Up the Down Staircase of the Eurozone

In more counter-intutitive news, just as citizens of Cyprus mull the mixed blessings of membership in the Eurozone, Poland’s leadership is trying to join the club, as the FT’s Jan Cienski reports:

Donald Tusk, Poland’s prime minister, took a big political gamble on Tuesday when he opened the door to a referendum on joining the euro, in the face of strong public opposition to the common currency.

The move is part of a campaign to prepared Poland to begin the final stages of accession to the single currency by 2015. Mr Tusk had previously opposed a public vote, arguing that Poles had already bound themselves to the euro when they voted in 2003 to join the EU.

Far from representing confidence in the popularity for the euro, Tusk’s proposal was in fact required by opposition parties who demanded it in exchange for corresponding constitutional changes that would be needed if the referendum passes. That will take some serious persuasion, though:

The crisis in the eurozone has hit support for the euro – the latest opinion survey shows 62 per cent of Poles are opposed to joining, with scepticism increasing markedly since the financial and debt crises hit Europe five years ago.

Still, the bright glittering dream of full membership in Europe shines on:

With Cyprus just the latest in a long series of eurozone economies to fall into crisis, Mr Tusk admitted “the climate for the euro is not good in Poland”, but stressed that by the end of the decade, “being in the euro will mean being in the European Union”.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.