Living Abroad Migrant Life

Poland Updates: EU Battles, Low Unemployment, and Potential Farming Upswing

This week the TransferGo Blog introduces a new regular series that will focus on Poland.

Since the fall of communist rule and Poland joining the European Union, the country’s story has been one of continued success and growth – both economically and socially.

Poland is Central Europe’s largest economy, the sixth largest in the EU, and ranks twentieth worldwide. Poland also has the distinction of being the only EU country that did not go into recession during the 2008 financial crisis.

Most observers attribute Poland’s prosperity to government reforms, which favoured economic reform and liberation, strict public and private debt guidelines and tax and incentive schemes that create a favourable climate for foreign entrepreneurs.

Small and medium businesses are the driving force of Poland’s incredibly diverse economy.

Another result of the government reform and policies is the number of immigrants heading to Poland. After years of migration by Polish nationals looking for better opportunities, a significant number of Poles are now returning to the country. They’re accompanied by a number of EU nationals working for the Polish offices of international countries and EU expats.

Poland’s Unemployment Rate Well Below EU Average

One example of the health and growth of the Polish economy is the country’s unemployment rate.

In June the rate dropped to 4.8 percent, almost 2 percent less than in June 2016. This represents Poland’s lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.

While the EU average has also improved since June 2016, it remains almost 2 percent higher and currently stands at 7.7 percent.

EU Orders Halt to Controversial Logging

The Białowieża forest in north-east Poland is one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe.

Recently the Polish government has begun logging operations in the forest, which according to Polish officials, is necessary to stop a spruce bark beetle infestation.

The EU Court of Justice has issued a temporary order to halt logging operations. Brussels has argued that the logging operations cause irreparable harm to the forest. According to the Polish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko, “We are conducting protective measures to protect habitats and species in the Białowieża Forest, in accordance with European Union law.”

The Polish government has provided its response to the Court of Justice and a final ruling is expected shortly.

EU Gives Poland Ultimatum over Judicial Reform

Populist movements have gained a great deal of traction over the last few years and the rise in populism is credited for the results in the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump. Populist movements in other parts of the EU (notably France and Netherlands) seem to have lost much of their momentum.

In 2015 the populist Law and Justice party (PiS) came into power using such campaign slogans as “Poland will get off its knees.”

Recently the party’s chairman (and according to many the most powerful politician in Poland), Jarosław Kaczyński, introduced a number of judicial reforms. The net effect of the reforms is to subordinate the Polish courts to political interference.

The EU has given Poland thirty days to drop the proposal. The European Council has stated that if the proposed judicial reform takes effect, the Council will enact the “nuclear option” and strip Poland of the right to cast a vote in the European Council.

Farmers Take a Look at Moving Operations to Poland

A number of businesses have stated that Brexit will cause them to face labour shortages and have begun to look at options for relocating within the EU.

One sector that has not received a great deal of attention is farming.

Farmers have depended on international workers to help with harvests and other farm duties for over two decades. Now, the few labour shortages have meant a steady drop in applicants for upcoming seasons.

Several larger farms have either already partnered with Polish farms or are looking at selling their farms in the UK and moving to Poland to continue their businesses.

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