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About Poland

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Essay title: About Poland

INTRODUCTION

Modern Polish History

Between 1795 and 1918 Poland disappeared to Europe. At the end of World War I Poland re-emerged as an independent state only to be dominated by the Nazi regime in 1939. In 1944, at the Conferences of Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, it was decided to return Poland to its medieval boundaries. This major border adjustment allowed Poles to occupy 120 miles westward forcing them to expel German occupants and recover land they had lost 600 years before. Negatively, other lands that had been occupied by Poland for 600 years were taken away. The devastation of World War II on Poland was great. The war took the lives of nearly six million Poles and material losses equivalent to 50 billion US dollars (History of Poland).

The years following Poland were extremely difficult. In 1956, Wladyslaw Gomulka, a moderate "national Communist" came to power, initiating the period known as "The Thaw." As economic prosperity increased, Polish citizens demanded more political freedom. In 1980, the Solidarity Movement exploded and was acknowledged in August of that year making significant concessions to the demands of the workers. The "Roundtable Agreements" of 1989 began to form democracy. A year later Solidarity leader, Lech Walesa, became the first post-war President of the Republic of Poland (History of Poland).

Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country, Poland's economy has recently become on of the most prevailing nations in Central Europe (Poland).

The Polish Economy

Transitions

Poland pursued a steadfast attempt to liberate their economy throughout the 1990s and currently stands as a success story for transitional nations. Even with much progress, Poland still has a great deal of work to be done. For example, bringing down their unemployment rate, this is the highest in the EU. Poland's agricultural sector remains handicapped due to surplus labor and lack of investment. The restructuring and privatization of the sectors of coal, steel, railroads, energy, etc., while recently initiated, have stalled. The joining of the EU in 2004 has already provided privileges for farmers via booming exports, higher food prices and EU agricultural subsidies (Poland).

Through transition, Poland has set two major goals: integration with the European community and its involvement with NATO. Poland was the first country in Central and Eastern Europe to transform their economy into a market system. Successfully, Poland dropped their inflation rate from three digits to two throughout the 90s, produced a GDP growth of 3.4% (mostly from exports) and an industrial output growth of 3.8% (UNIDO).

Foreign Exchange

The official currency in Poland is the zloty (PLN), which is divided into 100 groszy. These exchange operations are dictated by the Foreign Exchange Law of 27 July 2002. In 2002, this law further liberalized capital exchange. The law removed all restrictions of flow between EU members and Poland as well as the European Economic Area and OECD members. These limitations can be dismissed with individual foreign permits. Polish residents are allowed to conduct transactions with Euro and other convertible currencies (UNIDO).

Employment and Labor

As previously mentioned, the unemployment rate in Poland is an concern, but since the numbers peaked in 2002, there have been some improvements. A considerable number of job-seekers of school graduates. Many of them are acquired good qualifications, but the vocational schools of not kept up with the demands of certain professional

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