Poland: A velvet crisis


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Paradoxically, Poles were helped by the global economic crisis. The Polish economy has turned out to be more resistant to the recession as well as more calmly and prudently managed than most of the world’s developed countries.

Poland is experiencing a velvet crisis. Of course, the slowdown of the spectacular economic growth rate of recent years has been as a cold shower to entrepreneurs, but few other economies are looking forward to any GDP growth in sullen 2009 the way Poland is.

Poles have a right to regard themselves as relative winners in the crisis period. Any country whose consumption is growing, whose financial system is not experiencing tremors and whose economy has been bolstered by a potent injection of EUR100 billion of structural funds can well regard itself as a winner. Those resources have been activated at the best possible moment to lubricate the economy.

An analysis of the GDP structure of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia has shown that Poland is suited to gently experience the current economic crisis mainly because its internal consumption is the chief factor shaping the country’s GDP. Compared to neighbouring countries, it is the highest in Poland. Moreover, the foreign-trade index (exports and imports) in relation to GDP is the lowest, and in the present situation considerable downturn, especially of exports, is less felt in Poland.

The stable political and economic situation, as rare as a sunbeam in the midst of polar night, would in itself not be an attraction, were it not for a well-developed system of investor incentives.

The Polish government is not nonchalantly throwing money about to attract investors. However, over the years it has built a set of prudent instruments whose main virtue is that they work.

To accommodate the expectations of investors, last year a new ‘Investment support system of key significance to Poland’s economy’ was developed. The solutions it contains are competitive with similar systems functioning in neighbouring countries.

As a result of its active support of investments, in recent years Poland has become a leader in the production of television displays and LCDs and, thanks to significant projects by Asian companies, as well as of household appliances for the best-known concerns. Aerospace-industry concerns have been setting up their investments in the now well-known Aviation Valley. Also the automotive sector, producing mainly small and medium-sized cars, has been performing successfully in Poland.

Poland has been increasingly obtaining projects from sectors generating the greatest added value such as electronics and aviation. The extremely dynamic growth of modern IT-based services, especially in recent years, has steadily boosted the Polish economy’s competitiveness.

Poland is the region’s biggest politically and economically stable country, which creates opportunities for successful long-term investment. Poles account for 24 percent of the region’s population, and produce nearly 40 percent of its GDP. That is an indicator of the Polish economy’s potential.

A crisis always simultaneously creates opportunities and threats.

The Polish government is calmly introducing its Stability and Growth Plan, stepping up its use of resources coming from the EU to limit the results of unrest on financial markets and, above all, is taking great pains to maintain public-spending discipline. One of the reasons for this is to enable investors to discover the difference between Poland and most other European countries.

And to make them see in Poland their opportunity to succeed.