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Poles will have to okay eurozone entry: minister

28 march 2013, 18:11
0
Poland's Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski. ©REUTERS/Peter Andrews
Poland's Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski. ©REUTERS/Peter Andrews
Poles will have to okay eurozone entry in a referendum, echoing the prime minister's recent endorsement of a public vote on joining the unpopular currency union, AFP reports citing a senior minister.

"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 late Wednesday.

"On the other hand, it would be unwise to organise a referendum which would require a 50-percent turnout and 50-percent approval to allow entry", he added.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday raised for the first time the idea of a binding referendum on the eurozone.

He made the proposal as a fresh survey showed 62 percent of Poles opposed adopting Europe's debt-laden single currency.

The ex-communist 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.

But Warsaw had adopted a wait-and-see approach to swapping its zloty for the euro as the 17-member currency bloc tries to resolve its protracted debt crisis.

An emerging economy, Poland has maintained growth each year since it shed communism two decades ago. It is the only member of the 27-state EU to have done so through both the global financial and eurozone crises.

Analysts have pointed out that the free-floating zloty, which slumped sharply against both the euro and dollar when the financial crisis hit, buoyed exports as recession bit elsewhere.

Poland's large internal market and an influx of EU subsidies have so far kept economic contraction at bay.

Although adamant Poland must join the euro to avoid being pushed to Europe's economic periphery, Tusk's centrist government has put off practical steps towards joining the euro until after elections in 2015.

Since the conservative opposition stands against the European currency, the government lacks the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to make the constitutional change to adopt it.

It is in this context Tusk said Tuesday he would favour a parliamentary manoeuvre that would allow Poland to settle the eurozone decision through a referendum.

"And that's for an obvious reason: fewer votes are needed to win a referendum," he said, as a poll showed just 32 percent of Poles would endorse the euro now.

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