7th Jul 2020

Poland sets out plan to join euro by 2011

  • Poland is ready to apply for euro membership, Donald Tusk says (Photo: EUobserver)

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has confirmed he is planning to lead his country into the eurozone by 2011, with a view to follow Slovakia as the second and largest central European country to join the single currency bloc. He admitted that meeting entry criteria will be "difficult," however.

Speaking at the launch of an economic forum in a Polish resort of Krynica on Wednesday (10 September), Mr Tusk said: "Today I can confirm that our goal [for switching to the euro] is 2011. It is a tough task, but we believe it is possible," the PAP agency reported.

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Up to now, Warsaw has avoided the question of a concrete timetable for entry into the monetary union, which Poland is obliged to do when ready under its EU accession treaty, just as with all the other new member countries.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski sparked concerns in Brussels quarters in 2006 when he openly expressed his distaste for the euro and hinted that Warsaw could hold a popular vote ahead of abandoning its national currency, the zloty, in 2010, close to the end of his presidency.

However, the country has been closely watching the path to the euro of its southern neighbour, Slovakia, set to join the eurozone in January and become its 16th member. Meanwhile reports about Poland losing out in EU aid due to the appreciation of the zloty also appeared to increase pressure on national leaders to move ahead with the decision.

In a bid to fulfill its pledge, Mr Tusk's government will have to follow strict budgetary discipline. Earlier this week, ministers approved a draft budget for next year, with a predicted public deficit of less than 2 percent of GDP, which is well below the EU's limit of 3 percent of GDP.

But the country's inflation of 4.8 percent appears to remain slightly above the currently accepted ceiling for price stability, also one of the key conditions for euro qualification.

Poland will have to join the European exchange mechanism (ERMII) at least two years ahead of switching to the euro and prove that the zloty is sufficiently stable.

Polish deputy finance minister Kataryzna Zajdel-Kurowska suggested Warsaw might request to join the system next year, according to PAP.

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