Thirty-two years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Poland is fast becoming one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in Europe. Daniel Johnson reports in the Telegraph:
On a visit to Wrocław a fortnight ago, the zloty dropped: Poland is rapidly becoming the new central European superpower.
[N]owhere else in the Soviet empire did people’s power prevail so triumphantly as in Poland. The land of lost causes became the vanguard of liberty — and prosperity.
On its current path, Poland is on track to become wealthier than Britain by 2030 thanks to a post-communist economic miracle. The country has become a hotbed for future-facing industries such as battery manufacturing and tech.
Three decades of steady growth has wrought a miracle. The economic disparities have narrowed dramatically. Adjusted for purchasing parity, GDP per head in Poland is now £28,200 compared with £35,000 in the UK, £34,200 in France and £39,800 in Germany. At its current trajectory rate, Poland will overtake the UK by 2030.
Poland has done it the old-fashioned way, be unleashing free enterprise to create wealth for its citizens. This chart is remarkable. Poland’s per capita GDP growth has rapidly outstripped that of the United Kingdom and the European Union as a whole:
Poland’s education system is better than that of the United States or most of the EU:
In education, Poland excels too. It consistently ranks among the top five or six in reading, maths and science out of 38 OECD countries — well above richer countries such as Britain, France or Germany. This lays the foundation for continued future strong economic growth.
Poland has used its newfound wealth to build up its armed forces. As Russia is now reminding us, you can’t be a military power without first being an economic power:
Warsaw’s plan is to double the size of the army to 300,000 soldiers, equipped with the latest Western kit.
Poland is spending some $10bn (£7.9bn) on the US-made Himars artillery systems that have proved so effective on the Ukrainian battlefield, just one example of its significant investment plans.
… Poland has raised its defence spending to 4pc of GDP this year, from 2.5pc last year. This makes Warsaw’s war chest relatively one of the largest in Nato, with plans to sustain or even increase these levels for the foreseeable future.
What this means is that Poland may well soon possess the largest and best land fighting capabilities of all the European members of Nato.
Poland is not without its problems, which are discussed in the linked Telegraph article. But on the whole, its post-USSR story is one of stunning success.