Belka Said Summoned by Tusk to Discuss Polish Euro Entry

Polish central bank Governor Marek Belka has been summoned to discuss the nation’s euro-entry preparations with Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s economic advisory council, three government officials said.

The meeting, the first of its kind since Belka became governor in 2010, is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Warsaw-based central bank, according to the officials, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t yet public. The talks come a day before President Bronislaw Komorowski is due to meet with government members to discuss Poland’s strategy for joining the 17-nation euro area.

Tusk’s government has been pressuring the Narodowy Bank Polski to lower borrowing costs to spur growth in the European Union’s largest eastern economy. The central bank, the only one in the EU to raise interest rates last year, has cut its benchmark by 1 percentage point since November as falling consumption and exports to the euro area slow the expansion.

Policy maker Anna Zielinska-Glebocka said she’d back a rate cut in March after a report showed Polish inflation slowed to 1.7 percent in January, the weakest since 2007. “There’s definitely more room to ease monetary policy,” she said in an interview on TVN CNBC today.

Poland reignited its euro-entry bid on Jan. 24 when Finance Minister Jacek Rostowksi said in a Bloomberg interview that the nation’s resolve to switch currencies had strengthened amid signs the worst of the debt crisis was over. Poland’s path to euro is “clear” and involves a period of “years, not months,” Tusk said at a press conference in Warsaw yesterday.

The zloty weakened more than 0.2 percent against the euro today after news of the Feb. 18 meeting, trading at 4.1861 at 11:02 a.m. in Warsaw. The currency was down 0.1 percent at 4.1807 per euro as of 4:59 p.m. in the Polish capital.

Poland pledged to eventually adopt the euro when it entered the EU in 2004 along with former communist nations the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Baltic countries. Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia have adopted the currency, while Latvia plans to join next year and Lithuania’s new government on Jan. 25 pledged to seek entry in 2015.

“Being in the euro strengthens a country economically and politically,” provided “it joins when it’s truly well prepared, when it has a truly flexible economy and labor market,” Rostowski said at a conference in London today. “We want to join the euro, but we want to join when our homework has been done.”

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