21st Oct 2016

Polish finance minister says Europe at risk of "collapse"

  • Rostowski: 'We have to be sure, that going into this house [the eurozone] it will be earthquake-proof' (Photo:

Polish finance minister Jacek Rostowski has said the EU could "collapse" if leading countries such as Germany mishandle the financial crisis.

Speaking in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on Monday (29 August), the minister said: "European elites, including German elites, must decide if they want the euro to survive - even at a high price - or not. If not, we should prepare for a controlled dismantling of the currency zone."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added: "We have a simple choice: Solidarity or the collapse of Europe."

Rostowski criticised the German "elite" after German President Christian Wulff last week said the European Central Bank (ECB) should not buy struggling Italian and Spanish bonds.

The Polish minister said the ECB programme is an essential stop-gap measure until the EU crisis-fund, the EFSF, is given new powers to buy sovereign debt.

He indicated that eurozone countries will have to pour more cash into the €440 billion EFSF to make it fit for purpose.

"We cannot allow markets to have a shadow of a doubt that the EFSF is not big enough to stabilise all the euro countries which need help," he said. With Italy's debt alone standing at almost €1.9 trillion, the EFSF should be "very big" he noted.

The Polish minister said the long-term solution to the crisis is deeper integration.

"The fundamental problem of the eurozone is not an economic but a political one," he explained. "The choice is: much deeper macroeconomic integration in the eurozone or its collapse. There is no third way."

He attacked Finland for its "egoism" in seeking collateral for a new loan to crisis-struck Greece.

He also diagnosed two forms of "dangerous populism" at work in EU politics - a southern populism based on financial irresponsibility and a northern one based on lack of solidarity with southern countries.

Rostowski said Poland will not join the euro until it is sure the currency is "earthquake proof".

But he added that wealthy northern countries as well as non-eurozone EU members will suffer if it falls.

"It's hard to imagine anything that would hit the Dutch, German or Finnish economy harder than the collapse of the banking system in any eurozone country," he said. "The collapse of the eurozone would [also] be catastrophic for Poland."


Europe ready to tackle Greek debt relief

The Greek government has built and broadened alliances in EU institutions and member-states that acknowledge the need to restructure the debt and deliver another economic model for the eurozone.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  2. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  3. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  4. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  5. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  6. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  7. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting
  8. Tusk: 'Concrete' migration proposals in December summit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity

Latest News

  1. Wallonia still refuses to buy the Ceta "cat in a bag"
  2. Women shake Poland's pillars of power
  3. Malta, Latvia, and Hungary top EU obesity charts
  4. British PM asserts her role in EU 'nest of doves'
  5. Italy shields Russia from EU sanctions threat
  6. EU and Wallonia still stuck on Canada accord
  7. Dieselgate isn't my fault, says German transport minister
  8. Scotland plans independence vote before Brexit