March 5, 2015
Since Poland joined the European Union in 2004 it has seen GDP figures double. Thanks to this it’s now considered an even better place to live – and a desirable location for setting up an office.
Trade relationships between Scotland and Poland hail back to the 1400s when Scots started to emigrate there, and by the 17th century around 30,000 Scots had settled. More recently and since becoming a member of the EU, Scotland has attracted plenty of Poles - 21,000 have set up businesses in the UK and 25,000 are self-employed. At a business event in Edinburgh last week, which invited Scots to further business links with Poland, Polish Ambassador to the UK Mr Witold Sobkow said: “Over the past 11 years there has been a magnitude of change in Poland.”
This Eastern nation is now being sold as a land of opportunities – thanks to a stable economic situation, market growth and access to regional markets. In 2014 it took 9th place in Bloomberg’s Best Emerging Markets list. The possibility of potentially doing business with 38 million people is a pro. But, with the average monthly salary at just €907 – would you really want to settle there?
According to the Polish Investment and Foreign Investment Agency, the biggest industries in Poland are Aerospace, Finance and Manufacturing. Innovation is also hugely important: with 77 Higher Education institutions in Warsaw there is a lot that can be accomplished when it comes to Research and Development. In 2013, the European Investment Bank backed Polish R&D by lending it €1 billion (€970 million). The European Commission’s biggest research programme Horizon 2020 (which has a huge €80 billion of funding available over seven years), is putting a lot of focus into Research & Innovation and has awarded Poland with over €2 million. The programme supports energy efficiency and low carbon economy projects, environmental protection and adaption to climate change.
In 2009, Poland rejected an EU proposal which supported developing countries to apply measures against global warming. Yet now leaders look to diversify the country’s energy mix with a Government target set to produce 13GW of wind power each year by 2030.
EU membership presents itself as an opportunity, but not as a guarantee for developing business in Poland. Nothing is set in stone, and this applies even more so in 2015 as Parliamentary and Presidential elections will take place in May.