Poland

 

Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union “Solidarity” that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency.

 

Geography:
Location: Central Europe, east of Germany
Geographic coordinates: 52 00 N, 20 00 E
People:
Population: 38,415,284 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.7% (male 2,910,324/female 2,748,546)

15-64 years: 71.6% (male 13,698,363/female 13,834,779)

65 years and over: 13.7% (male 2,004,550/female 3,245,026) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Poland

conventional short form: Poland

local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska

local short form: Polska

Government type: republic
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 9.451 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 46 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 125 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 86

over 3,047 m: 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 29

1,524 to 2,437 m: 37

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 6 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Polish Armed Forces: Land Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defence Aviation Forces, Special Forces (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18-28 years of age for male voluntary or compulsory military service; conscription suspended in 2009; reserve obligation to age 50 (2009)

Economy:

Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. In 2007, GDP grew an estimated 6.5%, based on rising private consumption, a jump in corporate investment, and EU funds inflows. GDP per capita is still much below the EU average, but is similar to that of the three Baltic states. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy.

 

Unemployment is falling rapidly, though at roughly 12.8% in 2007, it remains well above the EU average. Tightening labour markets, and rising global energy and food prices, pose a risk to consumer price stability. In December 2007 inflation reached 4.1% on a year-over-year basis, or higher than the upper limit of the National Bank of Poland’s target range. Poland’s economic performance could improve further if the country addresses some of the remaining deficiencies in its business environment.

Transnational Issues:

As a member state that forms part of the EU’s external border, Poland has implemented the strict Schengen border rules to restrict illegal immigration and trade along its eastern borders with Belarus and Ukraine.

 

Despite diligent counter narcotics measures and international information sharing on cross-border crimes, a major illicit producer of synthetic drugs for the international market; minor transhipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and Latin American cocaine to Western Europe.