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Poland Country Report

Country Risk Level

Low

Overview

Executive Summary

The ruling United Right (Zjednoczona Prawica: ZP) coalition is facing a likely collapse after senior coalition party PiS pushed through parliament an animal rights bill opposed by junior coalition partner United Poland (Solidarna Polska: SP), which voted against the bill. The disagreements are likely indicative of disputes within the coalition over future leadership of the PiS party. The most likely scenario is that PiS remains in power with a minority government. An early election is less likely to be called, given that Jarosław Kaczyński would probably want to avoid the risk of losing parliamentary seats. In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak, the government introduced four stimulus packages to support the economy. The “Anti-Crisis Shield 4.0”, approved by parliament on 4 June, includes measures such as loan payment suspension, with EUR129 million allocated for subsidies to interest on loans. Incumbent President Andrzej Duda won 51.03% of the vote, ahead of opposition PO candidate and Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski with 48.97% in the second round of the presidential election on 12 July. Duda is likely to continue supporting the ruling PiS party’s policy agenda.The COVID-19 virus pandemic triggered dramatic cuts in the IHS Markit 2020 growth projection for Poland. Since June, our prognosis is stable at a 4.7% decline. First-half GDP fell by a preliminary 3.3% year on year.Industrial production is falling in 2020 as the external malaise and supply chain challenges hit Poland. Nevertheless, Poland’s industrial sector is more diverse and less export dependent than its neighbors, and unadjusted output slightly surpassed year-earlier levels in June.Looser fiscal and monetary policy is bringing some relief, easing pressures on struggling businesses and individuals. Since March, Poland’s Monetary Policy Council has slashed interest rates and launched quantitative easing.

Operational Outlook

As part of the ‘Anti-Crisis Shield 4.0’ package aimed at supporting the Polish economy in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the government in May 2020 introduced regulations aimed at preventing non-EU investors from taking over Polish companies. Investment incentives are likely to be directed towards high-tech companies able to create stable and well-paid employment. Improving infrastructure will remain a key challenge, mainly in light of the country’s still untapped investment potential. The crackdown on corruption that mainly affects courts, public tenders, land restitution, and licensing procedures also stays firmly on the PiS agenda.

Terrorism

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 centres, 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.

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 crime cases 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, Kraków, Gdynia, Sopot, and Gdańsk have a high incidence of mugging. Car theft is commonplace and residential break-ins are on the increase.

War Risks

The risk of inter-state war 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 plans to build a USD260-million military storage facility at the Powidz Air Base, 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 very low and there are no significant domestic separatist movements.

Social Stability

Anti-government protests over contested issues such as abortion rights and judicial changes, attracting up to tens of thousands of people in the capital Warsaw and other large cities such as Kraków or Wrocław are likely to remain largely peaceful. There is an elevated risk of violence in central Warsaw during entrepreneurs’ protests calling for the reopening of the economy to support businesses following the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak. Demonstrators are likely to throw projectiles and physically confront the police, who will likely respond with tear gas, with a moderate risk of collateral property damage. Other risks stem primarily from far-right groups and football hooligans during rallies marking national anniversaries.

Health Risk

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.

Natural Risks

Transportation

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.

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:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal