The Economist report on Poland paints a picture of a country where the people are doing OK, shame about the politicians.
As a correction to the usual negative foreign reporting of Poland these days, the article points to the fact that it has come a long way in the 16 short years since the Round Table talks in 1989:
# Prosperity (in parts) that ‘many would find surprising’.
# Goods and services often of European quality but at Polish prices
# Booming exports
# High growth (5%)
# High Foreign Direct Investment
# Booming international travel, powered by cheap airfares (take note, greenies).
The report also points to the gulf between the dynamic private sector and a sluggish public sector.
“The private sector is increasingly able to compete with the rest of the world whereas the public sector, wasteful, expensive and bloody minded, is not,” says Economist journalist, Edward Lucas.
The Economist does point to some of the nation’s many problems, however. One in five out of work with only half of the adult population part of the workforce. The terrible infrastructure, particularly roads. The poor standard of public administration.
But most of the criticisms are aimed at the political class. “Suave but sleazy ex-communists’, ‘prickly, eccentric anti-communists’ is a good way to sum them up, although describing anti-Semite, nationalist homophobes as ‘eccentric’ does seem to be a slightly quaint use of the English language.
The naïve and insular character of present coalition government of PiS, LPR and Samoobrona is emphasized in the report. It describes how diplomats, business people and journalists find the rudeness of the administration particularly frustrating:
‘Diplomats and foreign business representatives in Warsaw trade stories of spectacular scheduling mishaps and outbreaks of pomposity over protocol. A dinner for foreign ambassadors is cancelled at short notice, rescheduled, cancelled again at even shorter notice and suddenly switched to a different venue. Senior figures promise to appear but never show up; requests for meetings go unanswered. “There's a limit to the number of times I can remind them that they are meant to be visiting us soon,” says a sympathetic but exasperated ambassador to Warsaw of another post-communist country. Another foreigner, with many years' experience of dealing with Poland, is blunter: “They are amazingly arrogant and amazingly ignorant.” ’
So, The Economist concludes that the constant stories in the western media of a country populated by anti-semites, homophobes, nationalists and other trogs is a misrepresentation. And I agree.
That’s not to say that there are not anti-semites, homophobes, nationalists and other trogs in Poland, but luckily (or unluckily) most of them appear to be in the current government.
Read the whole thing for yourself here