Editorial Features
Facts & Figures
Polish Advertisers
Key Economic Indicators

Setting the scene

Poland is one of the stars of the transition process in Eastern Europe. The country is one of the four major recipients of foreign invesment (the others are the Czech Republic and Hungary and, by virtue of its size rather than its stability, Russia). The country has achieved this because it embarked on the transition process early, and legal and institutional frameworks for investment are basically in place. The results are clear: the country's GDP is virtually back to 1989 levels.

However, problems remain: the transition towards a market economy has caused increasing unemployment (rates are about 15 per cent), sharp price rises and conflict between political parties and different power blocs. The resulting popular disillusionment helped the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD: the former ruling communist Polish United Workers Party's successor) and the conservative agrarian Polish Peasants' Party (PSL: formerly the communists' loyal ally) to win most support in elections in September 1993. The SLD-PSL coalition has 303 seats in the 460-seat Sejm (lower house of Parliament).

PSL Leader, Waldemar Pawlak, assumed the Premiership in return for his party joining the coalition, but was later replaced by the SLD's Jozef Oleksy. However, Oleksy was replaced by the SLD's Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz in February 1996, after a formal investigation began into allegations that Oleksy had spied for the Soviet Union and then for Russia between 1982 and 1995. The investigation was dropped in late April 1996 without any charges being brought.

Although the incident itself has not fundamentally damaged the country's political stability, it will not have helped the nerves of investors. However, it is hoped that the appointment of SLD leader, Aleksander Kwasniewski, as President in 1995 will bring more cohesion and reduce infighting.

Overall, the prospects are good: the government is keen to attract foreign investment and, despite some popular opposition, has pressed on with economic reforms, including mass privatisation. A major boom in the influx of foreign investment is expected in 1997. Foreign companies are attracted by the fact that wage levels remain low, that private enterprise is expanding and that Poles are entrepreneurial.

Key economic indicators
Capital WARSAW
Area (Sq km) 312,685
Population (m) 38.7
GDP/Capita (1995) US$3, 050
President Aleksander Kwasniewski
Currency zloty /: 1US$ 3.5 (FT 29/05/98)

Interview with President Aleksander Kwasniewski
Maintaining growth

Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek
Exposé delivered at the Sejm of the Republic of Poland

Leszek Balcerowicz, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Poland in 1997

Ministry of Economy, Poland
Special economic zones

Legnica Special Economic Zone
Economic changes and development

Piotr Stefaniak, Director, Ministry of Privatisation
The mass privatisation programme in Poland

Javier Solana, Secretary General, NATO
The road to membership

Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, President, National Bank of Poland
Poland 1997: economic growth and deregulation of the banking system

Andrzej Szukalski, President, Polish Bank Association
Outlook for the Polish banking system

Wieslaw Rozlucki, President and CEO, Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE)
History and activities of the WSE

Tadeusz Filipowicz, Deputy Chair of BRE/IB Austria Management
The role of the FIRST National Investment Fund in Poland's
Mass Privatisation Programme

Polish Federation of Real Estate Brokers
The Polish property market

Panel Warpechowski, Zbigniew Niebrzydowski & Jerzy Muszynski, Unikat Real Estate
Real estate overview

Krzysztof Link, Director, Agency for Motorway Construction and Operation
Polish motorway program

Principal privatisation project for the year 2000
Emil Wasacz, Minister of the Treasury

Statement by Minister Janusz Steinhoff for the Euro-Invest 2000
Prepared in agreement with the European Commission

The banking system and investment opportunities in Poland
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, President, National Bank of Poland

AGEMA Consulting Agency

Fifty years in the furniture industry
Andrzej Gazdzik, President of the Board of Directors, Opolskie Fabryki Mebli SA (OFM SA)

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