No need for vote on euro, says Polish PM

 

POLISH PRIME minister Donald Tusk has said he sees no reason to hold a referendum on the country's adoption of the euro.

Mr Tusk, who favours adopting the single currency as early as 2012, said the unclear intentions of the main opposition party made such a poll risky.

"I don't see any reason why we should hold a national referendum on euro-zone accession," said Mr Tusk. "It's like asking whether we still want to be in the EU. A referendum on the euro took place together with the EU accession one." Swapping the zloty for the euro will require a constitutional amendment and Mr Tusk's government is dependent on opposition votes for the necessary two-thirds parliamentary majority.

He is unlikely to get those votes from the main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party. Its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has criticised Mr Tusk's remarks on a referendum, saying the prime minister "wants to take decisions crucial for Polish society above the heads of that society".

Mr Tusk said a referendum would give rise to more questions than answers, such as whether voters should be asked to decide on a year, month or day for adoption of the single currency.

The PiS party wants a referendum on the final date of euro accession while the ruling Civic Platform (PO) wants a referendum only after the constitutional amendment, preferably in the coming months, before Poland joins the euro "waiting room" or exchange rate mechanism.

"If PiS is opposed to our euro-zone accession in a foreseeable future, let them say so clearly," said Mr Tusk. "And then we'll wait until a constitutional majority emerges in parliament."

Poland is not scheduled to hold another general election until 2011.

A newspaper poll this week showed 65 per cent support for adopting the euro, up from 54 per cent in June.

Some 70 per cent favoured deciding the matter by referendum, down nine points.

In the past six months, the zloty lost 30 per cent of its value against the single currency.

Yesterday a leading board member of the Polish central bank called for decisions on the euro to be postponed until the current economic volatility had passed.