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03/12/2016

More than 76% of Poles oppose the euro

Central Europe

More than 76% of Poles oppose the euro

Euro coins and banknotes. [Shutterstock]

More than 76% of Poles oppose joining the euro, a poll showed yesterday (21 October), suggesting there is little prospect that central and eastern Europe’s largest economy will join the common currency soon.

President Bronis?aw Komorowski, a proponent of euro zone membership, said on Monday that Poland should decide on its path towards euro accession following national elections in 2015.

Market research company GfK said 38% of Poles it surveyed between 2 and 5 October were “decisively” against adopting the euro, with another 38% leaning against membership.

Only 3% of Poles were “decisively” in favour of joining, with 15% leaning in favour, the poll showed.

GfK said the opposition to euro adoption ran across all social groups and political affiliations among the representative group of 1,020 Poles surveyed.

“In most age, education, employment status and city size groups, euro adoption opponents dominate and their share amounts to between 70 and 80%,” GfK said.

Poland is obliged by the terms under which it joined the European Union in 2004 to adopt the single currency in time.

That would require a change in the constitution, which now enshrines the zloty as Poland’s national currency

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz’s centre-right government does not have the two-thirds majority in parliament it would need to push through such a change, and the poll suggests any political party advocating euro could have a hard time finding voter support.

Kopacz said at the start of October that besides Poland needing to meet the technical criteria for euro entry, the euro zone, which is struggling with low growth and inflation after a prolonged debt crisis, needed to show it was stable. 

Background

The euro was established by the provisions in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. The name euro was officially adopted on 16 December 1995. The euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit (ECU). Euro coins and banknotes entered circulation on 1 January 2002.

With Latvia joining the Eurozone on 1 January 2014, eighteen member states and 333 million Europeans share the same currency.

 Of the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004, Slovenia was the first to adopt the euro in 2007, followed by Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011 and Latvia in 2014.

Of the 2004-2007-2013 enlargements the countries still to join the euro are Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. Lithuania is set to join on 1 January 2015.