Polish debate on euro comes up again

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Platforma Obywatelska’s (EPP) National Council

The subject of euroisation of Poland was brought back to the public debate by Grzegorz Schetyna during the most recent meeting of Civic Platform, where he called for adoption of the common currency – “We can all see that the currency union is recovering rapidly. Especially after the British departure, it will be the euro zone that constitutes the real core of the European Union, with countries out of the zone playing a peripheral role at most. We want Poland to be a part of the Union’s core”, he insisted.

However, he realises that a substantial share of Polish society is against joining the euro zone, accusing “enemies of strong Poland in strong Europe” of “committing all their demagogic resources to besmirch the project in the eyes of their compatriots” and stressing that “this project must be carried out with support of Poles, rather than against their will”.

He thus annouced Platforma would start a “great, substantive, national debate on euro” and sketch a road map for adopting the common currency, but one that would contain “all criteria and actions that need to be fulfilled and taken by both Poland and institutions and members of the euro zone, so that the common currency becomes a tool to strengthen Polish economy” rather than just dates.

Detractors

The request was instantly criticised by Kukiz’15. As Marek Jurek (Right Wing of the Republic) and Paweł Kukiz (Kukiz’15 movement) stated independently on Twitter, the two groupings would put forward a joint “project of a resolution that would demand the government confirm the inviolablity of the article 227 of the Constitution and continued use of the national currency”.

Another deputy of Kukiz’15 movement expressed the same stance in an interview for Polskie Radio 24 – “what Civic Platform is trying to force on us is a currency we won’t have any influence on” – she warned. She also expressed a concern, that in case of a crisis, as a member of the euro zone, Poland would have to “rely on the great and the good”.

The idea of limiting the powers the country excercises over its monetary policy is opposed by PiS (ECR) as well. A member of the party’s parliamentary group, Zbigniew Gryglas, deemed having national currency “an aspect of sovereignty”. He also gave an opinion that “introduction of euro causes an abrupt increase of prices”, giving Slovakia and the Baltic states as examples of such a relation.

A MEP of the party, Ryszard Czarnecki, also raised the alarm, adding that introducing the common currency “is a bad idea for the poorer countries”.

Platforma’s vision is not shared by its former coalition partner, PSL (EPP), either. According to its Sejm deputy, Paweł Bejda, “national currency guarantees independence”. To prove that Poland does not need to join the euro zone, he gave an example of two scandinavian countries – Denmark and Sweden – that also haven’t.

Nowoczesna’s (ALDE) reaction

Nowoczesna’s attitude towards PO’s initiative is equivocal. On the one hand, members of the party highlight that “Nowoczesna has had euro in its programme since the onset of its existence” and enthuse over the fact that declaring support for the adoption of the common currency “could be a shared point of the programmes of all the opposition parites”.

On the other hand, they blame Grzegorz Schetyna’s party for “regrettably not having started the debate while they were in power” and point out that proposing euroisation now is “not credible” of them. They also remind that Nowoczesna tried to start the debate on the adoption of euro almost a year ago.

The obligation

Former Prime Minister and leader of SLD (S&D), Leszek Miller, has joined the discussion, hinting at the fact that Poland pledged to adopt the euro in its accession treaty. As he underlined, the treaty was accepted in a country-wide referendum, which means that when it comes to euroisation “only dates and conditions are up to debate”.

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