Poland to hold referendum on euro

Poland has stated its intention to hold a eurozone referendum in 2010. At the same time, the government has rejected criticism over its budget deficit.

Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska said on 10 November 2006 that Poland intends to meet the euro criteria by 2009 and hold a referendum in 2010. She was confident that President Lech Kaczynski would convince Poles to opt for the common currency the same year as Poland holds presidential elections.

With its accession in 2004, Poland agreed to adopt the euro as soon as possible, provided that it fulfils the convergence criteria for joining. On 10 November 2006, Gilowska rejected the Commission’s criticism of Poland for not keeping its budget deficit in line with the convergence criteria. She expects budget deficit to be at 3.5% of GDP in 2007, only 0.5% higher than set out by the stability pact rules, whereas the Commission expects deficit to reach 4% of GDP.

Gilowska said: “We are having difficulties convincing the EU that our finances are much better than expected. It’s hard for me to understand why the good news is not being acknowledged.”

The Commission will decide on 14 November on the measures it takes following Poland’s excessive budget deficit. The Council is expected to take a decision on the Commission’s recommendation on 28 November 2006.

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