Bulgaria is on track to meet the inflation benchmark required for Eurozone membership by September, according to Finance Minister Asen Vassilev. Speaking at a conference focused on the currency union, Vassilev expressed confidence in Bulgaria’s ability to fulfill the necessary criteria within the specified timeframe.

“Inflation is declining rapidly, currently standing at 3.3 percent, below the reference value required for Eurozone accession,” stated Vassilev. However, he clarified that this indicator is monitored over a 12-month period. As Bulgaria prepares to release its regular convergence report in June, the country has agreed to request an additional report as soon as the inflation criterion is met.

“The moment we meet the inflation criterion, we will request an additional convergence report from the European Commission, paving the way for Bulgaria’s entry into the Eurozone in 2025,” explained Vassilev in response to inquiries about the timeline for accession.

Despite recommendations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urging tax increases, Vassilev affirmed that the government has no plans to raise taxes. This stance comes in contrast to earlier comments from GERB leader Boyko Borissov, who suggested that tax hikes were inevitable due to fiscal policies.

Vassilev highlighted the recent restoration of the value-added tax (VAT) rate to 20 percent, except for the restaurant sector, as an example of the government’s approach to taxation. While the IMF recommended equalizing the VAT rate across all sectors, Vassilev emphasized the Ministry of Finance’s opposition to this exception.

“We have no intention of raising taxes,” Vassilev reiterated, addressing the IMF’s proposals, which include progressive taxation of individuals and the removal of the insurance ceiling.

The IMF’s ideas found support from the “Podkrepa” trade union and the Bulgarian Socialist Party, underscoring the ongoing debate surrounding fiscal policy in Bulgaria.