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When will Poland join the eurozone?


11:03, March 01, 2013

WARSAW, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- In early 2008, Prime Minister Tusk predicted Poland would adopt the euro by 2011. Soon after, Europe felt the wrath of the economic crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Since then, the Polish government has refused to fix a date for euro adoption although it keeps reiterating its strong will to become a member of eurozone in the future.

A concrete date for euro adoption became an issue again after the 2014-2020 European budget was published. The Polish government found itself divided on when Poland should make its decision on joining the euro.

Tusk last month relaunched a debate on Poland's eurozone entry, pushing for a decision to be made in the coming months. "We want to be at the center of the EU and the single currency is the key instrument for enhanced integration. As I view it, remaining in the periphery would be dangerous for Poland," Tusk argued.

However, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowsk has advocated holding off until after the country meets the Maastricht criteria. Talking to local press, he was swift to deny any speculation on an euro accession date, saying he "preferred to set the fulfillment of the criteria as the priority."

"I think it is realistic to speak of horizon 2015 for these targets, to make it possible to reach a political decision after the parliamentary elections of 2015," the President commented.

However, according to local media, Komorowski and Tusk reached an agreement in a special cabinet council meeting on Feb. 26 that the euro adoption requirements are more important goals than establishing an entry date.

One optimistic view held by Polish government officials and international observers is that Poland will adopt euro signal currency after elections in 2015. Others hold that view that Poland will not consider join in the eurozone before 2020.

However, observers say it is likely the timetable for Poland's euro adoption will depend on when the recovery of the eurozone takes place and when the Polish government sees the benefit of joining the zone.

At present, the future of the eurozone economy is not clear and the Polish economy is still struggling. So it is wise for the Polish government to observe for a while before giving a concrete date for euro adoption.

On one hand, Poland joining the euro means deeper European integration and brings it closer to the core of its decision-making process. Prime Minister Tusk stated that it was vital for Poland "both politically and economically."

On the other hand, it would destroy Poland's financial firewall and may drag Poland into the current crisis of the eurozone.

Recent polls by Warsaw Business Journal and other media indicate that a majority in the country oppose giving up the Polish currency, the zloty, and adopting the euro. Maybe the fear of being the next Greece or Spain holds the Polish back from the beautiful dream of one single currency.

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