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A nation with a rich cultural heritage

Poland is the largest of the East European countries which joined the EU in May 2004. Poland is comparable in size to Italy or Germany (in USA larger than New Mexico) and with a population of approximately 39 million (e.g. more than California) it ranks among the most influential and remarkable countries in central and Eastern Europe. Poland is a stable democracy with a truly fascinating history, great cultural heritage and several areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The national symbols

The colours of the Polish national flag are red and white - two stripes of equal width displayed horizontally, with the white at the top. Apart from flag, there are also two other important national symbols of Poland – a coat of arms and an anthem.

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Andrzej Duda - the President


Member of the conservative, Eurosceptic Law and Justice Party, scored a surprise win in the 2015 election, beating the incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski of the centrist Civic Platform in the closest presidential contest in Poland's history.

Born in 1972 and a law lecturer by profession, Mr Duda has been active in conservative politics since the early 2000s, rising to work in the Presidential Chancellery under Lech Kaczynski in 2008-2010.

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Mateusz Morawiecki - the Prime Minister


He took over as head of the conservative Law and Justice party government in December 2017, replacing Beata Szydlo, who moved to the post of deputy prime minister.

Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski dropped Mrs Szydlo in what Polish political analysts see as a move to repair the country's poor relations with the European Union, and prepare the party for a series of elections.

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Since Poland’s EU accession, the country’s economy accelerated and transformed itself, creating social dislocations, which manifested most dramatically through the millions who moved abroad to escape high unemployment and (comparatively) low wages.

However, Poland’s economic progress in the past decades has been remarkable and puts it among the fastest growing large economies with comparable levels of development.

The country continued experiencing economic growth despite the global financial crisis, in part due to EU funding, since it is the largest beneficiary of cohesion funds.

With a total GDP of €467 billion in 2017, it represented 3.6% of the EU-27 total (without UK). In 2018, the country was promoted to developed market status by FTSE Russel and classified as one of the 25 most advanced global economies.

Between 2014 and 2018, Poland’s economy grew on average 4% per year, double the EU’s average (2.1%). While growth is expected to gently decelerate, with rates of 3.5% and 3.2% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, this is still more than double the EU average.

However, Poland’s real GDP per capita was €11,800 in 2017, less than half the EU28 average (€27,700). In purchasing power standards, it stood at 70% of the EU28 average.

Challenges to sustained economic growth mentioned by the IMF include increasing labour shortages (despite the large influx of Ukrainian workers in recent years), a shrinking working-age population and slow productivity growth.

The labour market situation is reflected in the low unemployment rate of 3.9% (2018), way below the EU average of 7%. It is predicted to fall even lower to below 3% by 2020. Youth unemployment is higher (11.7%), although still below the EU average of 15.2%.

The Third Polish Republic established Poland as a parliamentary republic, following its democratic transition (1989-1991), which was kicked off with the famous round-table talks, brokered between the Communists and the Solidarity-led opposition headed by Lech Wałęsa – who became the republic’s president between 1990-1995.

Nowadays, Poland’s main parties are the national conservative Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) and the liberal-conservative Platforma Obywatelska (PO). Both were created in 2001 and are rooted in Solidarity. They briefly formed a centre-right alliance and ran together in 2002’s local elections.

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Polish economy

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