Although Poland and the other CEE countries have coped well with the current crisis, the pace of convergence is gradually slowing. The remedy can be found in “The Warsaw Consensus”- a complex growth model for the region, which can lead to a steady development.
The chances of Poland entering the euro area in the coming years are slim. The reasons for this are political and are connected with the constitutional provision that Narodowy Bank Polski has the exclusive right to issue money and implement monetary policy in Poland.
The labour market is really a bright spot of the Polish economy. Employment and wages are growing, unemployment is falling, and a number of indicators show that companies report increasing demand for employees. However, we still face significant lags in economic activity, in particular, among the elderly and women.
Sociologists dealing with Polish trade unions estimate they have between 1.5m - 2.4m members. This wide divergence underscores the lack of precise data on trade. What the surveys do clearly show is that 74% of respondents do not see unions having any positive impact the situation of employees.
An increasing number of Polish migrants in Ireland and Great Britain plan to stay abroad. The majority of them start families there or bring their families over. Meanwhile, Poles moving to the Netherlands and Germany put down shallower roots, often planning only temporary stays, as shown by the recent emigration surveys conducted by the Polish central bank.
Low population growth and economic emigration may lead to a sharp crisis in Poland's pension system and public finances. This can be prevented by a conscious family policy and economic immigration to Poland, especially from countries that are culturally close to us. We should be particularly eager to attract young and educated people. Is this realistic?
As 2014 draws to a close, so too do the celebrations of the annus mirabilis of 1989 and the quarter-century of transition that followed in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). While the retrospectives across the region and in Europe have focused on the miraculous changes that transition enabled, the reality from the vantage point of 25 years on is that the countries in CEE have diverged both economically and politically since the heady days of 1989.
Napoleon Bonaparte once reportedly complained that history was a set of lies everyone agreed upon. While such a view may be too cynical, it is nonetheless true that nations tend to idealize their past. Poland is no different. Poles tend to mythologize the 16th century as the country’s golden age. The standard narrative is that Poland was then one of the largest countries in Europe, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. It was a military power, winning wars and battles galore. It was Europe’s “breadbasket” feeding the burgeoning cities in the West. It was a centre of culture and education, exemplified by such luminaries as Nicholas Copernicus, a graduate of Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Finally, Polish political influence spread into far reaches of Europe.
A quarter of a century after the formation of Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s government, in which Deputy Prime Minister Leszek Balcerowicz was responsible for the economic reforms, economists are trying to answer the question as to whether Poland has exhausted its opportunities of development and what impulses are needed for Poland to take advantage of future opportunities.