Zlot za sreću (i rast) • Złoty for luck (and growth)

Vijest u znaku koje je trebalo da bude protekla sedmica, no o kojoj su vodeći evropski mediji izuzetno skromno izvještavali je svrstavanje prve članice nekadašnjeg Istočnog bloka, Poljske, u kategoriju razvijenih zemalja prema FTSE Russell indeksu, čime se našla u grupi 25 najmoćnijih svjetskih ekonomija.

Poljsku su, za razliku od većine evropskih zemalja, tokom protekle decenije, obilježene izbijanjem globalne ekonomske krize i nikada u potpunosti završenim oporavkom, pratili intenzivan ekonomski rast, jačanje bankarskog sektora i stabilnost javnih finansija. Za ovu zemlju od XVI vijeka, odnosno zlantnog doba tokom kojeg se njena teritorija prostirala od Baltičkog pa skoro do Crnog mora, u istoriji nije bilo većeg blagostanja od onog koje pokazuju ekonomski indikatori posljednjih nekoliko godina.

Zamjerke bi se nesumnjivo mogle uputiti na račun demokratskih procesa u Poljskoj, budući da ne samo da su uslijedlie zamjerke zbog ustavnih reformi, nego je i Evropska komisija tužila tu zemlju Sudu Evropske unije zbog reforme Vrhovnog suda, uz stav da nakon reforme ta sudska institucija neće biti nezavisna od zakonodavne i izvršne vlasti. Uprkos prijetnjama evropskim sankcijama u Poljskoj je prošle sedmice imenovano deset novih sudija vrhovnog suda u novoosnovani savjet, za koji mnogi vjeruju da bi se mogao iskoristiti za borbu protiv sudija koji kritikuju vladajuću elitu.

No, priča koja se plasira kao udarac na temelje evropske demokratije doprla je do centralnih informativnih emisija i naslovnih strana dnevnih listova, dok su na vijest o nalaženju na listi razvijenih zemalja mogli nabasati tek oni koji su se uglavnom malo duže zadržali čitajući sadržaj britanskih medija koji su u jeku priče o brexitu svrstani u one koji otvoreno promovišu prednosti istupanja Velike Britanije iz Evropske unije.

Ono što je, međutim, lajtmotiv u reakcijama na pozitivne vijesti o ekonomskim dešavanjima u toj zemlji je naglašavanje činjenice da Poljska nije članica eurozone. Uprkos postojanju brojnih drugih faktora koji doprinose stabilnosti javnih finansija u Poljskoj, monetarnom suverenitetu daje se poseban značaj.

Ova zemlja članica je Evropske unije od 1. maja 2004. godine, a proces koji je nazivan monetarnom integracijom, odnosno prilagođavanjem Mastrihtskim kriterijumima, mogao je biti okončan još 2011. ili, još vidljivije, 2015. da je raspoloženje za uvođenje eura bilo veće. To, međutim, nije bio razlog za prekid dugogodišnje debate da li Poljskoj treba euro ili je za nju bolje da zadrži nacionalnu valutu zlot, čija se jedna jedinica sada mijenja za nešto manje od četvrtine jednog eura.

Nakon niza poteza Evropske centralne banke iz kojih se od 2008. do danas vidjelo koliko je neuspjelih pokušaja oživljavanja tržišta sprovedeno kroz ni na čemu realnom utemeljene stimulanse i dalje se nije došlo do željene dinamike zdravog rasta stope inflacije, što je posebno ohrabrilo protivnike ideje o eurozoni. Ova monetarna unija, odnosno euro kao jedinstvena valuta, od starta je u dijelu stručne javnosti smatrana izvorem gorućih problema u sistemu koji nije u stanju da se istovremeno prilagođava i jakim i slabim ekonomija, a grčki scenario samo je potvrdio ovakve tvrdnje.

Štaviše, priča o visokim troškovima istupanja perifernih zemalja iz eurozone zapravo je odlično poslužila širokom političkom spektru od euroskeptika, preko konzervativaca u krizom najpogođenijim zemljama, do ekstremnih desničara širom EU da je stave u kontekst koji joj ne pripada, posebno za potrebe obesmišljavanja evropskih integracija onih zemalja kandidata koje imaju problem sa vladavinom prava.

Sa druge strane, eurozona danas predstavlja svjedočanstvo svih neuspjeha jednog monetarnog sistema koji je uslov ekonomske anemičnosti u postkriznom vremenu uslovljene monetarističkom dogmom da bi stavljanje različitih po veličini i fazi razvoja ekonomskih sistema u okrilje jedne centralne banke moglo nanijeti manje štete nego koristi većini obuhvaćenih subjekata.

Za Poljsku, zemlju čiji izvoz, posebno prehrambenih proizvoda, bilježi rast, sloboda da se utiče na kurs valute je neophodna, prije svega gledano iz ugla desetogodišnjih ekonomskih tokova, no u nekoliko navrata iznošenje ovakvih stavova rezultiralo je ngativnim komentarima na račun untarpolitičkih pitanja u Poljskoj upućenim sa njemačkih i francuskih adresa, kada je ova zemlja opominjana zbog narušavanja evropskih demokratskih vrijednosti.

Monetarna integracija nije nešto od čega se načelno bježalo. Ideja o jedinstvenoj valuti, koja datira još iz XIX vijeka kada ju je, u kontekstu priče o ujedinjenim evropskim državama promovisao Viktor Igo za zemlje koje su prihvatile približavanje kriterijumima konvergencije ni u startu nije izazivala otpor. Prvi signal tek je poslao tadašnji britanski premijer Toni Bler 1997. zahtjevom za pet vrsta testiranja ekonomskog i finansijskog okruženja, a samo tri godine kasnije u Danskoj je na referendumu odlučeno da se kruna zadrži kao nacionalna valuta. Danas se o prednostima eura, prihvaćenog 1999. te zvanično uvedenog u novčane tokove 2001. godine, za zemlje koje ga još ne koriste govori sa znatnom dozom nagađanja ili nedoumica, dok je priča o opasnostima realna i u nekim sistemima već viđena.

Brexitom narušeno pitanje opstanka EU uslovilo je vjerovanje da je budućnost te nadnacionalne zajednice u proširenju eurozone. Nesumnjivo je da bi se vjera u bolju evropsku budućnost podstakla kada bi Češka, Mađarska i Poljska prihvatile euro, no poljske vlasti su svjesne da bi efekti takvog slijeda događaja trajali koliko i oduševljenje  tom idejom. Sa druge strane, kao ključni argument za pristupanje eurozoni ova se opcija ističe kao jedina alternativa povećanom ruskom uticaju na privredna kretanja u Poljskoj.

Euro bi se u tom slučaju smatrao sredstvom za povećanje ekonomske efikasnosti, pod pretpostavkom da se zemlje korisnice jedne valute nalaze u sličnim fazama ekonomskog ciklusa, što u eurozoni ipak nije slučaj. Poljska, koja koristi sredstva evropskih fondova u vrijednosti od oko 100 milijardi eura za tekući šestogodišnji period, bez snage Unije ne bi imala ekonomske pokazatelje koji je sada čine jednom od najperspektivnijih evropskih zemalja i upravo taj podatak je kontraargument priči o odsustvu ključnih dodirnih tačaka sa ekonomijama eurozone.

Sa evropskih adresa su, naročito u svijetlu kritika na račun nedemokratskih dešavanja unutar zemlje, uslijedile najave da će korišćenje sredstava iz evropskih fondova biti drastično smanjeno nakon 2021. godine, prije svega u nastojanju da se utiče na prekompoziciju na političkoj sceni Poljske, gdje konzervativne struje dobijaju na popularnosti.

Omogućavanje zlotu da slobodno pliva u odnosu na euro uslovilo je porast poljskog izvoza, koji je omogućio jačanje ekonomije, no njemu je doprinio i niz drugih mjera, od kojih je najkontroverznija bila uvođenje poreza na bankarsku aktivu, potpuno suprotna spašavanju banaka novcem poreskih obveznika širom eurozone.

Stoga je i zagovaranje uvođenja eura bivalo sve blijeđe. Danas, kada se Poljska nalazi na listi razvijenih zemalja priča o tome da bi, kako se ranije tvrdio, euro svrstao tu zemlju u klub privilegovanih evropskih nacija potpuno gubi smisao, jer je ona, sa sve otvorenim unutrašnjim pitanjima na polju demokratije danas u klubu zemalja u kojem su SAD, Velika Britanija i Japan.

Svrstavanje među razvijene zemlje učiniće Poljsku primamljivijom investitorima — tačnije, onoliko primamljivijom koliko im je oslovanje na tržištu zemlje van eurozone primamljivo. Nivo investicija i tržišta sa kojih investitori budu dolazili pokazaće (ne)opravdanost korišćenja nacionalne valute, no kakvi god rezultati u narednih nekoliko godina budu vidljivi, mogućnost prelaska na euro ostaje, dok je za zemlje eurozone napuštanje jedinstvene valute u ovim uslovima doslovno neizvodljivo.

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The news that was supposed to be the last week’s highlight, though the leading European media reported very modestly about, was the classification of Poland, the first member of the former Eastern Bloc, into the category of developed countries according to the FTSE Russell Index, putting it in the group of 25 most powerful world economies.

Unlike most European countries, that seen the outbreak of the global economic crisis and never fully recovered, Poland had the intense economic growth, the strengthening of the banking sector and the stability of public finances. Since the 16th century, that is, the golden age when its territory ranged from the Baltic and almost to the Black Sea, there was no such a prosperity in history of Poland than the one that was shown in economic indicators in the last few years.

While the democratic processes in Poland could undoubtedly be questioned, since not only constitutional reforms were criticized, but the European Commission sued the country with the Court of Justice of the European Union due to the reform of the Supreme Court, with the view that after the reform this judicial institution will not be independent of the legislative and executive authorities. Despite threats to European sanctions in Poland last week, ten new Supreme Court judges were appointed in a newly-formed council, which many believe could be used to fight judges who criticize the ruling elites.

However, the story being put forward as a blow to the foundations of European democracy has reached the breaking news and cover pages of the daily newspapers, while the news of the placement on the list of developed countries could be found only by those who stayed a little longer reading the content of the British media that during brexit ware classified into those who openly promote the advantages of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

What is, however, a leitmotif in the reactions to the positive news of the economic developments in that country is keeping focus on the fact that Poland is not a member of the eurozone. Despite the existence of many other factors contributing to the stability of public finances in Poland, monetary sovereignty is given a certain kind of significance.

This country is a member of the European Union since May 1st 2004 and a process called monetary integration, that is, adapting to the Maastricht criteria, was supposed to be completed in 2011 or, more obviously, in 2015 if the willingness for the introduction of the euro was greater. This, however, was not a reason to terminate the long-standing debate whether Poland needs to accept the euro or it is better to keep its national currency, whose single unit is nowadays worth a quarter of one euro.

After a series of moves by the European Central Bank, where it was obvious how many unsuccessful attempts to revive the market have been realized through real-life stimulus since 2008, the desired dynamics of a healthy rise in the inflation rate has still not developed, which especially encouraged the opponents of the idea of ​​the eurozone. This monetary union, i.e. the euro as a single currency, has been regarded as a source of major problems in the system that was not able to adapt to a strong and weak economy at the same time, as the Greek scenario has confirmed these claims.

Moreover, the story of very high costs of joining the peripheral countries of the eurozone has actually served the broad political spectrum of the Eurosceptics, the conservatives in the countries most affected by the crisis, and the extreme right-wingers across the EU to put it in an unattainable context especially for the purpose of refocusing European integration candidate countries that have a problem with the rule of law.

Contrarily, the eurozone today presents a testimony of all the failures of a single monetary system, which is conditioned by the monetarist dogmatic cause of economic anemicity in the post-crisis period, so that the placing economic systems of different sizes and stages of the development under the control of a single central bank could cause less damage than the benefit for majority of the involved entities.

For Poland, a country whose exports, especially exports of food, recorded an increase, the freedom to influence the exchange rate is necessary, first of all, from the point of view of the 10-year economic flows, but on several occasions the emergence of such attitude has resulted in negative comments on the untargeted issues in Poland sent from German and French addresses, when this country was warned about violating European democratic values.

Monetary integration is not something that anyone was generally trying to avoid. The idea of ​​a single currency, which dates back to the 19th century when it, in the context of the story of united European states, was promoted by Victor Hugo for countries that accepted convergence criteria was not the reason for resistance. The first signal was sent by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997, demanding five types of economic and financial environment testing, and only three years later in Denmark, the voters on referendum decided to retain the Danish crown as the national currency. Today, the benefits of the euro, accepted in 1999 and officially introduced into cash flows in 2001, speak of a considerable amount of speculation or doubt about countries that have not yet accepted it, while the story about hazards is realistic and has already been seen in some systems.

The question of the survival of the EU disturbed by the Brexit has led to the belief that the future of this transnational community is in the expansion of the eurozone. It is undoubtedly that faith in a better European future would prompt if the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were accept the euro, but the Polish authorities are aware that the effects of such flow of events would last as much as the enthusiasm of the idea. On the other hand this option is the only alternative to the increased Russian influence on economic trends in Poland highlighted as a key argument for joining the eurozone.

In this case, the euro would be considered as a means of increasing economic efficiency, assuming that the beneficiary countries are in similar phases of the economic cycle, which is not the case in the euro area. Poland, which uses funds of European funds worth about 100 billion euros for the current six-year period would not have economic indicators that now make it one of the most prosperous European countries without the Union’s power, and this is precisely the fact that the counter-argument is about the absence of key touch points with the economies of the eurozone.

Especially in the light of the criticism of undemocratic developments within the country, the announcements from Brussels that the use of funds from the EU would be drastically reduced after 2021, primarily in an effort to influence the overcompensation in the political landscape of Poland, where conservative subjects are getting on popularity.

Allowing zloty to float freely in relation to the euro caused the increase in Polish exports, which enabled the strengthening of the economy, but a number of other measures, of which the most controversial was the introduction of a tax on banking assets, was completely opposite to the rescue of banks by taxpayers’ money across the eurozone.

Therefore, insisting on the introduction of the euro has weakened. Today, when Poland is on the list of developed countries, ithe story that, as previously argued, the euro has classified the country into a club of privileged European nations completely loses its meaning, because it is, with all open internal issues in the field of democracy today the club of countries in which the United States, Great Britain and Japan are.

The ranking among the developed countries will make Poland more attractive to investors — more precisely, as much as it would be tempting to grow a business on the market outside the eurozone. The level of investments and markets from which investors come will show (un)justification of the use of the national currency, but whatever the outcomes in the next few years will be visible, the possibility of switching to the euro will still remain, while for the eurozone countries the abandonment of the single currency in these conditions is literally unfeasible.

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