WARSAW — Poland should focus on meeting financial criteria to join the euro bloc by 2015 and only then decide whether to adopt the single currency, national leaders said Tuesday.
President Bronislaw Komorowski said the effort to meet conditions for the European Union's common currency — such as low inflation and debt — would boost Poland's economy and make it competitive.
It is crucial to have wide public support for the effort and to convince Poles that joining the euro would be a good thing, he said at a special meeting with the Cabinet of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Tusk stressed that Poland was "resolute" in its commitment to join the euro, but that it should take the step at the right time. Were the government to try to rush to meet the financial criteria, it may have to take abrupt measures to control inflation and debt that could hurt economic growth in the short-term.
According to Komorowski, trying to set the adoption date now would be "political hocus-pocus."
The meeting was a key step in kindling public debate over euro adoption, for which there is expected to be a national referendum. Last week, lawmakers approved the EU's fiscal compact, a set of rules that will limit public debt in the eurozone. The compact affects only the 17 euro zone members, but the vote indicated that Poland wants to have a say in EU matters.
Komorowski will continue to consult with the National Bank of Poland and the main political forces on the single currency issues. The decision on whether to adopt the euro is due to come after parliamentary and presidential elections, scheduled for 2015.
An EU member since 2004, Poland still uses its local currency, the zloty.