Far-right politicians in Bulgaria prevent entry into the eurozone

Pro-Russian far-right influence

The far-right pro-Russian Vazrazhdane party in Bulgaria has garnered significantly more signatures—590,000—than the 400,000 needed to force the scheduling of a vote—in favor of a referendum that would delay the country’s membership into the eurozone.

In January, Vazrazhdane began its opposition to the euro campaign. It was viewed as a means of gaining more support before the general election held on April 2. The party has gained more supporters, moving up to the third-largest group in parliament.

Kostadin Kostadinov, the party’s leader, was quoted by the news outlet Dnevnik as saying he anticipates the referendum being held in the fall when the nation is scheduled to have local elections.

According to a remark from Kostadinov on the party website, “Entry into the eurozone is a trap without an escape.”

Signatures for a referendum

Local institutions, however, could cause the operation to be severely delayed. Following Orthodox Easter, the legislature should meet. The civil registration body will then get the signatures from its speaker and have 45 days to verify that they are genuine. Without holding a debate, lawmakers must call a referendum if at least 400,000 signatures are valid.

This action, however, can be put off if at least 48 parliamentarians ask the constitutional court to judge the legality of such a referendum. The constitutional court’s decision on that petition is subject to no time constraints.

Legislators must discuss the referendum request before determining whether to call one if at least 200,000 but fewer than 400,000 signatures are valid.

Following the court’s decision on the petition, parliament must decide whether to convene the referendum, and the president has one month to choose the date.

The turnout must, however, match that of the nation’s most recent general election for the referendum’s outcome to be legally binding. On April 2, there was a 40.6% turnout.

Over half of Bulgarians oppose the adoption of the euro, according to the most recent Alpha Research poll, even if only 10% claim to be knowledgeable about it.

The interim administration of Prime Minister Gulub Donev has given up on the country’s attempt to join the Euro in January 2024, alleging it has not met the standards. In February, the interim finance minister, Rositsa Velkova, stated that because some crucial legislation changes have not yet been made, the government cannot achieve the inflation standards.

Numerous laws, including those about modifications to the Insurance Code, the Law on Measures against Money Laundering, and the Commercial Law in the area of bankruptcy, were presented to the parliament but only passed in the first reading before the dissolution of the previous parliament.

The new parliament will meet for the first time on April 12, but it will take time to discuss these measures.

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