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Minister Jacek Rostowski
Minister of Finance Optimistic on Debt and Growth
Jacek Rostowski, Minister of Finance, is very confident about Poland’s future performance.
European Times: What are your ministry’s current goals?
Jacek Rostowski: : Our main goal for 2012 is to cut Poland’s budget deficit to 3%, and if we reach that target, we will have reduced the deficit by 4.8% in two years. To put this into perspective, this would be the fourth-fastest fiscal consolidation in the EU. We are also looking into pension reform, and I am confident that we will achieve that goal. Moreover, we aim for 2.5% economic growth this year and we plan to reduce Poland’s public debt to 53.7% of GDP from 56.3% in 2011.
European Times: What are some of your ministry’s recent achievements?
Jacek Rostowski: Simply put, we had a very good crisis. Between 2008 and 2011, Poland registered the highest accumulated growth of any EU member at a time when the EU was seeing a general decline in GDP. Poland grew above 15% and the second-highest growth rate was 8%. We also achieved one of the highest growth rates of employment, the largest increase in public investment, and one of the lowest increases in debt-to-GDP ratio. Furthermore, most recent Eurostat data show that Poland joined the group of a few UE countries registering in the first quarter 2012 a decrease in the government debt ratio. The remaining countries are in fact : Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
If we continue to grow at the same rate at which we have been growing in these four crisis years, we will reach today’s Germany’s per-capita GDP by 2028.
European Times: Why is Poland doing so well?
Jacek Rostowski: We avoided a lot of mistakes. At the onset of the crisis we opted not to go for a stimulus package but instead implemented a stabilisation package in the middle of the crisis, which allowed automatic stabilisers to work, especially because of our low debt-to-GDP ratio. I think the fundamental strength of the Polish economy is its very resilient and flexible small and medium-sized enterprises.
European Times: What are Poland’s chief attractions for foreign investors?
Jacek Rostowski: Poland has a large market of 38 million people, a very well educated and creative workforce, low taxes, and infrastructure which is improving exponentially. In addition, our track record proves that Poland is successful not only in good times but also in bad.
European Times: What is your position on the euro?
Jacek Rostowski: Poland will adopt the euro as soon as it is safe. We have a lot of things to do here in Poland to make it safe, but the euro zone has a lot of things to do as well.