Polish people must ‘okay’ eurozone entry

Polish people must ‘okay’ eurozone entry

WARSAW - Agence France-Presse
Polish people must ‘okay’ eurozone entry

Polish Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Rostowski gestures as he speaks at the Finance Ministry in Warsaw in this photo. REUTERS photo

Poles will have to okay eurozone entry in a referendum, a senior minister has said echoing the prime minister’s recent endorsement of a public vote on membership of the unpopular currency union.

“I can’t imagine any government would want, or indeed could, steer Poland into the eurozone without Poles accepting the move,” Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski told commercial broadcaster TVN24 lon Macrh 27. “On the other hand, it would be unwise to organize a referendum which would require a 50 percent turnout and 50 percent approval to allow entry,” he added.

On March 26, Prime Minister Donald Tusk raised the idea of a binding referendum on the eurozone, as a survey showed 62 percent of Poles opposed adopting Europe’s single currency. The nation of 38 million is obliged to join the eurozone under the terms of its 2004 EU entry agreement, which did not specify an accession deadline.

Warsaw had adopted a wait-and-see approach to swapping its zloty for the euro as the 17-member currency bloc tries to end a series of debt crises.

A strong emerging economy, Poland has maintained growth each year since it shed communism two decades ago. It is the only EU member to have done so through the 2007-2009 global financial and eurozone crises.

Analysts note that the free-floating zloty, which slumped against both the euro and dollar when the financial crisis hit, HAS buoyed exports. Poland’s large internal market and an influx of EU subsidies have also helped to keep business activity expanding.

Although Poland must adopt the euro at some point to avoid being pushed to Europe’s economic periphery, Tusk’s government has put off practical steps towards eurozone membership until after elections in 2015.

The survey showed just 32 percent of Poles wanted the euro now.