The historical background of Poland

Published: 2019-05-21 18:55:31
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Subject to multiple interpretations, the historical background of Poland has always been disdained with political turbulence and racial violence. However, the confluence of the countrys history and cultural background within Europes heritage highly underpins it contribution in the region. The present case study is aimed at providing a critical review of structure and management of Poland in relations to the political, economic and social dimensions. The structure of the case study will majorly compose of four sections: the background, outline of relevant issues, strategic analysis of the state, recommendations and conclusions that will highlight on the potential global strategy that Poland should implement in the future.

Background InformationHistorical Background

Documented history of Poland traces back to the 10th century when Prince Miesko converted to Christianity in 966 AD and became a tribute territory of the German Empire. However, Poland was further annexed from the German empire when Prince Mieszko opted to be baptized by the Roman church (Lukowski & Zawadzki, 2006). Under the rulership of Piasts dynasty, Poland prospered both politically and economically for the next four centuries. However, the 17th and 18th century marked a decline of the military and political prowess of Poland. In 1654, Russians joined Ukraine against Polands control over Ukrainian Cossacks and in 1655, the Swedish further invaded Poland. In 1767, Poland was forced to sign into a treaty by Russians in order for their borders and the rights of the orthodox Christians to be guaranteed (Lukowski & Zawadzki, 2006). The treaty was marked by the Polish uprising of the Confederacy of bar from 1968 -1772.

Russias domination over Poland led to the forceful acquisition of Polish territories by Prussia and Austria. Prussia acquired Pomerania, Austria took Galicia and Russia acquired Belarus. Poland became a territory of the three states only to gain its independence after the First World War. The Poles regained control of the country in 1918 when Russia was defeated and their soldiers expelled from Poland. However, Polands independence was short-lived with the invasion by Germans in 1939 during the Second World War. The German occupation of Poland was characterized with extermination of over 3 million Jews and additional 3 million Poles. Subsequently, the end of the Second World War marked the second liberation of the Poland. However, Zamoyski (2012) noted that Nazism was only replaced with communist form of tyranny. It was the elections of 1989 that paved the way for democracy in Poland where the Solidarity party won 99 % of upper house seats and thus Tadeusz Mazowiecki was made the Prime Minister. Lech Walesa became the first democratic president in 1990 and the government oversaw the transition of the Polands economy from communism to capitalism (Zamoyski, 2012).

Political StructureAccording to Sejm (2015), the political system of Poland is founded on democracy as stipulated by the constitution of 1997. According to the constitution, the republic of Poland constitutes a democratic state governed by the law, upholding the rules of social justice and ensuring the rights and freedom of its citizens (BBC News, 2015). The Polish political system is further comprised of the following organs, the institutions of the state, political parties and the powers of legislation. The parliament and cabinet system have the mandate to govern the country with the political power shared among the three major organs: the legislature, the executive and the Judiciary.The legislative organ comprises of the Sejm, the senate and the constitutional council.

On the other hand, the executive is made of the president, the prime minister and the council of ministers. The judicial arm of the government constitutes the judicial system, the administrative courts and the military courts (Sulowski et al., 2007). The Polish parliament is known as the Sejm and each citizen above 18 years has right to vote in the parliamentary elections. Candidates for Sejm must be 21 years at the time of the voting and 30 years for senate candidates. The presidential elections for Poland takes place after every 5 years while the parliamentary, senate and the local government elections are held after every four years (Sulowski et al., 2007). The Sejm also known as the lower chamber constitutes of 460 members while the upper chamber comprises of 100 senators. Poland is a member of numerous global organizations that include United Nations, European Union, Council of the Baltic Sea states, the International Monetary Fund, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the world trade organization.

Economic Structure

Since 1990s, Poland has managed to achieve successful transition of its market from communism based to market based economy. According to the recent study by Trading Economics (2015), Poland had an economic freedom of score of 68.6 and therefore emerging as the 42nd freest economy according to the 2015 index ratings. Poland has had the largest growth in the economic freedom score among other states in the Central Europe having advanced by 4.5 % points. In terms of population, Poland constitutes the largest member of EU among the Central and the Eastern Europe nations (World Bank, 2015a). Poland had a population of 38.4 million making it the sixth largest member of the EU. As consequent of its larger population that generates a larger market, Poland had the 9th largest GDP EU and the 23rd largest economy in the world (World Bank, 2015a).

According to Adekoya (2014), in an attempt to solidify its market-based economy, the economic structure of Poland has predominantly focused on the privatization of the small and medium state owned companies and the liberalization of company laws to attract new investors. The economic market could further be categorized into agriculture, industry and service segments. Among the three, service-based companies were identified as the major contributors to the countrys economy accounting for 67.3 %, followed by industry that was at 28.1 % and the agriculture standing at 4.6 %. Although the agricultural segment only accounts for 5 % of the GDP, the industry has been responsible for the self-sufficiency of the country in terms of food production (Heritage, 2015). Some of major agricultural products include sugar beets, potatoes, wheat and rye. However, the agricultural sectors had been greatly hampered by range of challenges that include lack adequate investments, surplus labour and inadequate automation. On the other hand, the industrial sector employs over 29 % of the labor force in the country (Europa, 2015). The local industrial market has been significantly boosted by the membership of Poland to the EU. As a consequence of the ratification of Polands membership to the EU, the tourism sector has developed into a global tourism market in Europe. Major cities in the country have been transformed into key tourists destination with the leading cities including Warsaw, Krakow Wroclaw Poznan and Lublin.

Key IssuesPolands Membership of the EU In 2004, Poland marked 10 years as member of the European commission since the 2004 enlargement of the body. According to Paul (2011), Poland has emerged as the single most benefactor of EU membership since the 2004 enlargement. Over the ten years, Poland has underpinned its capability as key political player in the affairs of the Europe, actively contributing in the regional political and policymaking frameworks. One of the prime benefits of Polands membership to the EU has been the financial support. EU (2014) noted that between 2007 and 2013, the country received a total of 56 billion in the form of development funds. In addition to the development fund, Poland was further earmarked to receive a total of 60 billion in the 2015-2020 budgets (Europa, 2015). Polands accession to the EU has resulted to political, economic and social progress particularly for poles.

From an economic perspective, Poland continuous to experience robust and effectively functioning economic system as consequence of being a member of the EU. In relation to the commerce and financial institutions, EU membership has resulted to the improved profiling of Polands macroeconomic policies and political frameworks. The principal consequences of being an EU member include the creation of single market, abolition of trade tariffs and the development of customs union with a common External tariff which highly facilitates the exchange of goods and factors of production between Poland and members of the EU (Przybylak, 2010). On the other hand, the enlargement of EU to include Poland further improved on investors confidence in the country. Over the last decade, cumulative value of foreign direct investment inflow in Poland totals PLN 405 billion making the country the most preferred foreign investment state among the central and Eastern Europe states (EU, 2014).

According to the lasted report on the progress of Poland, the key highlights of the commerce include the following. The provision for free movement of goods and services facilitated the Polish companies to export goods worth PLN 3.5 trillion to the EU market. Poland has thus development into leading exporter within the EU specializing in the automotive industry, electronics and service delivery. The country has also been able to reverse its trade deficit of PLN 13.5 billion into a trade surplus of 100 PLN billion in 2013(EU, 2014). The countrys performance in the service sector has also been impressive with Poland delivering over 30 % of the total services rendered to the central and Eastern Europe states. Statistics by EU (2014) indicated that Polish firms had accrued a total of PLN 550 billion in profits from their export of services to the EU.

Additionally, Polands membership to EU has further been marked with political maturity and subsequent domination of the organization. Polands influence on the EU has been built up on the following factors, its economic stability during the economic crisis, political stability during the economic crisis, formulation of effective coalition and cooperative strategies with other members and impressive national public support for the EU integration. The rise of Polands position within the politics of Europe has been evidenced by the cordial relationship between Germany, the de facto leader of the organization and Poland. Przybylak (2010) noted that Poland was steadily assuming the role played by France and England who had been weakened by the economic crisis and the prevalence of public opposition to the EU integration.

MigrationEmigration of Poles to the European nations has become a pertinent challenge to both the government of Poland and the EU member states. The upsurge of emigration from Poland has been in part facilitated by the accession of the country into the EU and the subsequent provision for the unrestricted migration of Poles into the member states (Pew Research Center, 2014). Polands imbalance of immigration and emigration rates emerges from the varying perceptions between Poles and the host citizens of the EU community. While Poles are highly attracted towards working and living in other member states of the EU, citizens from the most developed economies in Europe are less attracted to Poland and thus the rate of emigration highly exceeds the rate of immigration into the country.

According to the central statistics office of Poland, over 2.1 million Poles are living abroad, majority of them within Europe (Pew Research Center, 2014). The leading destination of Pole emigrants is England, followed by Germany and Ireland. England and Ireland were the leading proponents of intra-Europe immigration by citizens from the 2004 enlargem...

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