Poland Saturday attacked as inadequate the eurozone's aid plans for cash-strapped economies, one day after taking over the helm of the European Union for the next six months.
Speaking as eurozone finance ministers prepared to release urgent aid to save Greece from imminent bankruptcy, Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said it was fortunate that the International Monetary Fund was also involved in the rescue plans.
"The IMF has been more proactive, programmes have been put forward at an earlier stage," he said, adding, "Thank God the IMF came."
An aid programme "should be seen definitely as a step towards recovery," he said, but with the European programmes "this has not been fully achieved at this stage."
The mechanisms created for Greece, Ireland and Portugal needed "quite a bit of improvement," Rostowski said, criticising the focus on reducing debt rather than promoting growth.
"The better the programmes are devised the less there is a risk of contagion, that's why we say there is still a lot to do about how these programmes are designed."
Rostowski also criticised the reluctance of the richer countries of northern Europe to help their neighbours to the south in financial difficulty.
There is "growing estrangement between the north and the south and we have to be very careful that it does not grow and get amplified, that it remains under political control, between countries helped and countries that are contributing to support, he said."
Poland on Friday gained the right as current EU president but a non-eurozone country to take part in meetings of the 17-nation currency bloc that focus on solving the debt crisis.
"At the last Eurogroup meeting, the IMF was there, the Hungarian presidency was not, it's really strange," Rostowski said Saturday.
Poland is a eurozone candidate but has made its entry conditional on heightened discipline within it. Poland has said it will meet Maastricht Treaty criteria for joining by 2015, but has refused to peg a date for abandoning the zloty.
"Today there are fewer member states in the eurozone who respected the Maastricht Treaty provisions than those who violated them," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Friday.