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According to Donald Tusk, Poland will catch up with Great Britain. “There is one thing Tusk is definitely wrong about”

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According to Donald Tusk, Poles will become richer than the British in terms of GDP per person before 2030. According to the Polish Prime Minister, this is a result of Brexit. As the British daily “Daily Telegraph” argues, Tusk is wrong, and Great Britain's problems are not only the result of leaving the European Union.

The newspaper explains that the issue is more complex than Tusk presented it in his promise made on the 20th anniversary of Poland's accession to the EU. He recalls that the Italian press adopted a similarly triumphalist tone in 1987, when, thanks to favorable changes in exchange rates, Italy briefly overtook Great Britain in terms of GDP. Today, Italy's GDP is 34 percent higher. lower, and on a per capita basis – by 20 percent.

Read also: “Poles will be wealthier than the British” >>>

According to Tusk, Poland will catch up with Great Britain

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The Daily Telegraph reminds that Tusk's claim that Poland will overtake Great Britain is not new, because the leader of the opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, said it at the beginning of last year, and Tusk refers to the same long-term forecasts of the World Bank.

He points out that not all such forecasts have to come true and, moreover, they depend on the adopted parameters, in particular currency exchange rates. It indicates that Poland's GDP per person is PLN 23,000. dollars, which is less than half of what in Great Britain, and would have to grow well over 3%. per year for Poland to catch up with Great Britain, which according to forecasts will not happen. GDP per person takes into account purchasing power parity, because in this approach Poles are already richer than the British – PLN 49,000. dollars compared to 47 thousand – and in the next five years this difference will increase even further.

“There is one thing that Tusk is clearly wrong about – attributing the difference to membership in the European Union. It was extremely beneficial for Poland, so Tusk is generous in giving credit for it,” says Jeremy Warner, author of the article in the Daily Telegraph.

He explains that the benefits for Poland are not only limited to very large net transfers from the rest of the EU, which have helped it modernize and catch up, but also the competitive advantage provided by relatively cheap labor, which has prompted many European companies to locate plants in Poland.

Moreover, Poles were the main beneficiaries of the free movement of people in the single market. The newspaper notes that theoretically this could have been very unfavorable for the Polish economy, because hundreds of thousands of Poles of working age took advantage of the opportunity to live and work in Great Britain, Ireland and Sweden, the only EU countries that did not impose restrictions in 2004. In practice, however, constant departures proved to be a powerful engine of economic growth in Poland, which gained valuable knowledge from returning migrants and enjoyed a steady stream of remittances.

Economic success of Poland and the EU

The Daily Telegraph emphasizes that Poland's success should not be diminished in any way, as it took advantage of its opportunity in great style, but emphasizes that its current strengths may turn out to be its weaknesses in the future. “High dependence on agriculture and coal clearly does not prepare Poland for faster growth, higher added value and greener service industries of the future,” he writes.

“And while Poland's success obviously has a lot to do with EU membership, Tusk's second argument – that Britain's economic lethargy can be explained by its decision to leave the EU – is not so easy to prove. It may be true, although it cannot be proven, that the UK economy would do better if it remained in the EU. However, if we look at the three largest economies remaining in the EU – Germany, France and Italy – they have all performed as poorly, if not worse, than the UK since the Brexit vote. – notes the Daily Telegraph.

It further notes that the IMF forecasts that the UK will continue to outperform these three countries from next year to the end of the decade, although the differences are marginal. “In other words, if Poland is to overtake the UK in terms of per capita income, it will also overtake France, Germany and Italy. This would suggest that, regardless of Poland's future economic success, the EU will no longer be the main explanation,” he writes.

Main photo source: AA/ABACA/PAP/EPA

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