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How Poland has changed over 20 years in the European Union was told in Migronium

On May 1, 2024, Poland celebrated 20 years since joining the European Union (EU), marking a significant milestone in its post-communist history. Over these two decades, EU membership has had a profound impact on Poland's economy, politics and society. In this article, Migronium migration experts examined the key aspects of Poland's EU membership, highlighting the main achievements, challenges and consequences of this step.

Economic transformation

Accession to the EU in 2004 was the catalyst for significant economic growth and modernization in Poland. From 2004 to 2023, GDP per capita increased from 10,600 to 28,200 euros. Poland has become one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, with average annual GDP growth of around 4%​.

One of the key factors for Poland's economic success has been the significant attraction of foreign investment. Since joining the EU, Poland has received more than €170 billion in investment and financial assistance, allowing it to modernize its infrastructure and improve the competitiveness of its economy.

How Poland has changed over 20 years in the European Union was told in Migronium

Social and demographic changes

EU membership has also brought about significant social and demographic changes. In the first years after accession there was a significant emigration of Polish citizens to other EU countries in search of work. However, starting from the 2010s, Poland began to attract migrants, mainly from countries of the former USSR, such as Ukraine, Belarus, and the Russian Federation.

Since 2016, Poland began to record a positive migration balance, and by 2017 it became the country with the largest number of temporary foreign workers in the world. The crisis on the border with Belarus in 2021 and the influx of forced migrants from Ukraine in 2022 also played an important role.

Political and legal integration

EU membership has contributed to significant changes in Poland's political and legal systems. Poland became part of the Schengen area in 2007, ensuring freedom of movement for citizens. In the legal sphere, national legislation was harmonized with European legislation, which increased the transparency and predictability of the legal system.

However, there were difficulties along the way. The EU has repeatedly raised complaints against Poland regarding compliance with the principles of the rule of law, which has led to the opening of numerous legal procedures against the country.

Facilitation of conditions for obtaining a residence permit (residence permit)

One of the significant changes that occurred due to Poland's membership in the EU was the simplification of the conditions for obtaining a residence permit. As part of harmonization with European legislation, for Residence permit Poland introduced simpler and more transparent procedures for EU citizens and third-country applicants. This improvement has contributed to the influx of skilled professionals and foreign investors, which in turn has had a positive impact on the country's economic growth and development. Since the 2010s, the procedure has become more accessible and less bureaucratic, which has also contributed to an increase in the number of migrants who decided to settle in Poland.

Poland has been in the European Union for 20 years - told in Migronium

Environmental policy

In the environmental field, Poland has made significant strides forward, fulfilling many obligations under EU legislation. However, in some areas, such as waste management and air quality, the country still faces serious challenges. From 2004 to 2022, the European Commission brought 120 environmental infringement proceedings against Poland, highlighting ongoing difficulties in this area.

Migration company experts Migroniumwho help citizens of CIS countries with obtaining a Polish residence permit and citizenship, believe that over the 20 years of membership in the EU, Poland has gone through a significant path of economic and social transformation. Thanks to active participation in European integration processes, the country managed to significantly improve the living standards of its citizens, modernize its infrastructure and strengthen its position in the international arena. At the same time, challenges remain that require further efforts and cooperation with European partners.

However, these two decades have shown that EU integration brings significant benefits, but also requires constant work and adaptation to changing conditions and requirements.

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