Czechs in no rush to join eurozone: president

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The Czech Republic is in no rush to adopt the euro in light of the problems certain eurozone countries are suffering, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Monday.

"We are not rushing to enter the eurozone. This is the dominant position in the Czech Republic," Klaus, a former economist, said after meeting his German counterpart Christian Wulff.

"After this year's euro crisis, there is no clearly defined group in the Czech Republic -- the government, the parliament, the central bank -- which would recommend accession to the eurozone in the foreseeable future," he added.

On Sunday, Ireland said it would receive a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that could reach up to 90 billion euros (123 billion dollars) following another eurozone struggler Greece, which received a 110-billion-euro cash injection from the EU-IMF earlier this year.

Several other eurozone members including Spain and Portugal are also a source of concern for the EU.

"Although we are not eurozone members, it is no pleasure for us to discover one problem experienced by a eurozone country after another," said Klaus, a staunch eurosceptic known for his distaste for economic regulation.

"As a country with very close economic ties with Germany and Europe in general, we see any problem in the eurozone as a problem for us too," he added.

The Czech Republic, a country of 10.5 million pledged to adopt the euro when it joined the European Union in 2004, but its government has been putting off the entry date and its current centre-right government has not yet fixed a euro entry date since it took office in July.

But it has announced harsh austerity steps to put the country's public finances battered by the global economic slump back on track, planning a public deficit under the eurozone limit of 3.0 percent of gross domestic product by 2013.

The Czech economy driven by the auto industry grew at an annual pace of 3.0 percent in the third quarter of the year after slumping by 4.1 percent in full-year 2009 as the global downturn stifled demand for its exports.

The Czech central bank expects the country's economy to grow by 2.3 percent this year before a slowdown to 1.2-percent growth caused by the cabinet's austerity measures.

© 2010 AFP

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