Bank official shirks referendum

  • 2005-05-04
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - The chief of the Bank of Estonia said the country did not need to hold a referendum on adopting the euro since this has already been approved at the referendum on EU accession.

Bank President Vahur Kraft told a press conference April 28 that there was no need for a referendum on the common currency, an idea that was recently floated by the country's new finance minister.

In Kraft's words, a majority of Estonians approved in 2003 both a constitutional amendment enabling Estonia to join the EU as well as the accession agreement, one of whose provisions was the commitment to adopt the common currency.

Finance Minister Aivar Soerd, a member of the People's Union, said last month that the question of a nationwide referendum was on the party's agenda. The party, one of three in the new governing coalition, has called for a popular vote on the euro, even though adopting the euro is not a decision that can be determined by national referendum. When signing their accession agreements, the 10 new members of the EU were obligated to take up the currency sooner or later.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip from the Reform Party said there is no need for another referendum because the question has already been settled once the accession agreement was signed.

Meanwhile, Kraft said that joining the eurozone and meeting the necessary criteria remained a key task for Estonia in the next few years. The country, he said, needed to maintain economic reliability, curb inflation and stick to its balanced budget policy.