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The Warsaw Voice » Business » March 12, 2008
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Polish Reforms Lose Momentum
March 12, 2008 By A.R.    
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19.1 million travelers passed through Poland's airports in 2007. This year the number is expected to increase by 30 percent.

An analysis of 125 countries undergoing economic transformation, carried out by the independent Bertelsmann Foundation from Germany, shows that in recent years Poland has lost ground in a survey assessing countries' progress in building democracy and market economy. Poland was placed 53rd in the "management index," a major fall from 23rd position two years ago and 14th in 2003. Compared with neighboring countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Poland has lagged behind recently in terms of administrative and political reform. Chile is ranked first in this respect, while Poland is lower than Serbia and Albania. The Baltic countries, Slovakia and Croatia are the European leaders.

Poland has maintained its high position, 11th this year, in the "status index," which measures the status of countries' political and economic transformation. The analysis states that bringing the unemployment rate down should be a top priority in Poland, while a reformed labor market should be aimed at investment in human capital and infrastructure. Cutting red tape and implementing comprehensive tax reforms should facilitate innovation and investment.

Development in Poland should be viewed against the background of development of the whole region. Although in the past two years countries in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe have pursued consolidation of democracy and market economies, some saw that trend hampered by growing political polarization and the increasing strength of populist parties. In Slovakia, as in Poland, the government included right-wing populist and extremist parties for some time. Due to their uncompromising methods, the perception of the quality of democracy in the two countries deteriorated.

At the same time, however, economic transformation in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe moved well ahead. The Czech Republic remains the leader of the "status index" on a European and global scale, closely followed by Slovenia and Estonia. Next in Europe come Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Poland. However, these countries still differ markedly in terms of income levels and social inequality.
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