July 12, 2018 / 6:32 PM / 9 months ago

ECB could take more than one year to assess Bulgaria's banking union bid: Coeure

FILE PHOTO: Benoit Coeure, board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), is photographed during an interview with Reuters journalists at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Bulgaria should send a request soon to join the banking union, a preliminary step before euro membership, and the assessment of its progress could take more than one year, European Central bank board member Benoit Coeure said on Thursday.

A request to join the banking union “should be sent within days to the European Central Bank,” Coeure told a news conference after a meeting of euro zone finance ministers that welcomed Bulgaria’s preliminary commitments to join the bloc’s banking project meant to strengthen lenders’ monitoring and financial stability.

The assessment of Bulgaria’s progress should last around one year, “but if there is need for more time, that could be more than one year,” Coeure added.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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