Poland president says no euro entry decision before 2015 ballots

WARSAW Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:48am GMT

President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar

President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland should not decide whether to adopt the euro until after elections in 2015, President Bronislaw Komorowski said, signalling the country's current government should not set a deadline for membership.

Poland, which joined the European Union in 2004, is obliged to adopt the euro at some point in the future.

"Poland should launch the decision process (on euro adoption) after parliamentary and presidential elections in 2015," Komorowski told public broadcaster TVP1 late on Monday.

For the time being it should focus on meeting the criteria for euro adoption, he added.

In December, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a close political ally of Komorowski, raised the prospect of relaunching the bid for adoption soon, saying Poland would otherwise risk being consigned to the European Union's periphery.

Poland is determined to join the front rank of EU decision-makers, and many in the government believe euro membership has become a prerequisite for that.

But recent polls show that less than a third of Poles support abandoning the zloty in favour of the battered common currency. Poland also needs to change its constitution to adopt the euro and chances of that happening during this parliament are slim.

Also last month, Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said the country should join the euro zone as soon as possible, though not until it was safe and beneficial.

Furthermore, the central bank believes the government's drive for an early entry to the euro poses needless risks for the economy, which could complicate the government's bid to rally support for its policy.

The EU's seventh largest economy, Poland currently does not meet any of the convergence criteria for joining the euro. It remains under the EU's excessive deficit procedure that Warsaw hopes to be lifted by the European Commission this year.

The president said that Poland should focus on meeting the entry criteria "not only because we would like to be in the euro zone, because these decisions we may take later, but because it is good for the Polish economy."

Under the country's constitution, it would be difficult for the government to adopt the euro without the president's approval.

(Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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