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Outgoing Finance Minister Vassilev “Moderately Optimistic” About Government Formation Negotiations between CC-DB, GERB-UDF

Outgoing Finance Minister Assen Vassilev told bTV on Sunday evening that the very fact that the negotiation process continues is a good sign, and that he is moderately optimistic. 
Asked if there is an option that he will no longer be finance minister after the rotation of prime ministers, Vassilev said: “There are all sorts of options. Parliament votes for the government. Mariya Gabriel, who will get the first mandate, has the right to list the ministers with whom she wants to work in the folder she will hand over to the President.”
The main focus in these negotiations was to draw up a document that would clearly outline how to proceed in the next nine months and beyond – until the end of the mandate, he said and clarified that he was part of the negotiating team.
Asked if he expects Todor Tagarev to continue being Defence Minister, Vassilev said that he personally thinks so, “but again, it is a decision of Mariya Gabriel and Nikolay Denkov”.
Vassilev noted that outgoing Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov will become deputy prime minister, as is the original agreement, but what other functions he will have is part of the ongoing negotiations. “What we are aiming at now is for Bulgaria to complete its integration into the main European structures,” the outgoing finance minister said, listing the land-based Schengen, the eurozone and state regulators. 
In Vassilev’s words, if there is an “apple of discord” somewhere, it is precisely related to the process of selecting the people in the regulators and the heads of the special services. “All of this should happen in a way that is transparent and ensures sustainability and that the institutions will work for the benefit of the citizens,” he said. 
Asked whether support from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms would be needed in the vote for the heads of the regulators, Vassilev said: “For some of them – yes, for about 20 of the 120 that have to be voted on.” He clarified that he is talking about main positions in the judicial system, for which a constitutional majority is needed. 
On the topic of the euro changeover, Vassilev said that inflation in Bulgaria was currently falling “dramatically”. “We expect inflation to continue falling so that it reaches somewhere in the range of 2%-2.5%,” the finance minister said. He said it was entirely realistic for Bulgaria to adopt the euro by January 1, 2025. “Various models show that Bulgaria will meet the inflation requirement in 2024, the question is in which month,” Vassilev said.