Poland, which joined the European Union in 2004, wants to adopt the euro by 2011, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said today, setting a target entry date for the first time.

'For the first time, I will say with responsibility that my government will aim for entry into the euro zone in 2011,' Tusk said. 'It will be a difficult matter but possible to realise,' he added.

The largest of the 2004 EU newcomers, Poland agreed to meet macroeconomic criteria for euro adoption as part of its EU accession agreement but until now had refused to set a target date to replace its currency, the zloty, with the euro.

In February, Finance Minister Jan Rostowski said Poland would meet the criteria for euro adoption - mainly on limiting inflation - by 2010-2012.

Tusk's government yesterday approved the country's draft 2009 budget which forecast economic growth at 4.8% and inflation at 2.9%. The 2008 budget was based on economic growth of 5.5% with annual inflation at 2.3%.