Europe 2020 in Poland

The Country-specific Recommendations are documents prepared by the European Commission for each country, analysing its economic situation and providing recommendations on measures it should adopt over the coming 18 months. They are tailored to the particular issues the Member State is facing and cover a broad range of topics: the state of public finances, reforms of pension systems, measures to create jobs and to fight unemployment, education and innovation challenges, etc. The final adoption of Country-specific Recommendations prepared by the Commission is done at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council.

Country overview

Poland is the only economy in the EU that has posted positive growth throughout the crisis, though recent economic developments are less encouraging. Poland’s good economic performance throughout the crisis was based on well suited macroeconomic policies, a strong manufacturing base and a price-competitive labour force.

Poland has undertaken reforms to tackle some of the challenges identified in the 2012 CSRs. The government has reformed the pension system, implemented vocational training reform and proposed further changes to the education system, which should help to address high unemployment. In addition, plans to liberalise professional services and improve research funding have continued.

However, Poland faces many other challenges, which require more ambitious and sustained efforts to sustain growth and create jobs. Challenges are concentrated in four areas: public finances, labour market participation, infrastructure and the business and innovation environment.

2013 European Commission's recommendations for Poland in brief

The Commission has issued seven country specific recommendations (CSRs) to Poland to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of:

  1. Sustainable public finances
    Poland has a high fiscal deficit. To get the deficit down and to ensure long-term sustainable public finances Poland should improve the efficiency of spending in the healthcare system and strengthen tax compliance, in particular to combat the shadow economy. It should preserve growth-enhancing investment and improve the targeting of social policies.
  2. Fiscal framework
    The budgetary process in Poland should be improved. To ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances reforms to budgetary coordination between the different layers of government are necessary.
  3. Youth unemployment
    The youth unemployment rate in Poland is high. To permanently integrate young people in the labour market Poland should improve the vocational education system and reduce the number of young people working under fixed-term contracts.
  4. Employment level of women and older people
    Too few women and older people are working in Poland. Older workers, especially women, are not benefitting from the recent increase in employment owing partly to a lack of affordable childcare and care for dependent adults. Poland should also reduce social benefits for miners and farmers to increase incentives to work in other sectors.
  5. Innovation
    Poland has a very low level of investment in research and development and performs poorly in innovation. In order to base economic growth more on innovation, Poland should stimulate private R&D expenditure by appropriate public support measures, such as tax incentives.
  6. Infrastructure – energy, rail and broadband
    Despite sizeable investments in the road network, the Poland’s remaining infrastructure remains underdeveloped which hinders economic growth. Poland should renew and extend its rail, energy and broadband network and strengthen competition in these sectors.
  7. Business environment

Poland performs worse than the EU average in terms of efficiency of its public administration which has a negative impact on the business environment and growth. To improve the business environment Poland should in particular simplify compliance with tax rules, reduce the length of proceedings in civil and commercial cases, the time and conditions to be fulfilled needed to obtain construction permits and the length of insolvency proceedings. In addition, the liberalisation of professional service will improve the business environment.

See how Poland compares with other EU Member States in key areas

European Semester Documents