Poland

Capital:Warsaw
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Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. It is the only country in the European Union to maintain positive GDP growth through the 2008-2009 economic downturn. GDP per capita is still much below the EU average, but is similar to that of the three Baltic states. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy. Unemployment fell rapidly to 6.4% in October 2008, but climbed back to 11.8% for the year 2010, exceeding the EU average by more than 2%. Inflation reached a low of about 2.6% in 2010 due to the global economic slowdown but has since climbed and is expected to remain around 3%, and close to the upper limit of the National Bank of Poland's target rate. Poland's economic performance could improve over the longer term if the country addresses some of the remaining deficiencies in its road and rail infrastructure and its business environment. An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, burdensome tax system, and persistent low-level corruption keep the private sector from performing up to its full potential. Rising demands to fund health care, education, and the state pension system caused the public sector budget deficit to rise to 7.9% of GDP in 2010. The PO/PSL coalition government, which came to power in November 2007, has planned to reduce the budget deficit in 2011 and has also announced its intention to enact business-friendly reforms, increase workforce participation, reduce public sector spending growth, lower taxes, and accelerate privatization. The government has moved slowly on most major reforms, but has sped up privatization.

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