Bulgaria Makes Bank Pledges in Bid to Join Euro Waiting Room

Bulgaria has committed to strengthening its banking sector, European Union officials said Tuesday, two days before a eurozone finance ministers meeting that could shed light on the Balkan country's progress toward joining the euro. Bulgaria meets the nominal criteria to adopt the European common currency, with its lev currency pegged to the euro, low inflation and healthy public finances. But it is also the EU's poorest country, and widespread graft and troubles at some of its banks have cast a shadow over its prospects of joining, VOA reported. Eurozone states and authorities have demanded that Sofia step up checks at its lenders and accept external oversight before it can join the bloc's ERM-2 exchange rate mechanism — usually a two-year waiting room that precedes euro membership. Read more.