Poland’s state-owned hard coal mining industry is on the brink of bankruptcy thanks to falling prices and demand, rising costs and a reluctance to close unprofitable pits – all this after billions of dollars were spent in recent decades on reforming the sector.
Should the government support its own entrepreneurs? Krzysztof Domarecki, one of the wealthiest Poles, represents such a view. “I am not in favour of protectionism, yet unrestrained liberalism is harmful” argues the businessman, who has set up a foundation to support international expansion of Polish firms.
The Russian embargo on the Polish food imports will result in excess supply arising on the domestic food market. The lower demand in Russia will not be compensated by consumption in Poland. The goods exported to Russia belong to the group of goods the real consumption of which has been dropping in Poland in recent years.
The popularity of the Polish Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is encouraging a return to the arguments of Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman. He claimed that state support for underprivileged people is unnecessary, since private donors would give such help of their own accord.
It will be 25 years on 23 December since the Act on Economic Activity, popularly called Wilczek’s bill, was passed. It introduced into the stubborn reality the rule that what is not prohibited is permitted. State regulation was reduced. This act is commonly considered to be the “Sevres standard” for free-market economic reforms. Is this a deserved opinion?
In 2012, the EU decreased its total carbon dioxide emissions by 2.3 per cent. Even though Poland has been given bad press in this matter, it managed to decrease them by 3 per cent. In the U.S., emissions were reduced by 4 per cent, while in China they continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace. The EU has launched a crusade against global warming, but other countries have a more pragmatic approach to the issue, which is why the climate summit in Warsaw may end in failure.
Adequate input for R&D is indispensable: without investment there is no innovation – says Peter Dröll, Head of Innovation Unit in the European Commission. It is equally important to have a maximum output. It is hard to define what output of innovation policy there should be.
The power industry, threatened with restructuring, is lobbying for a further injection of cash at the expense of customers; they justify it with the threat of a potential blackout. Only those investment projects that are crucial for ensuring an uninterrupted supply of energy for several years to come should benefit from support. Otherwise, the liberalization of the market will make a 20-year step back.
The main result of the privatization of the Polish chemical sector, founded on the principle of "have your cake and eat it", is the growing debt of companies from this sector. A real privatization seems to be an increasingly unrealistic prospect. The government focuses its efforts on opposing Russian investment plans.