Poles, Slovaks to Jointly Bid for 2022 Olympics as Growth Slows

Poland and Slovakia agreed to file a joint bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to share costs and boost economic growth amid government austerity measures sparked by Europe’s debt crisis.

Slovakia would organize alpine skiing and ice hockey events, while the Polish city of Krakow would act as the main center of the games, Slovak Premier Robert Fico and his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk said after a meeting of ministers of from the two countries.

The bid comes at a time when a worsening outlook for economic growth is reducing room for fiscal stimulus in the region as both countries seek to meet the European Union’s budget-deficit limit as early as this year. Hurt by the debt crisis, Poland is battling its worst economic performance in more than a decade, while Slovak economic growth is set to slow to 0.7 percent this year from 2 percent in 2012.

“I believe this will be a financially viable project,” Fico said at a joint press conference with Tusk today in the mountain town of Poprad, Slovakia. “We shouldn’t drop our ambitions just because there is a crisis in the euro zone.”

Poland, the largest eastern EU member, can draw from its experience of co-hosting the European soccer championship last year with Ukraine, Tusk said. Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million people, about one-seventh of Poland’s population, is counting on its skiing resorts including Jasna, which is operated by Tatry Mountain Resort AS, and its hosting of the 2011 world ice hockey championships to support the bid.

The prime ministers declined to elaborate on the costs of hosting the games. A document discussed by the Slovak Cabinet earlier this month put the preliminary estimate at about $2 billion, of which between 20 percent and 30 percent would be borne by Slovakia.

The two countries would submit the joint bid to the International Olympic Committee in October, according to the preliminary schedule released by the Slovak administration. The IOC is expected to create a shortlist of applicants by June next year and pick the host city in 2015.

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