Poland and the Czech Republic have a well-trained and competitive workforce and serve as an extended workbench and an alternative for companies in Southern Germany. Moreover, the Czech Republic has also been showing positive signs of further economic recovery.
Poland, one of the countries with the most lakes in the world, is located on the border to Germany and to the east of Central Europe with a population of 38.25 million. It is considered to be a highly developed country and occupies a top position regarding the standard of living. This is related to security and social structure and particularly to the educational system. Within the OECD, Poland is in second place and only Finland ranks better. 90% of all Poles have a higher education degree and the school system is of excellent quality, which can be seen in consistently outstanding PISA Study results.
The Czech Republic, famous for its beer, the Vltava River (Moldau) and the “Golden City of Prague”, borders Germany and boasts of a population of 10.6 million. It is the sixth most densely populated country in the EU. 92% of all adults have a higher education degree. 57.4% of the population speaks English and an even larger share speaks German. The school system’s quality is above average, but compared to other eastern European countries, the Czech Republic fares worse than Poland and Slovenia. Approximately 80% of all citizens have access to the Internet, which is about 5% less than in Germany. With regard to the labour market, the healthcare system and income, the Czech Republic cannot keep up with the world's most developed countries.
The Polish economy and the industry
Since 1990, Poland has systematically supported the liberalisation of its economy. During the global financial and economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, Poland was the only country in the EU that steered clear of a recession. In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), Poland is among the larger European economies. In recent years, the economy has shown positive growth rates and grew moderately in the last four years by 2.9% per annum. Especially from the years after its EU accession until 2009, the country enjoyed growth rates as high as 7%.
The outlook for the year 2016 is positive. Poland is currently the 27th-largest export nation and 24th-largest import nation worldwide. The country exported products and goods worth €153bn in the 2013. The three most important export goods were parts for the automotive industry, machinery and chemical goods. The industrial production shrunk considerably in the years after 1990 due to the decommissioning of many state-owned companies.
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