A story from the most recent print edition of the Economist tracks the rise of Poland’s economy over the last 20 years. Wedged between two very often powerful neighbors – Russia/U.S.S.R. and Germany – Poland had a rough 20th century. But since the collapse of the U.S.S.R. it has become a model for transitioning from a Communist, state-run economy to free market European Union integration. It has done this while maintaining relatively stable relations with its much flashier neighbors. In a time when the EU has come under a great deal of much-deserved criticism, it is important to recognize that it has done some very good things. Integrating Poland with Western Europe provided strong motivation for the country to tackle serious corruption issues and allowed it to secure vital capital. Common immigration policies have also provided the opportunity for ambitious Poles to travel and be educated abroad, bringing their experience back to the country to improve its institutions. Many Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, would do well to emulate Poland’s efforts.


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