Euro or Lev? Our Readers Have Spoken

Novinite Insider | March 7, 2024, Thursday // 17:45
Bulgaria: Euro or Lev? Our Readers Have Spoken

Bulgaria edges closer to potentially adopting the euro, but the debate over whether to keep the national currency, the lev, or transition to the European currency continues to stir controversy among the public. On our Facebook page, we recently posed this question to our readers: "Adopt the Euro or Keep the Lev?", and the response was resounding.

Out of the 300 individuals who participated in the poll (up until March 7th), a significant majority expressed their preference for retaining the Bulgarian lev. Of these respondents, 200 favored keeping the lev, while 100 were in favor of adopting the euro. This division reflects the diverse perspectives and concerns circulating within our reader base. It is worth noting that most of our readers are foreigners, with the top represented nations being the United Kingdom and the United States. A significant portion of them live in Bulgaria as well.

Many respondents articulated apprehensions about the implications of adopting the euro, citing fears of potential price hikes and loss of sovereignty. Some voiced their reservations, drawing parallels to the experiences of other European nations like Greece and Spain, where the adoption of the euro was met with economic challenges.

Comments left by our readers underscored these sentiments:

  • "The lev, the euro is a trap."
  • "Keep the lev. As stated by so many, prices will double overnight."
  • I say the lev, it may be pinned to the euro(at the minute) but our (UK) saving grace when we come out of the EU was the fact we still had our own currency.”
  • It is a Bulgarian political matter, so as a non-Bulgarian citizen, I will not directly comment as to yes or no... But in any event, I suspect that the Bulgarian government have already made their decision.”
  • "The Euro is best for the Bulgarian economy. Besides, expensive things are long time priced in Euro and the Lev is pegged to the Euro hence you better change to Euro so there is no exchange to be paid."

While acknowledging the concerns raised by our readers, it's essential to recognize the broader context surrounding Bulgaria's potential transition to the euro. The country has received positive signals from the EU regarding euro adoption, with inflation rates standing as the primary obstacle to overcome.

Moreover, Bulgaria's longstanding currency board arrangement, initially with the Deutsche Mark and later with the euro, has played a significant role in stabilizing its economy. Since 2020, the lev has been part of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), setting the stage for eventual integration into the Eurozone by January 1, 2025.

However, the decision to adopt the euro remains a complex one, with far-reaching implications for Bulgaria's economic future.

It's worth noting that the lev, derived from the old Bulgarian word for "lion," holds symbolic significance for Bulgarians, representing national identity and pride. Whether Bulgaria ultimately chooses to embrace the euro or retain the lev, the decision will undoubtedly shape the country's economic landscape for years to come.

Finally, we remind you: "All EU Member States, except Denmark, are required to adopt the euro and join the euro area. To do this they must meet certain conditions known as 'convergence criteria,'" as per the European Commission website.

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Tags: euro, lev, Bulgaria, currency, Eurozone

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