NEWS

ESC: TO SPEED UP BULGARIA'S ACCESSION TO THE EUROZONE BY ACCELERATED REFORMS

At its last Plenary Session for the year the Economic and Social Council adopted an opinion on "Accelerating the Preparations for Bulgaria's Accession to the Eurozone". In the opinion, ESC insists that the accession to the European Monetary Mechanism and the Eurozone be seen as an immediate national goal and a leading strategic priority of our economic policy. According to ESC, if Bulgaria formally starts a procedure for entry into the European Monetary Mechanism, there are chances for its admission as it has fulfilled the formal accession criteria. At the same time, the opinion draws attention to the need for systematic work to solve the problems in two areas - the insufficient degree of convergence of the Bulgarian economy to the average European levels and the presence of certain imbalances in the economy.

ESC also points out that public opinion in Bulgaria is not sufficiently aware of the effects of entering the Eurozone, and because of this lack of knowledge, a significant share of peoples' attitudes are negative. By analysing the experience of the newly-admitted Baltic States, Slovakia and Slovenia to the Eurozone, ESC assumes that there will be positive effects in a number of areas: facilitating the refinancing of the banking sector, the European Central Bank will be a lender of last resort, additional guarantees for bank deposits, interest rates on loans and increasing confidence in the banking sector. When Bulgaria becomes part of the Eurozone, foreign direct investment will grow, there will be an additional secure buffer for financial aid, competitiveness will increase, and there will be scope for greater nominal and real convergence, which in turn means higher productivity and higher incomes.

However, in order to accelerate the process of Bulgaria's accession to the Eurozone, ESC underlines that long-delayed key reforms of the judiciary, education, health care, pension, labour market, business environment and burdensome regulations, countering corruption and crime, must take place. The effects of these reforms will increase labour productivity, employment, income and consumption. ESC draws attention to the fact that the implementation of these reforms has no alternative, and Bulgaria's accession to the Eurozone depends on them.

MISSION

“THE CIVIL PARLIAMENT” OF BULGARIA

is the “bridge” between citizens and the national government. Its mission is to support such “bridging” so as to facilitate the communication between the society and the national government. It is the new and modern institution of the civil dialogue.

The ESC's mission is to promote civil society organisations access to and involvement in the process of decision-making on strategic economic and social issues.

The main goal of ESC's operation is to enable different representatives of organised civil society to feel free to state their views whereas unanimity on matters of common interest is encouraged. The Council expresses and protects civil society interests by communicating agreed statements and proposals submitted by its members to the executive and legislative authorities.

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