Prague (AFP) - The Czech Republic's incoming finance minister says he is open to adopting the euro, a move which Prague has shunned up to now amid the eurozone debt crisis, local media reported Thursday.
"I definitely have no problem with our country adopting the euro," Andrej Babis said, quoted Thursday on the website of top selling Czech daily DNES.
"But of course, without guaranteeing the liabilities of Greece or Spain," he added, referring to two of the most indebted members of the 18-state single currency bloc.
A billionaire with a vast farming and chemicals empire who ranks as the second wealthiest Czech, Babis is expected to be sworn in as finance minister on January 29.
His populist ANO movement emerged out of nowhere to finish a close second in October's snap election.
It is part of a three-party, centre-left majority coalition headed by prime minister-designate Bohuslav Sobotka, whose Social Democrats narrowly beat ANO.
Previous centre-right governments adopted a very cautious "wait and see" policy on adopting the euro, although the Czech Republic is obliged to eventually do so under the terms of its 2004 entry into the European Union.
They refused to name a target entry date into the eurozone before the single currency bloc solves its debt woes.
Last year, Czech central bank governor Miroslav Singer pegged 2019 as the earliest euro entry date possible.
"It's the problem of the exchange rate. I consider the Czech koruna rate an important factor for getting the economy going," Babis was also quoted as saying.
Heavily dependent on car production and exports to the eurozone, the Czech economy shook off a record 18-month recession in the second quarter of 2013.
The Czech central bank, which recently launched a forex intervention to weaken the koruna amid low inflation and almost zero lending rates, has forecast a 0.9-percent economic contraction for 2013 before 1.5-percent growth this year.
On Thursday afternoon, the koruna traded around 27.48 per euro, almost two koruna weaker than before the November 7, 2013 intervention.