Rhein on Energy and Climate

Article 3 of the TEU stipulates that the EU will establish an economic and monetary union with the Euro as its currency.

Poland and all other member countries, except UK and Denmark which enjoy a legal derogation, must join the eurozone, when they fulfil the requirements – 2.5 per cent inflation rate, three per cent budget deficit, lower than 60 per cent of GDP public debt, 4.8 per cent long-term interest rate, no devaluation during two years before joining.

Today 18 of the 28 EU member countries have adopted the Euro.

The remaining 10 countries do not yet fulfil all the necessary conditions for membership.

Poland has fared well without the Euro.

Theoretically, it could join the eurozone earliest by 2017 if it decided to bind the zloty-Euro exchange rate during 2015-16. But in 2015 it is due to hold parliamentary elections; and the present pro-European government under PM Ronald Tusk hesitates to take such a decision in view of two thirds of the citizens preferring to stay with the zloty.

The government prefers not to tie its hands in the present situation of financial uncertainty and to announce a target date for joining the eurozone.

From a EU perspective the timing of Polish Euro membership is not crucial compared with the political and economic stability of the country. Political wisdom therefore dictates to wait until the outcome of the parliamentary elections in 2015 before raising what is a delicate political issue in Poland.

In the meantime, the eurozone will have been strengthened thanks to the ongoing reforms and Poland’s northern neighbour,Lithuania, will no doubt have joined the eurozone at its target date 2015.

Eberhard Rhein, Brussels, 20/5/2014

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