Weakness of the common currency is a monetary phenomenon

Bul­gar­i­an experts and econ­o­mists believe that the sin­gle cur­ren­cy was the vic­tim of spec­u­la­tive attacks and its weak­ness dur­ing the first half of the year should be assessed as a momen­tary phe­nom­e­non. Accord­ing to Lachezar Bog­danov from “Indus­try Watch”, 11Avail­able at: www.iwatchbulgaria.com (last access: 30 July 2010). the insta­bil­i­ty of the Euro is a neg­a­tive trend that should be tack­led in time by the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the gov­ern­ments of the Euro­zone. The res­cue pack­age for Greece pro­voked an intense debate among experts and finan­cial observers in Bul­gar­ia. Some inde­pen­dent experts have assessed the pack­age as pour­ing mon­ey into a bank­rupt econ­o­my that would fur­ther weak­en the Euro, oth­ers stressed the fact that the plan has the poten­tial of pro­vid­ing a long-term rem­e­dy in case Greece will be ready to apply the envis­aged dras­tic finan­cial mea­sures.22Avail­able at: http://www.segabg.com/online/new/articlenew.asp?issueid=5795&sectionId=4&id=0000701 (last access: 30 July 2010). For the experts of Indus­try Watch, the Greek cri­sis uncov­ered pub­lic finance prob­lems in Europe and has the poten­tial to dete­ri­o­rate Bulgaria’s fis­cal posi­tion rapidly.

The idea of “a strong coor­di­na­tion of eco­nom­ic poli­cies in Europe” is main­ly dis­cussed by Bul­gar­i­an pol­i­cy mak­ers in the frame­work of their meet­ings with offi­cials from oth­er mem­ber states or EU insti­tu­tions. Dur­ing his vis­it to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter and leader of the par­lia­men­tary group of the Bul­gar­i­an Social­ist Par­ty (BSP) Sergey Stan­i­shev expressed the view that the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy should be much more ambi­tious. Accord­ing to the leader of the Bul­gar­i­an Social­ists, the EU should take much more coura­geous steps, such as rais­ing the require­ments for con­ver­gence of the nation­al economies and eco­nom­ic poli­cies of mem­ber states. Oth­er mea­sures should include the intro­duc­tion of fees for finan­cial trans­ac­tions, allow­ing all cit­i­zens access to new infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies and the cre­ation of “green jobs”.33Avail­able at: www.focus-news.net (last access: 30 July 2010).

Bul­gar­ia still lacks a seri­ous debate on the main pri­or­i­ties addressed in the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy. In an attempt to over­come these defi­cien­cies, a team of Bul­gar­i­an NGOs have tried to urge pub­lic dis­cus­sions around the forum “Europe 2020 – The Civic Vision” held in Sofia on 29 and 30 Jan­u­ary 2010. Rec­om­men­da­tions from the civ­il soci­ety sec­tor point­ed out a list of need­ed fur­ther steps in strength­en­ing the present social cohe­sion, the reform of the Euro­pean employ­ment pol­i­cy, and the refo­cus of the sol­i­dar­i­ty poli­cies towards con­cen­trat­ed invest­ments in fields with growth poten­tial.44Avail­able at: http://parliament.europe.bg/en/?id=26996&category=371 (last access: 30 July 2010).

Accord­ing to the For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Niko­lay Mlade­n­ov, Bul­gar­ia has two pri­or­i­ty areas in the frame­work of the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy – edu­ca­tion and inno­va­tion.55Avail­able at: http://www.dnevnik.bg/evropa/novini_ot_es/2010/06/17/918748_nikolai_mladenov_obrazovanieto_i_inovaciite_sa/?ref=rss (last access: 30 July 2010). Bul­gar­i­an offi­cials fear the coun­try will not be ready to ful­fil the fifth objec­tive of the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy on pover­ty reduc­tion. Although the coun­try sup­ports the idea that eco­nom­ic growth and employ­ment are impor­tant objec­tives in them­selves, the tar­get set in the Strat­e­gy for reduc­ing the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing below the pover­ty line by 25 per­cent in 2020 is not a real­is­tic one for Bul­gar­ia.66Avail­able at: http://www.mfa.government.bg/bg/news/view/29867 (last access: 30 July 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.