Bulgarian, Polish ministers cast doubt on euro

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Bulgaria has abandoned plans to adopt the single currency in response to deteriorating economic conditions and rising uncertainty over the prospects of the European Union, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said in a newspaper interview.

The EU's poorest member yesterday (3 September) became the latest country to cool its enthusiasm for joining the eurozone – a longtime strategic aim of successive governments in the Balkan state.

Also on Monday, Rados?aw Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister, told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that his country would hold off on joining the single currency until the eurozone resolves its debt crisis. Poland is one of the few EU countries to avoided recession since the global financial crisis broke in 2008.

Sikorski said that while the country was committed to adopting the euro, but not until the currency union’s broader fiscal problems were worked out.

Czech officials have also expressed concerns about swapping its crown for the euro despite the country’s commitments made under its 2004 accession agreement.

Bulgaria is one of EU's least indebted members and is trying to stick to tight fiscal discipline to avoid risks to the lev currency, which is pegged to the euro.

"Right now, I don't see any benefits of entering the euro zone, only costs," Djankov said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

"It's too risky for us and it's also not certain what the rules are and what are they likely to be in one year or two."

Djankov added that he still expects Bulgaria's economy to expand by around 1.5% in 2012.

However, he warned that the eurozone could face up to five years with "zero growth" if the European countries' leaders continue to mull policy responses to the crisis instead of fully backing Germany's call to continue strict fiscal consolidation.

Bulgaria's finance ministry was not immediately available for comment.

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