Poland is the only European Union country to have escaped recession in the past two years. Though this post-Soviet economy is not immune to the global financial crisis, and is still fine tuning its transition to a free market, growth is 3% this year and expected to be higher next year. Waldemar Pawlak, the Minister of Economy, says,
“Poland is the only country in the European Union that achieved economic growth, because of the great activity of Polish entrepreneurs and because of the very dynamic attitude of our businessmen.”
Part of Poland’s ability to grow in the current global environment is due to the fact that Poland has not yet adopted the common European currency, the euro.
Head of the National Bank of Poland, Marek Belka, said,
“being outside the euro helped us in the crisis, because we could allow the zloty, our national currency to devalue. Which is helping our exporters and is helping still.”
Transition to the euro has caused some hardship in European countries with their varying degrees of economic health.
Belka continued, “the euro seemed to be a great success in good times, the crisis showed that it is an unfinished project so to say.”
With the zloty being recently devalued, Polish exports are relatively cheap for world markets, but imports are more expensive.
Another factor that has helped Poland avoid pain on the level some of its neighbors are experiencing is the fact that its citizens are not in debt to the extent others are. The whole idea of credit is relatively new to this country. So you will find people explain that they, for example, paid for their homes in cash.