The Corner

Good News (Possibly) from Poland

Whatever you may think of the euro, there is no doubt that its adoption by a country represents a dramatic shift in its political order and, quite possibly, wrenching structural, economic and budgetary change. That’s why it is essential that the single currency’s introduction  has as much democratic buy-in as possible. That’s not going to happen in Latvia, but there are encouraging signs that it may in Poland:

Reuters reports:

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk opened the door on Tuesday to a popular vote on joining the euro, with surveys showing most of the country’s 38 million population would vote no. Tusk had previously shied away from a referendum on the single currency, which the Poles are obliged to adopt under EU membership, but has had to agree to a formal vote in exchange for necessary changes to the country’s constitution.

“I would be in favor of reaching an agreement to change the constitution, where there would be a referendum about joining (the euro zone),” Tusk told a news conference.

Recent polls suggest a large majority of those in what is by far the European Union’s largest eastern member state, oppose joining the euro zone, put off by four years of turmoil that has crushed economies in Greece, Spain and others. Tusk’s government holds a slim majority in the parliament and would need the support of the rightist Law and Justice (PiS) party to reach the two-thirds in the lower house required to change the constitution to swap zlotys for euros.  PiS has previously said it would oppose the euro adoption without a referendum.  Officials have previously said they would focus on meeting euro entry criteria and would only set an official date after the 2015 general election. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the European Union’s largest eastern economy to adopt the euro in 2019.

Let’s be clear. It would be nuts for Poland to join the euro now, and it would be nuts for it to join the euro in 2019. It would be economic lunacy, a hammer blow to Poland’s proudly regained independence and an insult to its hard-won democracy. But if Poland’s leaders wish to lead its people off this particular cliff, they should have the decency, and the political sense, to ask for their approval first.

As it happens, it’s much easier to make a case for Latvian accession to the single currency (scheduled for January 1, 2014), if not the pace at which it is being put through. Latvia should still have a referendum though.

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More