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Poland adopts tigher EU rules on spending

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Poland approved on Wednesday its entry into the EU's Fiscal Stability Treaty -- or 'fiscal compact' -- aimed at tighter spending in the bloc as its 17 eurozone members struggle to emerge from a debt crisis.

In March, 25 of the 27 EU member states accepted a 'balanced budget rule' in the compact championed by bloc heavyweight Germany to ensure that governments would no longer run the massive budget deficits which drove the debt crisis and nearly sank the euro.

It came into effect on January 1 in the eurozone, of which Poland is not yet a member.

Britain and the Czech Republic, which like Poland are members of the EU but not the eurozone, opted out of the treaty which also laid down penalties for those who breach limits on deficits and debt.

The measure passed on Wednesday in Warsaw with 282 votes in favour and 155 against in Poland's 460-seat lower house of parliament.

"As Poles we feel joint responsibility for the security and stability of Europe as a whole. The fiscal compact is especially meant to bolster this security and stability," Centrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk told parliament ahead of the vote.

In January, Warsaw reopened debate on a target date for its eurozone entry, after having played wait-and-see since 2009 when crisis struck the European single currency.

Poland, with central Europe's biggest economy has a strong internal market in the country of 38 million. It has sustained growth each year since it shed communism two decades ago, says it will be ready to join the eurozone by 2015, but is still coy about setting an entry date.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130220/poland-adopts-tigher-eu-rules-spending