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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » May 7, 2008
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From the news editor
May 7, 2008   
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What is Poland's status in the enlarged European Union four years after accession? Hardly anyone could be more qualified to comment on the subject than Danuta Hübner, the EU commissioner for regional policy, who was previously Poland's minister for European affairs and headed the government-run Office of the Committee for European Integration. In an interview for the Voice, Hübner says that while Poland is one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, many problems remain to be solved.

If Poland wants to maintain its rapid economic growth, Hübner adds, it needs to attend to other factors behind competitiveness, such as innovation. Warsaw also needs to make haste in learning the ropes on environmental protection, Hübner says, because a considerable part of the EU's structural funds cannot be used in this country due to a lack of environmental impact evaluations and documentation.

This year's Labor Day celebrations May 1 were a good opportunity to take a closer look at the left end of the Polish political spectrum. May 1 parades, once a key annual event for Poland's leftist parties, were heavily fragmented this year, with the largest ones attracting no more than 2,000 participants. Judging by this alone, the state of Poland's left-wing parties leaves much to be desired these days.

One of the most criticized economic decisions of the previous government was that it put privatization in the country on hold for two years or so. The new government is determined to speed up privatization. It has unveiled a four-year plan that calls for the sale of state-owned shares in 740 companies to generate up to zl.30 billion in extra revenue for the Treasury. The plan covers sectors such as energy, financial institutions, oil and chemicals. To be put into practice, the government's privatization agenda requires an amendment to the privatization law, so that privatization procedures become more transparent. For now, the government's privatization agenda has won the thumbs up from the business community.
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