EC deems Bulgaria's convergence programme adequate.

By bne IntelliNews April 19, 2010
The European Commission considers Bulgaria 's convergence programme adequate, the finance ministry website quoted minister Simeon Dyankov as saying after an informal meeting with EU counterparts. The main target to maintain stable budget policy was seen to be in line with the current economic environment and the still existing external misbalances. The country was invited to continue pursuing strict fiscal policy and adopt measures to achieve the 2010 goals. The public spending effectiveness also relied on reforms in public administration, healthcare and education, the Commission said. The EC acknowledged that the measures adopted by the cabinet between August and December cut the projected budget gap by 2.3% of GDP last year. Also, the EC said that the convergence programme was in line with the growth and stability pact and will contribute to keeping the macroeconomic stability and the investors' confidence in the local economy. The final discussions and the assessment of the convergence programme are expected this week. Minister Dyankov also said that in May the government will discuss with the EC mission whether Bulgaria may avoid an excessive deficit procedure. Finance ministry estimates showed that last year the budget deficit had reached 3.7% of GDP on accrual basis, which is used for estimating the criterion for EU adoption (deficit of 3% of GDP). The preliminary assessment showed budget deficit of 1.9% of GDP, also set in the convergence programme. According to Daynkov, if no excessive budget deficit procedure starts, the government may apply to join the ERM II mechanism in the next few months. Otherwise, the procedure will be delayed until next year.

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