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Euro not so attractive for us anymore: Polish finmin

Warsaw Old Town, Poland
Mehmet Kaman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Warsaw Old Town, Poland

Once upon a time, it looked likely that Poland would eventually join the 19-country euro zone.Yet over a decade after the Eastern European country joined the European Union in 2004, Poland is doing just fine.

Arguably, the country is doing better than if it had joined the the single currency—something Poland's top finance official hastened to point out on Saturday as a reason to stay on the sidelines.

"The balance of risks and benefits (of joining the euro) has changed," Poland's finance minister Mateusz Szczurek told CNBC Saturday.

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Speaking from the meeting of European finance ministers in Luxembourg, the official said that his country may "need to calculate more on what needs to be done before Poland considers joining the euro zone."

Indeed, Poland is one of Europe's fastest growing economies, expanding at a rate of 3.4 percent in 2014. This year, the European Commission forecasts Poland's gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 3.3 percent, while it expects the euro zone to see 1.5 percent GDP growth.

Not a 'quick upgrade' anymore

Such statistics, coupled with crises affecting euro zone countries like Greece, have made joining the single currency not as attractive as it once seemed for the Poles.

It has also made membership an increasingly tough sell to make to the country's population. A June poll in by research firm TNS Poland showed that half of Poles have a negative opinion of the euro and suggested a growing number of euro skeptics.

Poland first joined the European Union in 2004 and had aspirations to join the then-fledgling and crisis-free euro zone. More than a decade on, in which the bloc has been buffeted by financial crises and political gridlock, Poland appears well placed outside the euro zone.

"In 2004 when Poland was joining the EU, the strength and maturity of the Polish economy compared to the euro zone was completely different—at that time it looked like a nice, quick upgrade to a developed market status," Szczurek said.

However, "at this time we have made the way already, while the euro zone itself has diminished in terms of attractiveness, so the balance of pros and cons has shifted," he said.

Before, Poland would have to fulfil certain budgetary criteria before joining the euro. Now, the minister told CNBC that the euro zone would have to evolve in order for Poland to sign up and say goodbye to its zloty.

"First of all, after the years of crisis in the euro zone, we need to have a mechanism to counter-balance the lack of interest rate and exchange rate flexibility," he said. That means "much more fiscal room for maneuver —lower public debt, lower deficit—to react to business environment changes that are not symmetric within the euro zone," he added.

Szczurek said: "The key is to make sure this is beneficial for everyone, and if it's going to strengthen the economy and improve stability then it's good."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld