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Poland country profile

28 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 10 July 2012

The formerly communist Poland became a member of the European Union on 1 May 2004.


Rzeczpospolita Polska

The north of Poland, stretching to the Baltic Sea, consists almost entirely of lowlands while the Carpathian Mountains (including the Tatra range) form the southern border. The Masuria region forms the largest and most-visited lake district in Poland.

The Polish state is over 1,000 years old. In the 16th century Poland was one of the most powerful countries in Europe. King Jan III Sobieski of Poland broke the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683, ending the threat of a possible occupation of western Europe.

Poland is rich in natural mineral resources, including rock salt. The Wieliczka salt mine contains an entire town below ground with sanatorium, theatre, church and café! Everything from stairs to chandeliers is made from salt.

Poland’s current constitution dates from 1997. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The 460 members of the lower house of parliament (the Sejm) and the 100 members of the senate, are directly elected by a system of proportional representation to serve four-year terms

Poland’s traditional dishes include beetroot soup, cabbage rolls (cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice) and pierogi (dumplings stuffed with cabbage and mushrooms, for example).

Famous Poles include the astronomer Copernicus, the composer Chopin, the scientist Maria Curie-Sklodowska, film-makers Roman Polanski and Krzysztof Kieslowski, and the late Pope, John-Paul II.

Official name: Republic of Poland

Area (km2): 312 679

Population: 38.42 (July 2011 est.)

Capital: Warsaw

National holiday: 03 May

Currency: Zloty

Date of joining: 01 May 2004

Head of state: Bronisław Maria Komorowski, since August 2010.

Head of government: Donald Tusk, since November 2007. He leads the liberal Civic Platform (PO) party and governs in coalition with the People's Party (PSL)

GDP (millions €): 362 095.3 (2008); 284 665.8 (forecast for 2009)

GDP per capita in PPS: € 14 400 (2008); € 13 700 (forecast for 2009)

Real growth rate of GDP: 3.8% (2011 est.); 3.8% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate: 12.4% (2011 est.); 12.1 (2010 est.)

National debt as % of GDP: 56.7% (2011 est.); 54.9% (2010 est.)

Inflation: 4% (2011 est.); 2.6% (2010 est.)

Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -2.6% (2011 est.

Source: Eurostat, CIA - The World Factbook


Head of State:

Head of Government:

Foreign Minister:



Map of Poland



Source: European Commission, Spanish EU Presidency


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