New Cabinet Should Focus on KTB Rescue, Eurozone Entry - Sofianski
The caretaker government must tackle the reopening of KTB bank and preparing Bulgaria for Eurozone membership with utmost priority, Stefan Sofianski has said.
The former caretaker prime minister who had steered Bulgaria through in early 1997 following a financial meltdown, said in an interview for Novinite.bg on Tuesday that the new interim cabinet should “resolve the KTB case as soon as possible in the direction of reopening” the troubled bank.
The caretaker cabinet led by Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki and comprising a bunch of Western-educated technocrats was unveiled by Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev earlier on Tuesday.
According to Sofianski, Bliznashki’s team will work in a more comfortable environment than his own cabinet that was in office for a little more than three months and prepared the introduction of the Bulgarian currency board system to stabilize the economy and rein in rampant inflation.
“One can draw parallels. But back then we had only USD 330 M left in foreign reserves and inflation ran at 200%. Now we have a stable banking system,” Sofianski said.
Commenting on Bulgaria’s aim to enter the Eurozone, he said that Bulgaria now should prepare for entry as quickly as possible while keeping the currency board in place.
According to Sofianski, the caretaker cabinet has to stabilize Bulgaria’s economy in order to generate economic growth that will open the way for adopting the euro, possibly in two or three years’ time.
“The logic is to adopt the euro when we have economic growth,” he said.
Another key challenge that lies ahead of Bliznashki’s caretaker government is to step up efforts to make up for delays in negotiations with the European Commission over the financial framework for the next seven-year funding period, Sofianski said.
“We’ve already lost 2014. […] We should have started to absorb funding for the new period in January-February.”
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