Lemming Watch

by Andrew Stuttaford

Plus royaliste que le roi, Poland’s europhile foreign minister salutes Latvia’s plans to adopt the euro (if all goes according to schedule) on January 1, 2014.

LETA reports:

RIGA, Feb 13 (LETA) – During a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) in Riga today, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said that Latvia’s example in introducing the European single currency will be very important for Warsaw, and that Poland is ‘’crossing its fingers’’ for the process to be a success for Latvia.

’’Seeing that you will join the euro-zone will become an important indicator and argument in our public debates. We are keeping our fingers crossed for you and we support you. I hope that you will be successful, because this would mean hope for our success would also increase,’’ the Polish foreign minister said.

This, I am afraid, is nuts. There are some reasonably respectable arguments in favor of Latvia taking up the single currency, but they relate primarily to the very high percentage of foreign-currency borrowing by Latvian households, the small size of the country’s economy, and the low value that Latvia adds to its (important) export sector. To suggest that Latvia could represent any sort of precedent for Poland, a far larger and very different economy undergoing a massive (and encouraging) transformation that has clearly benefited from the retention of its own currency, is nonsense.

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