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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
Poland
 
Flag of Poland                                Map of Poland
 
Background:Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Solidarity suffered a major defeat in the 2001 parliamentary elections when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament, and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union's political role. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.
  
Geography
  
Location:Central Europe, east of Germany
Geographic coordinates:52 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references:Europe
Area:total: 312,685 sq km
land: 304,465 sq km
water: 8,220 sq km
Area—comparative:slightly smaller than New Mexico
Land boundaries:total: 3,056 km
border countries: Belarus 416 km, Czech Republic 790 km, Germany 467 km, Lithuania 103 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Slovakia 541 km, Ukraine 529 km
Coastline:491 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
Climate:temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
Terrain:mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
Elevation extremes:lowest point: near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
highest point: Rysy 2,499 m
Natural resources:coal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land
Land use:arable land: 40.25%
permanent crops: 1%
other: 58.75% (2005)
Irrigated land:1,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:63.1 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 11.73 cu km/yr (13%/79%/8%)
per capita: 304 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards:flooding
Environment—current issues:situation has improved since 1989 due to decline in heavy industry and increased environmental concern by post-Communist governments; air pollution nonetheless remains serious because of sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the resulting acid rain has caused forest damage; water pollution from industrial and municipal sources is also a problem, as is disposal of hazardous wastes; pollution levels should continue to decrease as industrial establishments bring their facilities up to EU code, but at substantial cost to business and the government
Environment—international agreements:party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
Geography—note:historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain
  
People
  
Population:38,518,241 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 15.5% (male 3,070,388/female 2,906,121)
15-64 years: 71.1% (male 13,639,012/female 13,761,154)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 1,964,429/female 3,177,137) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 37.3 years
male: 35.4 years
female: 39.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:-0.046% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:9.94 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:9.94 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.991 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.618 male(s)/female
total population: 0.941 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 7.07 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 75.19 years
male: 71.18 years
female: 79.44 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:1.26 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:0.1%; note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:14,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:100 (2001 est.)
Major infectious diseases:degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality:noun: Pole(s)
adjective: Polish
Ethnic groups:Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7% (2002 census)
Religions:Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)
Languages:Polish 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)
  
Government
  
Country name:conventional long form: Republic of Poland
conventional short form: Poland
local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
local short form: Polska
Government type:republic
Capital:name: Warsaw
geographic coordinates: 52 15 N, 21 00 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo); Dolnoslaskie wojewodztwo, Kujawsko-Pomorskie wojewodztwo, Lodzkie wojewodztwo, Lubelskie wojewodztwo, Lubuskie wojewodztwo, Malopolskie wojewodztwo, Mazowieckie wojewodztwo, Opolskie wojewodztwo, Podkarpackie wojewodztwo, Podlaskie wojewodztwo, Pomorskie wojewodztwo, Slaskie wojewodztwo, Swietokrzyskie wojewodztwo, Warminsko-Mazurskie wojewodztwo, Wielkopolskie wojewodztwo, Zachodniopomorskie wojewodztwo
Independence:11 November 1918 (republic proclaimed)
National holiday:Constitution Day, 3 May (1791)
Constitution:adopted by the National Assembly 2 April 1997; passed by national referendum 25 May 1997; effective 17 October 1997
Legal system:based on a mixture of Continental (Napoleonic) civil law and holdover Communist legal theory; changes being gradually introduced as part of broader democratization process; limited judicial review of legislative acts, but rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are final; court decisions can be appealed to the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Lech KACZYNSKI (since 23 December 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Donald TUSK (since 16 November 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers Waldemar PAWLAK (since 16 November 2007) and Grzegorz SCHETYNA (since 16 November 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers responsible to the prime minister and the Sejm; the prime minister proposes, the president appoints, and the Sejm approves the Council of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 9 and 23 October 2005 (next to be held in the fall 2010); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm
election results: Lech KACZYNSKI elected president; percent of popular vote - Lech KACZYNSKI 54%, Donald Tusk 46%
Legislative branch:bicameral National Assembly or Zgromadzenie Narodowe consists of the Senate or Senat (upper house) (100 seats; members are elected by a majority vote on a provincial basis to serve four-year terms), and the Sejm (lower house) (460 seats; members are elected under a complex system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms); the designation of National Assembly is only used on those rare occasions when the two houses meet jointly
elections: Senate - last held 21 October 2007 (next to be held by October 2011); Sejm elections last held 21 October 2007 (next to be held by October 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PO 60, PiS 39, independents 1; Sejm - percent of vote by party - PO 41.5%, PiS 32.1%, LiD 13.2%, PSL 8.9%, other 4.3%; seats by party - PO 209, PiS 166, LiD 53, PSL 31, German minorities 1; note - seats by party as of February 2008 - PO 209, PiS 159, LiD 53, PSL 31, German minorities 1, nonaffiliated 7
note: one seat is assigned to ethnic minority parties in the Sejm only
Judicial branch:Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judiciary for an indefinite period); Constitutional Tribunal (judges are chosen by the Sejm for nine-year terms)
Political parties and leaders:Civic Platform or PO [Donald TUSK]; Democratic Left Alliance or SLD [Wojciech OLEJNICZAK]; Democratic Party or PD [Janusz ONYSZKIEWICZ]; German Minority of Lower Silesia or MNSO [Henryk KROLL]; Law and Justice or PiS [Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI]; League of Polish Families or LPR [Roman GIERTYCH]; Left and Democrats (LiD) (a coalition formed by the SLD, PD, SDPL, and UP) [Wojciech OLEJNICZAK]; Polish People's Party or PSL [Waldemar PAWLAK]; Samoobrona or SO [Andrzej LEPPER]; Social Democratic Party of Poland or SDPL [Marek BOROWSKI]; Union of Labor or UP [Andrzej SPYCHALSKI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:All Poland Trade Union Alliance or OPZZ (trade union) [Jan GUZ]; Roman Catholic Church [Cardinal Stanislaw DZIWISZ, Archbishop Jozef MICHALIK]; Solidarity Trade Union [Janusz SNIADEK]
International organization participation:ACCT (observer), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Wojciech FLERA; note - Robert KUPIECKI has been named the next Polish Ambassador to the US by the Polish Government
chancery: 2640 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-3800 through 3802
FAX: [1] (202) 328-6271
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Victor ASHE
embassy: Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31 00-540 Warsaw
mailing address: American Embassy Warsaw, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-5010 (pouch)
telephone: [48] (22) 504-2000
FAX: [48] (22) 504-2688
consulate(s) general: Krakow
Flag description:two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white
  
Economy
  
Economy—overview:Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization since 1990 and today stands out as a success story among transition economies. In 2007, GDP grew an estimated 6.5%, based on rising private consumption, a jump in corporate investment, and EU funds inflows. GDP per capita is still much below the EU average, but is similar to that of the three Baltic states. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy. Unemployment is falling rapidly, though at roughly 11% in December 2007, it remains well above the EU average. Tightening labor markets, and rising global energy and food prices, pose a risk to consumer price stability. In December 2007 inflation reached 4.1% on a year-over-year basis, or higher than the upper limit of the National Bank of Poland's target range. Poland's economic performance could improve further if the country addresses some of the remaining deficiencies in its business environment. An inefficient commercial court system, a rigid labor code, bureaucratic red tape, and persistent low-level corruption keep the private sector from performing up to its full potential. Rising demands to fund health care, education, and the state pension system present a challenge to the Polish government's effort to hold the consolidated public sector budget deficit under 3.0% of GDP, a target which was achieved in 2007. The PO/PSL coalition government which came to power in November 2007 plans to further reduce the budget deficit with the aim of eventually adopting the euro. The new government has also announced its intention to enact business-friendly reforms, reduce public sector spending growth, lower taxes, and accelerate privatization. However, the government does not have the necessary two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto, and thus may have to water down initiatives in order to garner enough support to pass its pro-business policies.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$624.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$413.3 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:6.5% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$16,200 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 4.1%
industry: 31.9%
services: 64% (2007 est.)
Labor force:17.01 million (2007 est.)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 16.1%
industry: 29%
services: 54.9% (2002)
Unemployment rate:12.8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:17% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 27% (2002)
Distribution of family income—Gini index:36 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.1% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):21.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $80.53 billion
expenditures: $88.7 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:44.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:potatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork, dairy
Industries:machine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles
Industrial production growth rate:10% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:146.2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:120.4 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:16.19 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:5.002 billion kWh (2005)
Oil—production:32,800 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:462,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:51,780 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:480,300 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:96.38 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:5.828 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas—consumption:15.58 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:42.2 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:10.01 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:158.1 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-18.13 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$137.9 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:machinery and transport equipment 37.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 23.7%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 17.1%, food and live animals 7.6% (2003)
Exports—partners:Germany 27.2%, Italy 6.6%, France 6.2%, UK 5.7%, Czech Republic 5.6%, Russia 4.3% (2006)
Imports:$150.7 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:machinery and transport equipment 38%, intermediate manufactured goods 21%, chemicals 14.8%, minerals, fuels, lubricants, and related materials 9.1% (2003)
Imports—partners:Germany 29%, Russia 9.6%, Italy 6.4%, Netherlands 5.7%, France 5.4% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$61.46 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$187.8 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$104.2 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$10.68 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$149.1 billion (2006)
Economic aid—recipient:$1.524 billion in available EU structural adjustment and cohesion funds (2004)
Currency (code):zloty (PLN)
Exchange rates:zlotych per US dollar - 2.81 (2007), 3.1032 (2006), 3.2355 (2005), 3.6576 (2004), 3.8891 (2003)
note: zlotych is the plural form of zloty
Fiscal year:calendar year
  
Communications
  
Telephones—main lines in use:11.475 million (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:36.746 million (2006)
Telephone system:general assessment: modernization of the telecommunications network has accelerated with market based competition finalized in 2003; fixed-line service, dominated by the former state-owned company, is dwarfed by the growth in wireless telephony
domestic: mobile-cellular service available since 1993 and provided by three nation-wide networks with a fourth provider beginning operations in late 2006; cellular coverage is generally good with some gaps in the east; fixed-line service is growing slowly and still lags in rural areas
international: country code - 48; international direct dialing with automated exchanges; satellite earth station - 1 with access to Intelsat, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Intersputnik
Radio broadcast stations:AM 14, FM 777, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:40 (2006)
Internet country code:.pl
Internet hosts:5.681 million (2007)
Internet users:11 million (2006)
  
Transportation
  
Airports:123 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 83
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 39
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 40
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 22 (2007)
Heliports:7 (2007)
Pipelines:gas 13,552 km; oil 1,384 km; refined products 777 km (2007)
Railways:total: 23,072 km
broad gauge: 629 km 1.524-m gauge
standard gauge: 22,443 km 1.435-m gauge (20,555 km operational; 11,910 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways:total: 423,997 km
paved: 295,356 km (includes 484 km of expressways)
unpaved: 128,641 km (2004)
Waterways:3,997 km (navigable rivers and canals) (2006)
Merchant marine:total: 11 ships (1000 GRT or over) 55,701 GRT/45,082 DWT
by type: cargo 6, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Nigeria 1)
registered in other countries: 102 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Bahamas 15, Cyprus 18, Liberia 14, Malta 25, Norway 3, Panama 15, Slovakia 2, St Vincent and The Grenadines 1, Vanuatu 7) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Gdansk, Gdynia, Swinoujscie, Szczecin
  
Military
  
Military branches:Polish Armed Forces: Land Forces (includes Navy (Marynarka Wojenna, MW)), Polish Air Force (Sily Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, SPRP) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:17 years of age for male compulsory military service after January 1st of the year of 18th birthday; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscript service obligation shortened from 12 to 9 months in 2005; by 2008, plans call for at least 60% of military personnel to be volunteers; only soldiers who have completed their conscript service are allowed to volunteer for professional service; as of April 2004, women are only allowed to serve as officers and noncommissioned officers (2006)
Manpower available for military service:males age 17-49: 9,681,703
females age 17-49: 9,480,641 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 17-49: 7,739,472
females age 17-49: 7,859,165 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 275,446
females age 17-49: 265,164 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:1.71% (2005 est.)
  
Transnational Issues
  
Disputes—international:as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Poland has implemented the strict Schengen border rules to restrict illegal immigration and trade along its eastern borders with Belarus and Ukraine
Illicit drugs:despite diligent counternarcotics measures and international information sharing on cross-border crimes, a major illicit producer of synthetic drugs for the international market; minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and Latin American cocaine to Western Europe

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