Poland’s Law and Justice Party Finally Went Too Far
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party backed away from controversial press reforms on Tuesday after several nights of street demonstrations in the capital Warsaw.
The concession is a rare victory for the liberal-minded opposition, which has otherwise been unable to stop Law and Justice from reversing the last twenty years of Poland’s democratization and liberalization. Read more
Poland Ignores Expert Advice to Shoot Itself in the Foot
Poland’s ruling conservatives have vowed to abandon the free-market approach of their liberal predecessors in favor of a more paternalistic economic program that experts warn will weigh down on growth.
In an interview with the Rzeczpospolita newspaper that was published under the headline “Farewell to Neoliberalism,” Prime Minister Beata Szydło’s deputy, Mateusz Morawiecki, said that economic policy should “serve citizens, employees, entrepreneurs and Polish families, and not statistics, numbers and percentages.”
The problem, argued Morawiecki — an economist who ran Santander’s Polish banking operation for eight years — is that the country has “to a huge extent” become dependent on foreigners. Read more
Poland’s illiberal turn under the nationalist Law and Justice party is starting to damage the country’s economic prospects.
This weekend, the Moody’s ratings agency, which assesses the creditworthiness of states, switched Poland’s outlook to negative, blaming higher deficit spending and unpredictable public policy.
The International Monetary Fund agreed, warning that “downside risks” to the economy — Central Europe’s largest — have “intensified” in recent months.
Moody’s still considers Poland a reasonably safe investment. Its economy is diversified and has kept growing despite the upheavals in the neighboring eurozone. For a decade, it was the best-performing economy in the EU.
But the trend has been going the other way since Law and Justice returned to power last year. Read more