Why Australia should take an interest in Poland
The year 2011 has been a historical year for Poland with the first ever re-election of the serving government in the 20 year history of a democratic Poland.
The country emerged from the Global Financial Crisis in exceptional condition compared to other European nations, and has sustained a productive economy with GDP growth of around 3.8%. Poland was rewarded for its success in June this year when it was elected to the presidency of the Council of the European Union. This opportunity allows Poland to showcase its leadership and ability to face increasing challenges in its region. It also gives the nation a chance to familiarise the European community with Poland’s achievements, cultural heritage and natural beauties.
Poland the Food Basket of Europe
With a population of close to 40 million people, Poland boasts the 18th largest economy in the world, the largest among the former Soviet satellites and the 8th largest in Europe. Poland is a significant EU food supplier with agricultural produce and food exports achieving in August 2011 a record level of EUR 9.5 billion, up 11.4% year on year with growth projections at around 10%.
Poland the EU Resources Powerhouse
Poland is the third global producer of mined zinc, sixth in silver, seventh in coal and sulfur (a major export commodity) and among the top ten in copper and second in Europe and Central Eurasia. Poland is also a leading producer in Central Eurasia and Europe of lead, lime, nitrogen, and salt. Poland has 9% of world sulfur reserves, 6% of world copper ore reserves, and significant resources of bituminous coal, salt, silver, lead and zinc ores. The production of iron and steel is Poland’s second-leading industry and coal mining third. The mining and quarrying sector, including mineral fuels and processing, account for 6% of GDP. The base-metals-producing sector registered a 10% increase in sales, while those of the industrial minerals sector rose by 7%.
Poland the EU Greenhouse Emissions Champion
The energy intensity of the Polish economy remains high. Poland is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol and has made a commitment to reduce it’s green house gasses by 6% using 1988 as a base. Over the years 1988–2010, GHG emissions in Poland (without land-use change and forestry) decreased significantly by as much as 35% below the base year. This exceptional reduction has been achieved by implementing a package of policies and measures primarily leading to the improvement of energy efficiency and restructuring of fuel consumption, using energy saving technologies and promotion of renewable energy sources.
A Secure Europe
Security, including energy security is high on the Polish government agenda. “A Secure Europe” is one of the three priorities of its EU presidency. With its 100 000 strong army, Poland makes the largest contribution to European military capacities among the EU new members with a well trained navy, army and air force, modern equipment such as tanks, helicopters, jet fighters, attack aircraft and submarines.
Poland has a well developed defence and aerospace industry, is a NATO member and a vital international partner and ally for the United States. Like Australia, Poland plays a significant strategic role due to its geographical position, trade and political relationships in the region. Poland is committed to a positive political dialogue, security cooperation with other countries and to the stabilisation of international environments.
Australian Polish Trade
Many Australian companies are already active in a diverse array of fields in Poland including real estate development and commercial property development. Packaging specialists Amcor have made a significant investment in Lodz, while Macquarie is involved in the Gdansk Deepwater Port. Mincom is supplying mine planning and asset management software, while Bovis Lendlease is involved with the supply of project management and construction services. Redflex is another Australian company supplying traffic management and speed control/ enforcement technologies. Adelaide based Aerometrex, provider of real time data acquisition, near real-time data feeds and mapping information services opened their European headquarters in Cracow, Poland.