Every Second Bulgarian is Against adopting the Euro - Only 10% consider themselves Informed on the Matter
Only 10% of Bulgarians claim that they feel well informed about the introduction of the euro, while 42% of them support this step. Among businesses, 30% consider themselves well informed. Every second citizen does not support the adoption of the euro, but almost 30% would change their opinion if they received an adequate response to their concerns.
This is shown by data from a nationally representative survey on the attitudes of citizens and businesses towards the euro, conducted by "Alpha Research" on behalf of the Ministry of Finance. It is from the period November 1-17 and among 1,200 people, and among businesses it covers 500 companies of representative size, by region and branch of business, as the questions were answered by the people who make the decisions.
According to the plan, Bulgaria should adopt the euro from 2024, but it is not certain that it will be able to fulfill all the requirements by then due to the political instability in the country. Despite growing skepticism among politicians as to whether Bulgaria should join the Eurozone now, the National Assembly recently obliged the government to work quickly on preparations.
A total of 32.8% of Bulgarians rather approve of the adoption of the euro, 15% completely, and 18% - rather approve. As expected, two-thirds (64%) of businesses approve, of which 46% - completely. A third - 33% - are the businesses that do not approve. "This high level of support is directly related to the effects that businesses expect the introduction of the euro to have on them and on Bulgaria's economy," comments Boryana Dimitrova, manager of "Alfa Research".
Unsurprisingly, among the expected negatives, the surveyed citizens indicate their fears that upon adoption of the euro, prices will be automatically increased - 68.7%. According to Dimitrova, if this specific concern is overcome, there will be more positive attitudes towards adopting the euro.
57% of people and 58% of businesses are worried about the risk of fraud and artificial price increases. The sociologist analyzes that if the majority of businesses are supportive of the issues related to the adoption of the euro, then in the issues related to fears of negative effects, the results with those of the citizens are equal.
A third of people and 50% of businesses believe that the negative effects are surmountable and short-term. And 28% of people would change their attitude towards adopting the euro if they saw these negative effects contained. 23% of businesses also declare this.
People from the smallest settlements and those with a low level of education are the most uninformed and have the most concerns. The Minister of Finance, Rositsa Velkova, announced that a meeting with the National Association of Municipalities is coming up, where it will be discussed how to inform the local population.
The creation of a website, as well as the opening of a free telephone line for questions related to the adoption of the euro, is expected by the end of March.
Despite the reservations among the public about the adoption of the euro in practical terms, the data are different - in the last year 44% of citizens used the euro for payments at least once, for businesses the percentage was 75. One in ten used the common European currency to save in it , for business - 23%.
Citizens have also used the euro to declare a higher value of a property or car they are submitting. Dimitrova commented that apparently many citizens in their right mind do not vote for the euro, but they support it with their actions. A total of 58% indicated that they thought they would easily adapt to a handling of the euro.
A total of 55% of respondents expect answers to questions related to who monitors for fraud, 47.2% want to know how the rate at which the euro is exchanged is determined, 46% - where to report incorrect traders, whether it is possible to pay in both currencies - 39.6%, etc.
Dimitrova analyzes that if there is a faster reaction to the difficulties and questions that have arisen, normal public support can be expected, which will increase over time. Organizational implementation problems and information deficits may also affect existing public attitudes.
Among businesses, the main part of the concerns, especially of the smallest companies, are related to the fact that direct competitors may take advantage of the adoption of the euro in a way that would lead to unfair practices that worsen normal competition. The Minister of Finance Rositsa Velkova commented that she expects by mid-January the Parliament will finally adopt changes in 4 laws that reflect Bulgaria's commitments on the way to the Eurozone - in the Insurance Code related to "Civil Liability" and the application of compensation in the event of accidents in abroad, in the Trade Act, in the Anti-Money Laundering Measures Act - By the end of the year, a version of the bill on the euro is expected to be developed, and in January it will be informally coordinated with business, and it is expected to be published at the beginning of February for public discussion.
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