Poland Is ‘Hostage to Europe’: Finance Minister
Associate Editor, CNBC
Despite bucking the economic gloom of the euro zone in recent years, Poland's Finance Minister warned that the region's debt crisis could derail the economic strides made by the country.
"Forty percent of our GDP is exports and we are well aware of being hostage to Europe but we have proved as in 2009 when we were the only country in Europe to not suffer a recession despite very strong headwinds, that we have a remarkably resilient economy, there's an innate strength," Jacek Rostowski told CNBC.
Growth in the country is expected to slow to 2 percent this year from 4.3 percent last year.
"Next years' growth will be in line with our expectations and [we] expect a slow start to 2013 and a recovery in the second half of 2013," he said.
His Treasury Ministry has downgraded the forecast for growth in 2013 from 2.9 percent to 2.2 percent.
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Rostowski added that Poland had managed to escape the worst of the financial crisis but European policymakers ineptitude had inevitably led to a slowdown in Poland.
"The slowdown this year is the result of major policy error in the last two years [and] a failure to get a grip with the euro zone crisis. There were changes over the summer with the commitment of the European Central Bank to make sure the euro zone does not break up and the acceptance of that by Germany mean that the catastrophic scenario that has been driving the downturn is off," he said.
He added that as a "Grexit" was now a marginal call rather than a mainstream view, a recovery was just months away.
"With that off the table, we have every reason to suppose that there will be stabilization within the euro zone in the second part of 2013 and recovering and accelerating growth in Poland." "In the five years of crisis we have succeeded very well against slowing the economy down too much while trying to meet the EU deficit target."
The finance minister said Poland had experienced the fastest cumulative economic growth of 18 percent over the five years of the crisis between 2007 and 2012.
"We have managed to achieve in the last two years the fastest fiscal consolidation with the exception of three countries which are in programs with the EU and IMF," Rostowski said.
"We're reducing our fiscal deficit by well over 4 percentage points of GDP. We have managed to find the right formula that's needed to combine growth with fiscal responsibility and we'll continue to do that over the next few years."
-By CNBC's Shai Ahmed, Follow her on Twitter @shaicnbc