Form of Government: Republic
Area: 312 679 sq km
Population: 38 422 346 inhab. (estimate 2017)
Density: 122.88 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 55° - 49° N; long. 14° - 24° E
Capital: Warsaw=Warszawa (capital) 1 758 143 inhab. (2017); Warsaw 3 100 844 inhab. (2016), urban agglomeration
Currency: Polish złoty (100 groszy)
Human development index: 0.855 (rank: 36)
President: Andrzej Duda (PiS), since 6 August 2015
Prime Minister: Mateusz Morawiecki (PiS), since 11 December 2017
National Assembly: seats based on the elections of 25 October 2015: PiS (Law and Justice, conservative), 235; PO (Civic Platform, liberal), 138; Kukiz’15 (right-wing), 42; Modern (liberal), 28; PSL (Polish People’s Party, centrist), 16; German minority, 1
Internet: www.stat.gov.pl (Central Statistical Office of Poland)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code PL
International dialling code 0048
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .pl
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Warsaw 8.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Warsaw -2.5/18.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Warsaw 8/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Warsaw 520
Days of rainfall (annual average) Warsaw 93
Politics and current affairs
On 11 June 2017, a new government led by Mateusz Morawiecki (Law and Justice) replaced the executive branch under Beata Szydlo, a move that was meant to be a conciliatory act towards the EU following tensions over the redistribution of migrants. The conflict with the EU was nonetheless aggravated when, on 20 December 2017, the European Commission enacted for the first time the disciplinary procedure listed in art. 7 of the Treaties, which could lead to the suspension of Poland’s right to vote in Europe.
The Eurosceptic conservative government of the Law and Justice (PiS) party nonetheless moved forward with its controversial justice reform, which is weakening the judiciary’s independence. After increasing political control over judges in recent years, in 2018, a new law for the Supreme Court went into effect that imposes early retirement for many judges in the court.
Poland is bordered to the north-east by Russia and Lithuania, to the east by Belarus and Ukraine, to the south by Slovakia and the Czech Republic, to the west by Germany and to the north by the Baltic Sea.
Occupying the middle part of the great European plain that extends from the North Sea to the Urals, Poland links the German plain to the Russian plain in a series of alluvial plains and low-lying hills that rise to a significant height only to the south in the Sudetes and the Beskids. Sand spits on the Baltic coast encircle enormous lagoons.
Inland the River Vistula, the longest and most important river in Poland, flows through a wide plain. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot summers.
After the elimination of democratic and pro-Western elements during World War II, Poland became part of the Communist bloc in 1947. It embraced democracy in 1987 under the impetus of the Solidarity (Solidarność) trade union, which won a landslide victory in the partially-free elections on 4 and 18 June 1989. Since then centre-left and centre-right coalitions alternated in power up until the election of 25 October 2015, which led to the formation of a single-party government. Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999 and on 1 May 2004, it became a member of the European Union.
Under the Constitution approved by referendum on 25 May 1997, the President of the Republic, directly elected for a five-year term, appoints the Prime Minister who must be voted in by the both houses of Parliament. Parliament comprises the Lower House (460 seats) and Senate (100 seats), whose members are elected for four-year terms.
Military service has been voluntary since 2009. In response to tensions with Russia, the government has significantly increased military spending: an agreement was signed for $4.75 billion to purchase US Patriot missiles.
The legal system is based on Napoleonic Law, reviewed and brought in line with Western European tradition. Recent reforms by PiS have been contested.
|Warsaw=Warszawa||1 758 143||inhab.||2017|
|Warsaw||3 100 844||inhab.||2016|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2017)|
|Foreigners, total||210 328||units||2017|
The economy continues to grow over 4% in 2018 (3.7% in 2019), thanks to consumption and investments supported by EU funds. Unemployment is on the decline.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||113.09||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||496||M US$||2017|
|Active population||17 266 600||units||2017|
|Active population, Females||44.8||%||2017|
|Unemployment rate, Females||45||%||2017|
|Expenses||496 486||M LCU||2017|
|Revenues||421 389||M LCU||2017|
|Currency in circulation||198.4||BN LCU||2017|
|International reserves||113 267.4||M US$||2017|
Agriculture employs a significant share of the workforce. The most important crops are cereals (wheat, barley, maize and oats), potatoes, sugar beet, fruit (especially apples) and vegetables.
The main livestock species are pigs, cattle and farmyard animals. The number of horses raised is particularly high, especially draught horses.
|barley||3 441.09||1000 t||2016|
|cereals, total||29 849.223||1000 t||2016|
|potatoes||8 872.445||1000 t||2016|
|roots and tubers, total||8 872.445||1000 t||2016|
|cabbages||1 091.653||1000 t||2016|
|beans, dry||59.584||1000 t||2016|
|beans, green||3.164||1000 t||2016|
|rapeseed||2 219.27||1000 t||2016|
|sugar beet||13 523.781||1000 t||2016|
|flax fibre and tow||0.05||1000 t||2016|
|hemp tow waste||0.057||1000 t||2016|
|apples||3 604.271||1000 t||2016|
|carrots and turnips||22.308||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, dry||22.272||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, green||0.123||1000 ha||2016|
|sugar beet||205.572||1000 ha||2016|
|flax fibre and tow||0.162||1000 ha||2016|
|hemp tow waste||0.088||1000 ha||2016|
|timber||42 136 000||m³||2016|
|cattle||5 939.046||1000 heads||2016|
|cattle and buffaloes||5 939.046||1000 heads||2016|
|pigs||10 865.318||1000 heads||2016|
|equines, total||188.528||1000 heads||2016|
|birds||187 603||1000 heads||2016|
|freshwater fishes||41 439||t||2016|
|marine fishes||196 199||t||2016|
The Silesian coalfield is one of the largest in Europe, and there are secondary fields at Lublin, Wałbrzych and Nowa Ruda.
At Bogatynia (Turoszów basin) and near Konin and Bełchatów there are rich lignite deposits. Production of oil and natural gas is modest. Other mineral resources include lead and zinc in Silesia, copper, salt, sulfur, silver, magnesite, gypsum and feldspar.
Energy and industry.
Power generation relies almost exclusively on coal-fired power stations. The country has sizeable reserves of shale gas, but exploration has been slowed by administrative procedures and strict European regulations. Oil refineries (the main ones at Plock and Gdańsk) work with imported crude oil, especially from Russia, also supplied via the main “Druzhba” oil pipeline. In Świnoujście there is a regasification terminal.
The traditional heavy metal industry has been reformed progressively to respond to international competition, to attract foreign investments and to reduce the environmental impact. Some of the most polluting factories and mines in Silesia and the “black areas” of Poland have been shut down or modernized. The iron and steel industry is concentrated in Silesia and on the edges of the Silesian coalfield, with other centres at Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Stalowa Wola, Warsaw and Szczecin. Metal-working is important in Wrocław, Poznań and Silesia. There are numerous cement works.
Mechanical industry covers a wide range of productions, including tractors, farm machinery, electrical machinery and home appliances. The railway sector is also relevant.
The motor industry, which relies heavily on foreign capital, is located at Warsaw-Żerań, Poznań, Lublin, Tychy, Gliwice and Bielsko-Biala (cars and vans), as well as Sanok (buses), Dęba (engines), and Starachowice, Tychy and Lublin (trucks). The ship-building industry at Gdańsk, Szczecin and Gdynia is in serious crisis. Chemical works are widepsread throughout the country, while the pharmaceutical industry is concentrated in Warsaw. There are rubber-processing plants at Poznań and Piastów.
The cotton industry is concentrated around Łódź, with wool in southern Poland and the Białystok area; synthetic and artificial textile fibres are also relevant, as in the flax industry. Glass-making is important in Silesia, and porcelain at Ćmielów, Chodzież and Wałbrzych. Other industries include brewing, distilling and tobacco.
|coal||72 175.9||1000 t||2015|
|coal, total||127 076||1000 t||2017|
|dolomite||3 164||1000 t||2015|
|silver||1 400 000||kg||2017|
|- thermal||132 978.98||M kWh||2015|
|- other renew.||20 796||M kWh||2015|
|- thermal||28 982||1000 kW||2015|
|- other renew.||5 970||1000 kW||2015|
|total net generation||155 588.98||M kWh||2015|
|total installed capacity||37 322||1000 kW||2015|
|bikes||1 135 194||no.||2015|
|watches and clocks||10 900||no.||2015|
|air conditioners||247 428||no.||2015|
|bitumen||1 480||1000 t||2015|
|petrol||5 368.5||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||2 200||1000 t||2017|
|caustic soda||60.7||1000 t||2015|
|carpets||2 719||1000 m²||2015|
|cotton fabrics||18.9||M m²||2015|
|footwear||37 131 000||pairs||2015|
|beer of barley||3 990||1000 t||2014|
|coconut oil||0.3||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||171 000||M units||2015|
|cigars and cigarettes||171 000||M units||2015|
|chemical pulp||1 073.264||1000 t||2016|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||1 146.1||1000 t||2016|
|cement||15 500||1000 t||2015|
|sheet glass||98 500||1000 m²||2015|
|chemicals production||6 580.2||M US$||2013|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||14 511.4||M US$||2013|
The trade balance has returned to being active. The main trading partners are EU countries (especially Germany), followed by China, Russia and the United States.
The main imports are machinery, electronics and chemicals.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) vehicles and parts thereof 26 500, machinery and home appliances 25 025, electrical and electronic equipment 17 080, furniture and accessories 12 874, iron and steel 11 347, plastics 10 271, telecommunications equipment 6 890, tyres and rubber articles 5 229, apparel and accessories 5 130, meat 5 090, pharmaceuticals 4 342, timber 4 265, computers and accessories 4 234, technical and electro-medical appliances 4 041
Finance and banking.
The central bank is the Narodowy Bank Polski. The Italian group Unicredit also took part in the commercial banking merger process. The presence of JP Morgan Chase is growing. The Stock Exchange is in Warsaw.
|manufactures||80.304||% of goods exports||2016|
|food products||12.661||% of goods exports||2016|
|Germany||60 210||M US$||2017|
|United Kingdom||14 071||M US$||2017|
|Germany||49 469||M US$||2017|
|China||26 474||M US$||2017|
Tourism. The main destinations are the heritage cities (Warsaw, Cracow) and religious centres (Częstochowa).
Over 40% of tourists come from Germany.
|Expenditures||8 617||M US$||2016|
|Number of arrivals||17 471 000||units||2016|
Media and telecommunication.
In December 2015 the parliament approved a much-disputed act that provides for the government appointment of public information access summits. The law was criticized harshly by the opposition and the European Commission.
|Civil aviation, km flown||72 900 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||7 376.9||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||184.783||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||169.3||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education is free and compulsory from 7 to 15 years (primary and lower secondary).
Upper secondary schooling, lasting for 3 or 4 years, covers various subjects and paves the way to higher education.
Social security and health.
The social protection system is financed partly by workers and partly by the state. Free healthcare is provided by the state. The number of private clinics is increasing. In 2016, the government introduced the program 500+, which includes economic incentives for families with two or more children.
|Expected years of schooling||16.4||years||2016|
|Teachers, primary level||219 826||units||2015|
|Teachers, secondary level||273 481||units||2015|
|Social protection spending||38.3||% of total expenses||2015|
|Social protection spending||19.1||% of GDP||2014|
|Hospital beds||6.6||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|Physicians||2.4||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|HIV||0.1||% of adults||2014|
|Tuberculosis||18||per 100 000 pop.||2016|
|Museums, visitors||33 271 000||units||2015|
|Research and development spending||0.97||% of GDP||2016|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2016|