When will Poland join the euro area?

Poland: Euro introduction realistic in 2017 at the earliest

The eurozone countries are Poland's most important trading partners. In 2012, Polish exports worth 73 billion euros went to the euro zone - a good half of the country's total exports. "With the euro, economic growth and foreign investments could increase even further," says Agnieszka Łada, visiting scholar at the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP). "Politically, too, quick accession is important for Poland, because the important decisions in the EU are now made by the Eurogroup."

Majority in the population is dwindling / opposition parties are divided

But support for the common currency is waning among the Poles. It is currently 30 percent. The majority fear negative effects on personal finances and the national budget. The national-conservative opposition is reinforcing these fears with its Euro-critical stance. The largest opposition party, Law and Justice, is calling for a referendum. On the other hand, the government of Prime Minister Tusk believes that Poland already agreed to join the euro zone with the referendum on EU accession in June 2003.

A constitutional amendment is also necessary for accession, for which 307 of the 460 parliamentarians of the Sejm would have to vote. The coalition currently has 235 votes, 68 more could come from left opposition parties and members of the German minority. The required two-thirds majority is still out of reach.

Accession is realistic in 2017 at the earliest / Brussels and Berlin should support Poland more consistently

A constitutional change in the legislative period that runs until 2015 is therefore unlikely. Since Poland has to prove a stable exchange rate for two years after a change, political scientist Agnieszka Łada believes Poland's entry into the euro zone is realistic in 2017 at the earliest. She expects the European actors to actively promote the country's early entry into the euro zone. “Poland's introduction of the euro has advantages for both sides. These are completely lost in the current debate, ”she says. Brussels and Berlin should make it clear that they want to see Warsaw in the euro area as soon as possible. "Such commitments are recognized in Poland and strengthen the euro-friendly actors."

In order to relieve the strong Polish economy during the transition, the two-year stay in Exchange Rate Mechanism II should also be shortened. With this, the expert joins a demand made by the Polish National Bank. “These rules may have made sense 20 years ago. Today they pose a threat to the Polish economy and the stability of the entire euro area, ”Łada said. "Even if some hurdles still have to be overcome, the EU should use the opportunity to usher in a new era in the history of the euro zone with Poland."

Agnieszka Łada heads the Europe program of the Institute for Public Affairs in Warsaw. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Future Issues of the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP).