Poland YES, Romania NO

4 May , 2015  

Debate Europe launched a discussion about Poland’s readiness to adopt the euro, which enabled me to an old dilemma: why in Poland is possible and in Romania not ? 

In an interview published last week on my blog and in Adevarul, Olivier, a Frenchman who lives in Kiev said that Ukraine needs a “shock therapy”, like Poland, in the early 90’s. About Poland I wrote many times about absorption of EU funds and decentralization “Polish myth is true: the European Commission says,” “The success of European funds absorption Polish-model could not be followed by Romania” whether it was good governance and civil society activism Two Eastern European countries with different paths 

According to the World Bank, Poland has experienced negative growth only in 1992 and had an average annual growth rate of 5.1% in the 90 and 3.8% between 2000 and 2010. In these twenty years Poland’s GDP It increased nearly fourfold. And between 2009-2011 was the only EU member state that has not felt the crisis, with steady economic growth during the crisis. 

By comparison, the average rate of economic growth in Hungary and the Czech Republic during the 1990s was much lower, 1.7% and 2.1% respectively. Romania can not be compared with other states in the former Soviet bloc country “being busy” at the time with fighting between the Hungarian and Romanian, between miners and “golan”. Why Poland has performed so well compared to many other former socialist economies? What is the secret of Poland? 

Professor Grzegorz W. Kolodko, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance during the transition to a market economy of Poland told that without  “shock therapy” period of the early 1990s and the mistakes of the late 1990s, Poland would have been much further now. The polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski believes that because of the shock therapy of the 90’s which cause drastic change and was expensive and painful for many people who suffered then, Poland is today in the forefront of  Eastern European countries. Compared to countries like the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and Estonia, Poland remains the leader in the post-socialist transition. Romania can not enter any of comparison since it joined the EU three years later, we are always analyzed with Bulgaria. 

Professor Kolodko said that Poland has reached what is now becuase of two reasons: due to the late socialist system reforms, which prepared better jump into a full-fledged market economy and the second reason is due to structural reforms and strengthening institutions of 90. He said that the  transition is not necessarily about privatization and liberalization (which is crucial), but about building healthy institutions, consistent with private business flows and business environment which simultaneously insurance the social cohesion . He believes that the combination of the “invisible hand of market power” (possible due to healthy institutions) and rational government power, reasonable and responsible governance represents the economic success of Poland. 

So the story of 25 years of post-socialist Polish history varies considerably from one period to another, but in the end it proved to be good in terms of economic, administrative, multi-level governance and absorption of European funds. 

You Romania, where are you?

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