Both Euroland and all the European Union countries waited impatiently for the results of Sunday referendum in Greece. It were citizens who were to decide whether they seek agreement with the creditors, which might result in more austerity measures, or they say no and lend support to negotiating better conditions, which, in turn, may lead to the Eurozone exit and return to drachma. The latter option was strongly promoted by Prime Minister Aleksis Cipras, who persuaded his compatriots that there is an opportunity to negotiate better conditions. The final results demonstrate a strong position of the ruling Syriza.
Poland reacted to Greeks’ decision with no big emotions. Yet, the situation in Greece has become an ideal topic for the Polish political parties that, given the autumn parliamentary elections, try to discredit opponents by proving that it is them who may lead to the bankruptcy of Poland. So, this is what Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, the leader of Civic Platform, a ruling party, said about the main project offered by Law and Justice, an opposition party, i.e. revocation of the regulation raising the retirement age introduced in 2012: “ If someone tries to undermine the stability of public finances by populism, I am going to ask: do you want to have another Greece in Poland? I am not going to allow it. There will be no another Greece in Poland.” On the other hand, Beata Szydło, who is the candidate for prime minister designated by Law and Justice, presented a list of priorities of her party, which included possible longest postponing the Eurozone entry. This is what she said: “Civic Platform politicians […] claim that Poland needs euro and this is the road Poland wants to go. I would like to appeal to you – abandon this bad idea if we do not want to make this country another Greece.” Thus, Szydło declared that one of her first decisions she would make as the Prime Minister would be the liquidation of the office of the government’s plenipotentiary for the introduction of euro in Poland. The threat of “Greek scenario” is one of the primary tools used to attack political opponents.
Yet, the statements made by Polish politicians prove a significant drop in trust in euro and diminishing willingness to join Euroland. Certainly, one of the causes is the Greek crisis. Politicians’ attitude toward euro also divides Polish society. According to a recent surveys, 46 per cent of respondents would never agree on euro; 23 per cent said they would agree to adopt euro in 5 years, and 21 per cent – in 10 years. So far any discussions about euro adoption in Poland have only been purely theoretical as the country does not meet conditions necessary to join Eurozone. Yet, the opinion prevails that the change of currency would lead to impoverishment of a large number of people, a rise in prices and would pose a threat to businessmen.
Economists reassure that the situation in Greece will not directly impact Polish economy as the links between these markets are insignificant and Poland is not a Eurozone member. And Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said: – We are safe nowadays. Yesterday I talked with the Economic Council members as well as independent experts. We have financial reserves and financial instruments, including the long-term ones, which will enable us to maintain stability of zloty. Yet, the Grexit scenario may contribute to the rise in the value of Swiss franc, euro, and dollar, which may impact the value of bank loan instalments paid by thousands of Poles. On the other hand, Greece is still a popular destination in summer – every third Pole planning holidays through the travel office chooses this country.