Official: Poland to be ready for euro in 4 years
WARSAW, Poland—Poland will be ready to adopt the euro in four years, but will only do so if certain reforms are in place and if membership in the eurozone serves Poland's interests, the foreign minister said Friday.
Radek Sikorski also reiterated a call to Germany to take a leading role in solving the crisis gripping Europe, echoing remarks he made earlier this week that attracted much attention.
"We are calling on Germany to take responsibility and save the euro zone," Sikorski said in an interview on a private radio station, TOK FM. "Without them, the euro zone cannot be saved, and the situation in the euro zone is dramatically important."
He said new austerity measures announced by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk last month are aimed at helping Poland meet the criteria for joining the common European currency during the current term of parliament, which ends in 2015.
He stressed, though, that entering the eurozone will only happen if "the eurozone is reformed by then and it the entrance is beneficial to us."
His comments Friday came after a speech in Berlin on Monday during which he called on strong German leadership to solve the crisis gripping the continent, an unprecedented call from an official in a country invaded by Nazi Germany 72 years ago.
"I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is," Sikorski said in his Berlin speech. "I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity. . . The biggest threat to the security and prosperity of Poland would be the collapse of the eurozone."
A leading opposition party, Law and Justice, has accused Sikorski of treason for his remarks, and is planning measures against him, including a protest march on Dec. 13 and a confidence vote in parliament. A member of that party, Joachim Brudzinski, said Sikorski "wants the Fourth Reich."
Sikorski defended himself against such accusations Friday by saying that a stronger EU also benefits Poland. He said he wants a strongly integrated EU of which Poland is one of the most powerful members, rather than a marginal player.
EU membership is hugely popular in Poland. The economy has boomed since it joined the bloc in 2004 and the relationship with Europe is seen as an bulwark against a still-feared Russia.