“I am following this over-simplified [presidential candidates’] debate over the euro with some sorrow,” Aleksander Kwaśniewski, a former president, told the TVN broadcaster.
However, Kwaśniewski highlighted that entering the eurozone would be not only be good for Poland's economy, but also its politics. “Poles deserve a serious debate on the issue.”
Kwaśniewski, who was president between 1995 and 2005, said that the decision should be given to Poles themselves in a referendum.
A long way to go
“According to the [Polish] constitution, the złoty is our national currency. Changing the constitution is a two-step process,” Kwaśniewski explained.
“I have such a proposal: that over the next few years we conduct a debate, expressing all our opinions, pros and cons, of introducing the euro, and organise a referendum on the issue.
“Such a referendum would be binding for all the members of the parliament. If the Polish people were to vote that they want the euro [currency] – I’m not saying it this would happen over the next 12-18 months, but such a referendum could happen over the next 2-3 years – all political camps would be forced to accept the free will of the people.”
The issue has been at forefront of the campaign by conservative presidential candidate Andrzej Duda, from the Law and Justice (PiS) party, who says that his rival, Bronisław Komorowski would introduce the euro if he were to be reelected president.
To this effect, Duda has recently set up a fictitious shop, Bronko-Market, to illustrate his point that everyday items, like apples and meat would become much more expensive if the euro is introduced in Poland.
For his part, Komorowski has expressed his support for the European common currency, but the issue was not a major one of his campaign.
Still a minority
On Monday, former Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said that he is “one hundred percent certain” that Poland will not enter the eurozone “during the next presidential term.”
“First of all, for Poland to enter [the eurozone], it would have to change its constitution. I cannot imagine a situation where […] PiS commanded 33 percent of the seats in parliament,” Rostowski said.
Changes to the constitution need to be approved by two-thirds of the Sejm lower house of Parliament, the British-educated Rostowski told TVN.
“[The ruling] Civic Platform party is not in any hurry to adopt the currency,” Rostowski said, adding that he was one of the first to state several times between 2009 and 2012 that the eurozone was in very bad state.
“Today it is in a slightly better shape, but it still has a lot of work ahead of it,” Rostowski said. (rg)