BRUSSELS: Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest country, moved a step closer to joining the euro on Thursday.
After a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) said an evaluation could be completed in "around a year".
"The European Commission welcomes Bulgaria's efforts to join the eurozone," Latvian Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President of the European Commission told a news conference.
"We might expect the ECB to complete its overall assessment in around a year," added members of the eurozone in a statement.
Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said earlier this year that with one of the lowest debt levels in the EU, fiscal surpluses and manageable inflation, Bulgaria met all the criteria for joining the euro.