Poland’s first 10 years

OECD Observer

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski of Poland (right) greets Secretary-General Angel Gurría. ©Polish government

“One of the most remarkable transitions in modern history,” is how Secretary-General Angel Gurría described Poland’s accomplishments since the end of the Cold War, in a special address at a conference celebrating 10 years of Polish membership of the OECD held in Warsaw on 23 November 2006.

At a time when the OECD is discussing enlargement, “we still very much have the example of Poland in mind”, the secretary-general said.

Mr Gurría briefly retraced Poland’s modern history, its emergence from communism and subsequent structural changes. Joining the OECD in 1996 helped Poland to integrate itself into global policymaking circles and to gain access to the experience of other OECD countries. “Poland was also a potent symbol of a changing world,” Mr Gurría argued, pointing to other central European countries, Korea and his own home of Mexico as other examples of countries that joined the OECD at around the same time.

The secretary-general outlined Poland’s progress: its robust growth rate–some 4% per year since 1995–a skilled workforce, and high foreign investment. The number of students in higher education is nearly five times what it was in 1991, and with education investment, “Poland is laying the foundations for future growth and greater competitiveness to come”. Mr Gurría also described the OECD’s contribution to this success story, which began before membership, in the Partners in Transition programme, he recalled. Over the years, the organisation has helped develop Poland’s modern tax system, competition law and pension reform, while the combat against inflation also reflected OECD policy advice. Labour market reform and public governance have also benefited.

The secretary-general saw some difficult challenges ahead, with stubborn unemployment, high public spending and taxation, and emigration. Fighting corruption was another challenge, and the OECD chief emphasised the need to make Poland “a more attractive place for the creation of businesses and employment”.

Reforms are not easy to implement, and the OECD’s mandate was to “make reforms happen without losing the support of voters”, Mr Gurriá remarked. The secretary-general concluded by reaffirming the OECD’s readiness to back Poland “in all those areas where progress is lagging”. RJC

The full speech, “A vision for Poland: Joining the world’s most advanced countries”, is available online at www.oecd.org/speeches

©OECD Observer No 258/259, December 2006




Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q2 2018 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.9% Sept 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.2% Sept 2018
Last update: 13 Nov 2018

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Globalisation will continue and get stronger, and how to harness it is the great challenge, says OECD Secretary-General Gurría on Bloomberg TV. Watch the interview here.
  • OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York City.
  • The new OECD Observer Crossword, with Myles Mellor. Try it online!
  • Watch the webcast of the final press conference of the OECD annual ministerial meeting 2018.
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018