Every day seems to bring a new economic horror story from Europe. But not this day, not on the Deep End anyway. Just for once, we’re going to focus on the upside – in particular, the good news story that is Poland.
This comes courtesy of a wide-ranging and ever-so-slightly envious piece on Spiegel Online:
- "Things have been steadily improving in Poland for more than two decades. And even with other European economies stagnating, the Polish boom continues unabated. In 2009, a year of crisis, when the German, Italian and British economies each shrank by about 5 percent, Poland was the only country on the continent to experience economic growth (1.7 percent). By 2011, the Polish economy was already growing by an impressive 4.4 percent. The country's successes are on full display throughout Poland. The once-backward agricultural country has become a giant construction site, where cranes dot the skylines of major cities and some already boast high-tech paradises. No matter who wins the European Championship, if growth trends in the last decades are any indicator, the Poles are already Europe's champions."
If this article has a fault it is in continually emphasising just how close to the European mainstream the Poles have become. Poland is, of course, better off closer to Brussels than to Moscow – but the things that really explain the country’s success owe little to either the European or Russian ways of doing things:
- "…ever since liberal conservative Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski came into power in 2007, and then, in 2011, became the first administration since the fall of communism to be democratically reelected, Warsaw has been seen as a role model. It has long since incorporated a debt limit into its budget, and it signed the fiscal pact without further ado."
So, yes, Poland signed the fiscal pact – but, in a provocative departure from standard practice, it has stuck to sensible budgetary limits and hasn't fiddled the figures.
Oh, and one more thing:
- "Statistics show that hardly anyone in Europe works as much per year as the Poles, and that they are also happier on average than other Europeans."