WARSAW Poland is drafting a timetable for joining the euro and its economy will be ready for accession in 2015, President Bronislaw Komorowski was quoted as saying on Monday, a major vote of confidence in Europe's struggling single currency.
The comments by Komorowski were the strongest indication yet that policymakers in Poland, eastern Europe's biggest economy, were seriously considering a swift entry to the euro even though the euro zone is in the grip of a debt crisis.
"(Poland) is preparing an action plan that will be unveiled as a calendar for Polish preparations to enter the euro zone at the right moment," the official PAP news agency quoted Komorowski as saying on a visit to Italy.
"I am convinced we will achieve this ability of the Polish economy in 2015," he said.
He did not give a date when Poland would actually join the European Union's single currency. Even the most enthusiastic supporters of membership in Poland say the earliest it could realistically join is 2016.
They argue that the euro zone first needs to stabilise after the debt crisis that has afflicted it. The entry rules anyway require a country to wait two years after its economy meets the accession criteria.
Komorowski is, according to government insiders, keener on quick euro entry than a number of people inside the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Nevertheless, his remarks about a timetable being prepared were significant. Poland's government has shied away from committing to any dates after a previous deadline for entry was blown off course by the global financial crisis.
Analysts say that Polish policymakers are shedding their doubts about early entry because they realise Poland can only realise its ambition of being at the heart of European decision-making if it is inside the single currency.
Poland has already committed itself to eventually joining the euro, but without a date. Komorowski acknowledged there were obstacles to overcome before Poland could join.
"It will be easier to make this decision when the euro zone heals itself," he was quoted as saying.
"Today, public opinion fears entering the euro zone because it is picking up negative signals. We have to work on this opinion and on the euro zone itself."
(Reporting by Maciej Onoszko; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Kevin Liffey)