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Poland Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The PiS-led right-wing/conservative government controls a parliamentary majority and enjoys strong public support before the polls scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2019. This is despite strained relations with the EU over the government's alleged efforts to undermine judicial independence. Despite a consolidation of the opposition, and numerous corruption scandals involving the ruling party, PiS is likely to secure an absolute majority for the second consecutive term. If it failed, PiS's inclusion in the future governing coalition would be jeopardised and a centre-left government could potentially be formed by current opposition parties.With the aim of boosting electoral support, PiS announced a massive fiscal stimulus in February 2019. The continuation of the government's welfare programmes is likely after the parliamentary poll, even by an opposition-formed government, increasing the risk of new taxes targeting businesses in the two-year outlook, including in particular an implementation of a suspended retail tax and new digital tax.A high level of red tape, overburdened courts, fiscal risks associated with extended welfare spending, and the government's erratic policy-making present the biggest risks to doing business in Poland. The PiS's conflict with EU institutions subsided prior to the campaign for the European Parliament election held in May 2019 and is unlikely to re-emerge until after the 2019 parliamentary election. Hindered by domestic and external challenges, Polish GDP growth is projected at 4.0% in 2019 (from 5.1% in 2018). Labour shortages, possibly exacerbated by the exit of Ukrainian immigrants, rank among the main domestic constraints to faster growth. Meanwhile, external uncertainty presents downside risks for exports, although foreign demand for Polish goods exceeded expectations in early 2019. On the upside, household demand and investment will continue to support growth, benefiting from government welfare spending, rapid wage growth, and inflows of EU funds. Private investment faces downside risks.
Last update: July 18, 2019

Operational Outlook

Despite an overall positive attitude towards FDI, the PiS-led government argues that Poland needs a more selective attraction policy. Therefore, investment incentives are likely to be directed towards high-tech companies that may create stable and well-paid employment. Improving the infrastructure will remain a key challenge, mainly in light of the country’s still untapped investment potential. The government is also planning to enhance the role of trade unions, although the risk of strikes has increased slightly due to growing demands for higher wages. The crackdown on corruption that mainly affects courts, public tenders, land restitution, and licensing procedures also stays firmly on the PiS agenda.

Last update: June 14, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

Poland co-operates closely with the US and has in recent years increased its international profile, which makes it a probable target for the Islamic militants. The overall threat is likely to remain moderate in the one-year outlook. In the case of an attack, the most probable targets would include US and UK embassies in Warsaw, shopping malls, and public places frequented by tourists, especially in large cities. A different danger comes from the existence of Polish right-wing extremists, although most of their activity takes place on the internet.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

Overall, the number of reported crimes has been decreasing in recent years. Poland has a low rate of violent crime compared with other European countries, but the number of financial- and corruption-related crimes has been rising partially because of more effective enforcement. The incidence of street crime and pickpocketing, which sometimes involves violence, is likely to remain elevated. Warsaw, Krakow, Gdynia, Sopot, and Gdańsk have a high incidence of mugging. Car theft is commonplace and residential break-ins are on the increase.

Last update: June 14, 2019

War Risks

The risk of inter-state military conflicts with Poland's neighbours is elevated. Poland generally maintains positive bilateral relations, although tensions have flared up on several occasions between Poland and Russia. The latest issues included Poland's participation in a NATO missile defence system and its support for plans to host short-range missile interceptors that target short- and medium-range missiles as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with Poland being a strong supporter of tougher sanctions against Russia. These disputes are likely to remain at a political/diplomatic level, with military conflict unlikely. Risk of civil war in Poland is also very low.

Last update: June 14, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

The protest and riot risks will stem primarily from the far-right groups and football hooligans who tend to participate in large, but otherwise peaceful, rallies that mark national anniversaries. Nationalist demonstrations and marches leading to minor injury and collateral property damage are likely to be concentrated in urban centres, particularly Warsaw and Wroclaw. The 2011–14 Independence Day marches in Warsaw all ended in riots. In 2018, 200,000 people participated, some of them carrying racist banners and throwing red-smoke bombs. In addition, animal rights and environmental activism, posing risk of property damage and/or business disruptions, is rising.

Last update: June 14, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Elevated
Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Moderate

The poor state of some roads, in combination with the often-risky driving habits of locals and an abundance of tractor-trailers, often leads to serious road accidents; 3026 people died from such incidents in 2016. Drivers are urged to remain vigilant; it may be preferable to travel by train in winter months due to hazardous road conditions caused by ice and snow.

Visitors are also advised to take only officially-sanctioned taxis with a company name and/or telephone number printed on the light bar. Public transportation is generally reliable and safe. Individuals must have a valid ticket before boarding a bus or a train.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Polish winters (December to February) are very cold (-5°C to -15°C) and snowy. Springs are mild and sunny with nighttime frost until mid-May. Summers are mild any rainy and thunderstorms are common in July. Autumn (September to October) is dry and sunny.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 48
Police: 997 or 112
Fire Dept.: 998
Ambulance: 999

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019