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Bulgaria backs off eurozone plans as bloc's woes grow

Published time: September 03, 2012 20:46
Edited time: September 04, 2012 08:34

A homeless man sits by debris in central Athens (AFP Photo / Louisa Gouliamaki)

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Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest state, has shelved its plans to join the eurozone. Sofia says the decision comes in response to the bloc's deteriorating economic conditions.

Financial expert Patrick Young told RT that Bulgaria made the only sensible choice under the current circumstances in the eurozone.

RT: It's not a decision that's going to be welcomed by the eurozone's bosses, is it?

Patrick Young: Well, isn’t this truly a case of the tail waging the dog? Here we have out of 27 the poorest economy. The poorest economy in the eurozone has turned around and said – we don`t want your euro because your grand design is deeply flawed, it’s built on sand, it’s a catastrophe. The finance minister himself made a great statement today. He said our citizens are worried that if we join the euro we won’t know who we have to bail out. And that’s a very poignant point, because of course he knows that neighboring countries such as Slovenia have been plunged into huge financial repercussions because they've joined the euro. They came in late, and as they joined the euro, they've been forced to end up spending money to subsidize the pensions of people in Greece, who are actually getting higher pensions than pensioners are in eastern countries.

RT: Bulgaria has been acclaimed by many as a shining example of a country that did austerity right. Now it fears if it joins, it'll have to bail out countries that couldn't do it right. Is that an accurate picture?

PY: Notwithstanding the terrible crisis in the eurozone, the truth is that the European Union’s glorious idea that they can pull everybody’s money together and go towards prosperity has been a fiasco because all of the people in the euro are being sucked towards poverty because of the fact that they have to transfer so much money to the profligate, incompetent governments … on the southern side of the eurozone. The Bulgarian government has made the only sensible decision that they could, which is, why should they endanger the hard work, the sacrifices of their citizens in order to pay money into basically a bottomless pit? We do not have any comprehensive coherent leadership of the economy in Europe. And this is a big wake-up call, because what the Bulgarians are saying is, you know what, Germany, we admire your economic [success], but boy, you are making a mess of the eurozone.

RT: Bulgaria's leader also compared eurozone states to spoiled children that don't want to go to the dentist to fix their teeth. Does that example have merit, do you think?

PY: It has total merit. All we have heard is basically an endless series of bewildering arguments by a number of governments who say, well, just give us one more vodka bottle and then we will cure ourselves of our alcoholism. Well, it doesn’t work. Ultimately the tragedy of alcoholism is that your kidneys collapse, your liver gets damaged and you can’t drink any more. And that’s actually what we’ve reached. The alcoholics have drunk all of the resources out of the eurozone and nobody has been there to provide some degree of justice. The countries of the new euro, the dynamic, growing eastern half of the eurozone, are fed up.

RT: Are we going to see more countries opting out of the euro?

PY: We absolutely will. Just today I read a wonderful article by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson talking about how Croatia is going to be sucked into the euro because they pledged to join it because they are entering the European Union next year. That would be a suicide move for any nation that wants to join. The prosperous club of the eurozone has turned into a very bitter battle among feuding drunks over who is going to get the last measure of vodka.


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