(Bloomberg) -- Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said Bulgaria, her homeland, is “destined” to enter the euro zone despite political deadlock over the past three years that’s hampered the nation’s bid to join Europe’s single currency. 

“This is the road the country is destined to travel,” Sofia-born Georgieva told reporters on Saturday on the sideline of a joint IMF and Croatian central bank conference in Dubrovnik. “It’s a matter of when, not of whether Bulgaria will join the euro zone, and not only because of commitments Bulgaria has as an EU member nation.”

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Bulgaria, along with Croatia, joined the euro-area’s waiting room, known as ERM-2, in 2020. But unlike Croatia, which adopted the euro in January, Bulgaria in recent years has been plagued by political upheaval. For that reason the former socialist nation, whose currency is pegged to the euro, in February abandoned its goal of joining the euro zone as early as 2024.

Georgieva underlined the importance of political stability for a successful monetary integration, citing the more stable situation in Croatia, where Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic won a second four-year mandate in the 2020 general election. 

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“The contrast between Croatia and Bulgaria shows that where there’s political will, and where society is united, even in the hardest times, a good outcome can be achieved,” Georgieva said. She added that the currency board that Bulgaria has, “has anchored the stability in the country. Nobody wants to see the currency board go away.”

Georgieva also said the southeast and central European region has shown a “strong recovery” from economic losses sustained during the pandemic. 

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