods is historical record.
“Bulgaria’s share in the direct export to America is 2.5% of its total import, while if the intra-EU trade is excluded, our country’s share grows to 7.3%. This is just one of the examples of the benefits of globalization and being part of the EU Single Market. Can you imagine what we could achieve if we introduce the Euro?” – underlined and provoked the audience Ivan Mihaylov.
Ministry of Finance Statement
“The introduction of the euro will benefit business by stimulating investments and will deepen the integration processes in the EU Single Market, the capital and finance markets. It will bring institutional convergence with the developed EU countries, especially regarding the quality of the institutions in Bulgaria. In the case of Bulgaria, the euro adoption as a goal was a catalyst for a series of reforms and investments. Without it, these key reforms will not happen at all or will not happen in such short terms,” pointed out Metodi Metodiev, Deputy Minister of Finance. He shared that the caretaker cabinet continues working for the preparation of our country for Eurozone membership at a dynamic pace. He also underlined that within the mandate of the Council of Ministers, it is preparing the necessary draft acts which should be discussed and voted on by the Members of the Parliament.
The experience of Croatia and Greece
“Croatia’s experience is an important lesson for other EU Member States adopting the euro, as it confirms that the economic costs arising from the effect of the changeover on inflation are mild and of a one-off nature.
From the perspective of the business community, it is worth mentioning that AmCham Croatia conducted a business climate survey in December 2022 and January 2023 in which 73% of respondents believe that the introduction of the euro in Croatia will have a positive effect on their business, while only 4% consider it negative,” said Andrea Doko Jelusic, Executive Director, AmCham Croatia.
“AmCham Greece is proudly supporting the efforts of AmCham Bulgaria to inform the business community and the general public about the positive prospects that lie ahead for the country by joining the European Monetary Union. The Euro adoption in combination with Schengen will pave the path for sustainable growth of the country’s economy and the business as well for the benefit of its people,” said Elias Spirtunias, Executive Director, AmCham Greece.
“Entering into the Eurozone, Bulgaria will enjoy the benefits of lower and stable inflation, higher levels of FDI, better rating and easier access to the international market, lower cost of borrowing, and rise in tourism just to name a few of what Greece has enjoyed by becoming a member of the Eurozone. We look forward to welcoming Bulgaria the soonest possible as a new member of the Eurozone,” he said also.
In his closing remarks Ivan Mihaylov pointed out that just like every other country, Bulgaria needs fresh investments, innovation, and educated citizens. “These investments can be sourced from abroad and they can be generated by the already operated in Bulgaria companies. However, our country’s image is modeled by the local processes and by the numbers we show to the world. The public debate about the Euro adoption is part of this image. Even more, the business has the feeling that the value of their companies shrinks because of the long time spent in the ERM-2 (the Waiting Room of the Eurozone) and because of the ongoing political crises in Bulgaria. It is needed bod decisions and decisive political will so that our country can be more active in the decision-making processes in the EU, to maintain the levels of public debt and inflation in line with the Maastricht Criteria, as well as to develop a sustainable business environment in which the rule of law and education are high priorities,” – concluded Mihaylov.
About the conference
For AmCham Bulgaria, the Single Euro Currency adoption is a natural and logical process of a deepening and needed integration of Bulgaria into the EU in political and economic ways. Along with the country’s accession to the Schengen Space, these are the final stages for its complete Euro Integration. Bulgaria as an EU member-state since 2007 is part of the Transatlantic Economy and should continue seeking and creating benefits and competitive advantages for its national economy and regional cooperation in strategic sectors.
With this event, AmCham Bulgaria joins the public debate and makes an attempt to present the business angle and its expectations in the Euro adoption. The Chamber’s goal is to build constructive institutional dialogue and to receive concrete answers from the government and the National Bank about the benefits related to the euro adoption process.
The conference was supported by the Golden Sponsors – Glavbolgarstroy and Interlogistics Services, the Silver sponsors – Dundee Precious Metals Bulgaria, ING Bank Bulgaria, and Japan Tobacco International Bulgaria, as well as by the Bulgarian Development Bank and tbi bank which bought corporate tables.