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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Poles go cold on the euro

In our daily press summary this morning we covered an interesting Polish CBOS opinion poll which found that support for eurozone membership had fallen to an all time low: only 32% of respondents declared themselves in favour, compared with 60% against. Over the past decade therefore support for joining the euro has halved; an all time high of 64% was recorded in July 2002. Given that the stated goal of the Polish government is to join in the euro in the next few years – indeed it is bound by the EU Treaties to join at some point in the future – the rising public opposition is significant.

However the poll also had a number of other interesting findings which are worth highlighting:
  • 42% support Poland’s accession to the intergovernmental ‘fiscal treaty’ vs. 35% against
  • 57% are opposed to Poland lending an additional €6.3bn to the IMF to possibly support vulnerable eurozone members vs. 32% in favour
  • 62% believe that further European integration would be beneficial for Poland vs. 26% who believe otherwise
  • 81% believe EU membership is beneficial for Poland vs. 12% who believe otherwise
Clearly a bit of a mixed bag with the strong opposition to contributing to the IMF for the purposes of bolstering the eurozone showing the limits of the ‘European Solidarity’ that Polish politicians often espouse.

The poll result could serve as another reminder to those who argue that the euro is an integral and necessary component of the EU and further integration, and that rejecting the euro would signal the death knell for the European project as a whole. Ultimately this poll and other like it are good news for supporters of a more flexible EU arrangement, where countries can integrate more closely together if they wish, but can also remain outside of some common structures – such as the single currency.

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