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Poland to apply for eurozone membership in 2015?

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 22.01.2013 08:57
“By 2015, Poland should meet criteria for entry to the eurozone,” says President Komorowski, signalling a renewed attempt to pursuade voters that adopting the euro is best for the economy.

President Komorowski: photo - PAP/Jacek Turczyk

“Instead of considering these issues as theoretically possible, we should focus on the first stage, that is, meeting the criteria,” Bronislaw Komorowski, a close political ally of the centre-right coalition government told the TVP broadcaster on Monday night.

Before making an application to adopt the euro single currency, which would mean Poland meeting criteria such as levels of debt under 3 percent of GDP and other convergence issues, Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government should gain a mandate from voters, who are scheduled to go to the polls in a general election in 2015, the president said.

“This process should start after the 2015 elections, so a new balance of power can make the appropriate decision.”

When the Civic Platform/Polish Peasant Party (PSL) coalition first came to power after the elections of 2007, finance minister Jacek Rostowski said the government was aiming to get Poland into ERM-2 – the first stage in adopting the single currency – as soon as possible, though the finance crisis in the eurozone has meant that the plans have been put on the back burner.

The government and President Komorowski face an uphill battle to persuade voters that adopting the single currency is the best thing for the Polish economy, however.

An opinion poll commissioned by the finance ministry in December found 56 percent of Poles were against joining, up 3 percentage points from the same time in 2011.

A report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) published on Monday found that conditions in the eurozone, which Poland and other new EU members rely on for exports, is improving.

“For the first time in a long while we are now seeing the possibility of a reduction in the risks facing emerging Europe, especially the risks from the eurozone,” said Erik Berglof, EBRD chief economist.

Declines in exports to the eurozone slowed late last year, says the report, though the bank cut Poland's growth forecast for 2013 from 2.2 to just 1.5 percent.

The International Labour Organisation reports on Tuesday that, “entering 2013, the crisis in the Euro area constitutes the single biggest risk to global employment trends for the year ahead.

The ILO puts the blame for the crisis on policy makers.

“Incoherence between monetary and fiscal policies adopted in different countries and a piecemeal approach to financial sector and sovereign debt problems, in particular in the Euro area, have led to uncertainty weighing on the global outlook. Investment has not yet recovered to pre-crisis levels in many countries,” the report says.

“President Komorowski is right in pointing out that it is in Poland's interest to speed up reforms,” former governor of the National Bank of Poland Leszek Balcerowicz told the TVN 24 news station on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said that a debate on eurozone entry will take place this spring. (pg)

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