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Bulgaria: Economy On Track For Euro Currency By 2001

Kyiv, 12 May 1998 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Bozhkov told the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's (EBRD) meeting in Kyiv today that his country is on track to meet the Maastricht criteria for membership in the common European currency by the year 2001.

Bozhkov said the development raises Sofia's hopes of joining the European Union. He attributed the turnaround in Bulgaria's economy during the last year largely to the currency board regime established at the insistence of the International Monetary Fund.

Bozhkov said Sofia's stable political situation, brought about by the Union of Democratic Forces' single-party majority in parliament, has allowed Sofia to push ahead with privatization and other reforms. He said this further raises Bulgaria's EU membership hopes.

Bozhkov said Sofia now expects total inflation in 1998 to be lower than budget projections of 16 percent. National Bank Deputy Governor Valentin Tsvetanov said the currency board regime has led to more stable prices by forcing Sofia to establish fiscal discipline.