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Accession to Schengen Area, Eurozone Priorities for Bulgaria’s New Government

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Bulgaria’s newly elected government adopted its Governance Program here on Wednesday, setting the country’s accession to the Schengen Area by the end of 2023 and to the eurozone no later than Jan. 1, 2025 as top priorities.

According to a statement released by the cabinet approved by Parliament in early June, the program for the period until December 2024 also includes targets like inflation control, implementation of reforms and projects under the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan (NRSP), and improvement of the efficiency and transparency of the management of municipal projects.

Regarding its accession to the Schengen Area, Bulgaria aims to carry out all the necessary activities to meet the demands of its European partners, including strengthening border controls, introducing a set of new anti-corruption measures and reforming the security services, the statement said.

In order to enter the eurozone, the cabinet would propose state budgets for 2023 and 2024 with a 3 percent annual budget deficit, and conduct a large-scale explanatory campaign about the “benefits” of the introduction of the euro “to refute disinformation and dispel the concerns of some Bulgarian citizens,” it said.

To control inflation, the statement said the government would implement the necessary measures and reforms to stabilize the prices of goods and services, and create a favorable economic environment for businesses and citizens.

The implementation of the fourth priority would lay the foundations for a green and digital transformation of the country’s economy in the context of the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal, and restore, develop and increase the growth potential of the economy, the statement said.

As for the fifth priority, the government would allocate funding for municipal projects, which would allow municipalities to realize their priority initiatives for development and improvement of services for citizens, and develop a predictable and objective methodology for project evaluation, the statement said.

The new government is led by Nikolai Denkov, who was nominated by the We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB) coalition.

The government was backed by 131 deputies in the 240-seat National Assembly, with 61 of them belonging to PP-DB and 68 to the largest parliamentary group, the GERB-UDF coalition. Two deputies of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms also supported the government.

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