Three hundred thousand Poles have returned home in the last three years

Poland / Photo EPA-EFE/Albert Zawada

300.000 Poles have returned home in the last three years alone. Squeezed out by the pandemic and Brexit, 160.000 have left Great Britain, their main refuge, for a better standard of living. In the absence of official statistics, Polish authorities estimate that in the 20 years that Poland has been a member of the EU, about a million citizens have returned.

On May 1, 2004, Poland and 9 other countries joined the Union, increasing the number of member states to 25. Through a referendum, 77,5 percent of citizens voted for integration into European structures. It was the largest enlargement of the Community in history, which, after Britain's exit from the EU, consists of 27 countries.

Today, Poles remain at the forefront of the most Euro-enthusiastic nations, seeing the EU as a source of improvement in general living standards, the country's civilizational progress and freedom of movement on the Old Continent.

In many respects, Poland and its enterprises have made the most of their time in the European Union compared to countries in the region that joined the EU in 2004.

Poland, leader in economic growth in Europe
Since accession, Polish GDP has roughly doubled in real terms. The other new member states of the region were far behind Poland in terms of economic growth rate, the economies of the Czech Republic and Hungary only grew by about half a percent.
The sources of such strong growth should be sought in the dynamic development of a large number of sectors of the Polish economy. Fast growing areas are industrial processing, transport and logistics, water, sewage and waste management, construction, public sector services and accommodation and hospitality, information and communication sector and business services for companies.

Average salary 1900, minimum 1010 euros
20 years ago the average salary in Poland was 196 euros, today the national average is 7.768,35 PLN (Polish zlotys) or 1849 euros. The increase in the average is due to an increase in the minimum wage, which last year was 3.600 PLN, and this January it has increased by 17,8% and is 4.242 PLN or 1010 euros.

Unemployment rate 5,4%
The registered unemployment rate at the end of February 2024 is 5,4%. A lower unemployment rate in February was last recorded in 1990. In 2004, when Poland was not yet part of the European family, the unemployment rate was 20,6%.

Poland is first in the region in terms of foreign investments

Since joining the EU, the cumulative value of foreign direct investment in Poland has increased by over 200 billion US dollars. This result gives her the first place in the region. Poland was among the EU countries with the strongest growth in processing expenditure, and in most industrial sectors, the driving force behind investment was companies with foreign capital.

Poland grew into an export power
With the exception of the automotive industry, Poland has become a major manufacturing center in Central Europe. After 2004, Poland had the strongest increase in the share in the total export of EU countries by over 3 percentage points in almost all processing branches.

The strongest progress is in the export of construction and transport services. During the last 20 years, Poland has increased its share of exports in the wood and furniture industry, tobacco, rubber and plastic products, electrical appliances, metal products.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of EU funds
Poland will remain one of the biggest beneficiaries of EU funds, which will be boosted by the release of money from the National Reconstruction Plan.

The total amount of funds allocated to Poland in the EU perspective 2021-2027 is approximately EUR 170 billion. In the coming years, this will be a key incentive for investments and an opportunity for further civilizational progress of the state. EU membership guarantees access to the EU market and, on the other hand, provides protection against competition from low-cost suppliers from third countries.

Most cars are driven in Poland
Data from Eurostat (European Statistical Office) for 2021 show that Poland (1.000), Luxembourg (687) and the least number of cars in the countries of the European Union per 682 inhabitants were in Romania (400) and Latvia (404). In North Macedonia, 231 passenger vehicles are registered per 1.000 inhabitants, in Croatia 465, in Slovenia 564, and in Serbia, 1.000 passenger cars are registered per 325 inhabitants.

Although the investments of companies in Poland are growing faster than in the EU, investment stagnation is observed in the energy sector. Experts point out that a lot still needs to be done in the area of ​​investments and research and development.
The relatively weakest progress compared to the EU countries was observed in the area of ​​science and knowledge, higher innovations, technological progress. In the coming period, Poland should also work on improving industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and machinery, where the share of EU exports is low and the foreign trade balance is negative.

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