Bulgaria to make moves to get closer to eurozone

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria's finance minister says he wants his country to get closer to joining the euro currency bloc over the next six months while Bulgaria holds the European Union presidency.

Vladislav Goranov told reporters Thursday that "most likely we will apply in the first semester" to enter a monetary program that is required before a country joins the euro, now shared by 19 EU members.

Goranov said the Bulgarian currency, the lev, already has a fixed rate to the euro, a stable economy and "in no way we can present risk to the eurozone." The government says Bulgaria now has a balanced budget and a national debt of only 26.8 percent of GDP, which is the third lowest in the EU.

Bulgaria has the lowest GDP per capita in the EU.

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