Polish govt ready to reconsider euro target date-PM

16:28, 20 November 2008
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Tusk`s centre-right...

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk signalled on Thursday he might be ready to push back the country`s planned euro zone entry beyond 2012 but insisted the project was still crucial, according to Reuters via guardian.co.uk.

Tusk`s centre-right government faces an uphill struggle to meet the 2012 target date because the eurosceptic main opposition party refuses to cooperate in changing Poland`s constitution, a crucial legal step for euro adoption.

"We want to discuss the (euro zone entry) date... I`m not doctrinaire but let`s not scrap the whole project," Tusk told parliament in an address marking the first anniversary of his government.

Tusk argues the financial crisis now buffeting the global economy is a reason for swift euro adoption as this would provide greater stability for Poland`s economy, but the opposition strongly disagrees.

"You won`t convince us that in times of crisis Poland needs to adopt the euro because this is a policy ... against investment and fast growth," said Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party.

PiS says early euro adoption will require higher interest rates to meet tough EU criteria on inflation, depressing the economy at a time when it in fact needs lower borrowing costs to help avert a recession.

Tusk said he would discuss euro adoption with members of the central bank`s Monetary Policy Council (MPC) on Thursday.

He added that his pro-market government`s policies should help cushion Poland from the effects of the global financial crisis by bolstering investor confidence.

Among government reforms now in the pipeline is a plan to shake up the pension system by slashing the number of people able to take early retirement to 240,000 from 1.2 million now.

But trade unions and PiS strongly oppose the plan. Dozens of workers staged a protest outside parliament on Thursday against the reform plan.

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