Poland - Europe's New Economic Superstar

 

Poland is becoming Europe’s new economic power. More than any other Eastern European country Poland has drawn many advantages from joining the European Union. When Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe 20 years ago Poland was mostly an agricultural country. Since then economic growth has not stopped. Today, Poland is Europe’s sixth largest economy.

Poland did not experience the global economic crisis that hit Europe and the rest of the world in 2009. Its economy grew by almost 2 %. Since it joined the European Union in 2004 unemployment has dropped from 20% to 8%. Most of the growth has developed in the big cities. Today, Poles have a higher standard of living than ever before.

 

Although more and more foreign investors are discovering Poland, it’s the Poles themselves who are creating new jobs. Over the past few years many middle sized companies have emerged. They produce primarily for the Polish market. Only 40% of the Polish economy depends on exports.

 

The Warsaw Stock Exchange is one of the biggest in Europe

The Warsaw Stock Exchange is one of the biggest in Europe - Beax

 

For many years foreigners have had fixed ideas about Poland. The people were thought to be lazy and the state’s bureaucracy inefficient. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Poles are very motivated and ambitious. They no longer work for state-run companies and they earn more than they did when capitalism began. They have found out that working hard pays off.

One of the main reasons of Polish success is its currency. The country has not had the difficulties that countries like Ireland and Greece have experienced. Being out of the euro zone has brought advantages. The Polish zloty has fallen in value against the euro and the dollar. Polish products have therefore become cheaper abroad. Many people want the euro to be introduced at some time, but there is no hurry. They want to keep their zloty at least until 2015.

The banking crisis of 2008 did not hit Poland the way it did other countries. Compared with international banking Polish banks are small. Very few of them were engaged in risky deals and lost money.

New shopping center in Warsaw

New shopping center in Poland's capital Warsaw - dr. avishai teicher

 

 

The country, however, is not without economic problems. Deficit is still at 7% of the GDP, the EU only allows 3%. The budget is spinning out of control because the country is spending a lot. On the other side the government is not getting enough money from taxes because companies always find ways of not paying them.

Much of the growth comes from money that the European Union gives Poland. Economic experts fear that when aid comes to an end the economic boom could also be over. Currently Poland is investing much money in infrastructure. Together with Ukraine, the country will be hosting the European football championships in 2012.

In the past years Poland has also improved its relationships with the European Union. It does not block EU decisions anymore and has become a stable political partner. It has good ties with its western neighbour Germany and its relationship towards Russia, which was once tense, has calmed down. In July 2010 Poland will step into the European spotlight as chairman of the European Union.

 

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • abroad = in another country
  • advantage = good side, something positive
  • aid = financial help
  • although = while
  • ambitious = if you work hard to be successful
  • block = to say no, veto
  • boom = increase in activity
  • bureaucracy = administration, paperwork
  • calm = cool down
  • chairman = country that is in charge of something
  • collapse = break down, fall apart
  • compare = if you match something with something else
  • create = produce, set up
  • currency = the official money of a country
  • currently = right now
  • deal = business agreement
  • decision = here: law
  • deficit = when a country spends more money than it gets from taxes
  • depend on = need
  • develop = grow
  • difficulty = problem
  • draw = get
  • economic = about the economy
  • economy = system of buying and selling goods in a country as well as the money system that a country has
  • emerge = come up
  • engaged = to be involved in
  • experience = feel, go through
  • fear = to be afraid
  • few = not many
  • fixed = not changing
  • foreign = from another country
  • global = worldwide
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • growth = development; to become bigger, larger
  • host = the place where an event will be organized
  • however = but
  • improve = to make better
  • inefficient = not well organized
  • infrastructure = basic things that a country needs, like roads, railways, schools hospitals etc..
  • join = to become a member
  • main = important
  • motivate = a person who really wants to do something because it is exciting or interesting
  • pay off = to be successful
  • primarily = mainly, mostly
  • relationship =the way two people or countries feel about each other
  • spin = rotate, turn
  • spotlight = to get a lot of attention
  • stable = here: someone you can trust
  • standard of living = how much a person can afford or how much money someone has to spend
  • state-run = owned by the government
  • stock exchange = place where parts of a company are traded
  • tax = the money that everybody must pay to the government for services that they get
  • tense = nervous, stressed, worrying
  • therefore = that is why
  • tie = relationship
  • truth = fact, reality
  • unemployment = people who do not have work
  • value = what something is worth