Tuesday

13th Apr 2021

Poland faces pre-election anti-euro backlash

Economists have poured scorn on Polish politicians' drive to delay the country's eurozone entry, but in the run-up to general elections most of Poland's parliament wants to slow the process down.

Looking at the Polish lower house, the Sejm, as a whole, Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reported on Wednesday (29 June) that political parties representing 285 out of the total 460 seats are against the 2009 target.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Some groups, such as the eurosceptic Self-defence party, want to take the euro off the agenda for the long term.

"In practical terms these doubts will disappear very quickly", HSBC investment bank's eastern Europe analyst David Lubin told EUobserver.

A Credit Suisse economist said "People are just trying to gain political weight out of this. It's a tactical thing".

The September elections are widely expected to produce a coalition government composed of the centre-right Civic Platform party (PO) and the rightist Law and Justice group (PiS).

But while the PO is keen to get into ERM II - the waiting room for the euro - in April 2006 leading to potential euro entry by 2009, PiS believes Poland should move ahead more slowly.

New era of fiscal discipline

HSBC's Mr Lubin dismissed the PiS stance as pre-election posturing though, saying the party lacks a credible fiscal policy and that the PO would never join a coalition that sought to delay euro membership.

He pointed out that the political elite in Poland and Hungary are treating euro entry as a historic milestone on a par with enlargement, adding "We are going to see a new chapter of fiscal discipline in the east".

Credit Suisse contacts said that some politicians in eastern Europe are jumping on nationalist bandwagons, but that most economists see euro entry as a boost to trade and foreign investment in the region.

The Polish National Bank calculates that the single currency would yield an extra 0.3-0.5 percent a year in terms of GDP growth.

A source at the bank said the recent anti-euro debates in Italy and Germany and the French and Dutch no votes "have not helped" the single currency's reputation in Poland.

But he explained that national pride is at the root of anti-euro currents in eastern Europe today.

"In the communist period our currency was non-exchangeable. Now, over 15 years later, it's strong, stable. It's quite an achievement and people don't want to let go of this", he said.

PiS acting for good of Poland

PiS treasury committee chief, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, hit back at the economists' comments saying "It's possible that these bank experts don't know much about politics...We are not fighting this election just to adopt PO policies".

He added that April 2006 entry into ERM II will be impossible because there is too little time to form a consensus on the subject.

The minister indicated that PiS has held meetings on the euro with most of the investment banks in Poland and that its own economists are working on a set of "objective criteria" to evaluate currency conversion.

"Our position is not based on ideology, but on the good of the country. When it's good for Poland, we will support the euro", Mr Marcinkiewicz stated.

The Polish National Bank cut interest rates on Wednesday in order to stimulate growth in contrast to the European Central Bank (ECB) which has kept rates stable in the euro zoone for over two years.

Meanwhile, the Polish mint has applied to the ECB for a licence to start producing euro banknotes as early as 2007, Gazeta Wyborcza has reported.

Berlusconi attacks euro

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi called the euro a "rip-off" that "screwed everybody" in a vitriolic attack on opposition leader Romano Prodi.

Luxembourg tax scandal may prompt EU action

An investigation into Luxembourg's tax regime has uncovered how the Italian mafia, the Russian underworld, and billionaires attempt to stash away their wealth. The European Commission has put itself on standby amid suggestions changes to EU law may be needed.

Investigation

Portugal vs Germany clash on EU corporate tax avoidance

Portugal's taking over the EU presidency puts the tax transparency law for corporations - which has been fought over for years - to a vote in the Council of Ministers. The resistance of the German government has failed.

News in Brief

  1. US officials call for J&J vaccine pause over blood clots
  2. Putin refuses to talk about military build-up, Ukraine says
  3. EU bank to help Greece manage corona-recovery funds
  4. Johnson & Johnson vaccine deliveries to EU begin
  5. EU sanctions commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard
  6. UK opens investigation into ex-PM Cameron lobbying
  7. 'Significant differences' in EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland
  8. Bulgarian PM reveals price rise in new EU-BioNTech deal

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. How the pandemic became an EU goldmine for crime
  2. China responds to 'low-efficacy' vaccine fears
  3. Merkel party chiefs support Laschet's chancellor bid
  4. EU refuses to bail out Montenegro's China loan
  5. Industry lobby to 'co-decide' on nearly €10bn EU public money
  6. Why Ursula von der Leyen won't go
  7. Incorporating gender in trade policy to benefit all
  8. Does Italian regionalism actually work?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us