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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2002 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(98) 701 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(1999) 509 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2000) 709 final - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1752 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1408 - Not published in the Official Journal]Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1207 - Not published in the Official Journal]Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


In its Opinion of July 1997 the European Commission stressed that Polish industry was characterised by the existence of both a vibrant and expanding new private sector which should be able to compete in the Single Market in the medium term, and other sizeable industrial sectors, mostly State-owned, which needed urgent restructuring in order to be able to compete.

The November 1998 Report stressed that Poland had made progress in meeting the short-term priorities set by the Accession Partnership, particularly with regard to the restructuring of industry, but it also insisted on the need to continue to work towards the actual implementation of the restructuring programme for the steel industry.

The October 1999 Report indicated that the industrial policy adopted for the period 1999 to 2000 was based on the same principles as EU policy. However, there were areas where policy and practice had been divergent. There were delays in the transposition of legislation on technical standards, product safety and competition rules. Although Poland was continuing with the privatisation of industry, some sectors, in particular the steel industry, would probably continue to experience a number of difficulties. The results for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), however, were generally satisfactory and Poland had achieved a good level of conformity between its legislation and the Community acquis.

The November 2000 Report indicated that Poland had achieved much in the way of creating an appropriate legal environment in which businesses can operate, as reflected in the flow of foreign direct investment and by the rapid development of the private sector. Policies were usually well defined, but their implementation had been limited. Polish industry was still not very competitive. Further efforts were required in terms of innovation and privatisation, and to adjust Poland's regulatory environment to that of the Community. Privatisation of State-owned enterprises had played a very important role in the Polish economy by speeding up the restructuring process.

The November 2001 Report stressed that little progress has been made by Poland in the field of industrial policy. Greater importance has been attached to promoting investment. Privatisation and restructuring has continued. Significant efforts have, on the other hand, been made to implement a general policy in favour of SMEs. In addition to an increase in the budgetary allocation, there was also progress in terms of access to finance and improving the business environment.

The October 2002 Report stated that Poland had continued to make progress in the field of industrial policy and a policy in favour of SMEs.

The November 2003 Report considers that Poland is able to implement the acquis in the field of industrial policy and SME policy as of accession. Efforts still need to be made in the area of privatisation and restructuring.


EC industrial policy seeks to enhance competitiveness, thus achieving rising living standards and high rates of employment. Its aim is to encourage an environment favourable to initiative, to the development of undertakings throughout the Community and to industrial cooperation, and to foster better exploitation of the industrial potential of innovation, research and technological development policies. EC industrial policy combines instruments from a number of Community policies, and includes both instruments related to the operation of markets (product specification and market access, trade policy, State aid and competition policy) and measures related to industry's capacity to adapt to change (stable macro-economic environment, technology, training etc.).

In order to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union, the industry of applicant countries needs to have achieved a certain level of competitiveness by the time of accession. The applicant countries need to be seen as pursuing policies aimed at open and competitive markets along the lines set out in Article 157 (ex Article 130) of the EC Treaty. Cooperation between the EC and the candidate countries in the fields of industrial cooperation, investment, industrial standardisation and conformity assessment as provided for in the Europe Agreement is also an important indicator of development in the right direction.


The development of industrial policy speeded up in 2002.

In terms of industrial strategy, a medium-term strategy for 2002-2005 has been drawn up by the government. The government also wants to improve the business environment and promote investment. An anti-crisis programme aimed at reducing unemployment and boosting economic growth was adopted in July 2002.

There have been developments with respect to restructuring and privatisation, although the pace of progress remains slow. Poland should, above all, ensure that the implementation of the restructuring policy conforms to the competition and State aid acquis. It is also urged to impart a new impetus to the privatisation of the remaining sectors and companies. The necessary administrative structures in this area should be reinforced.

Poland has made a lot of progress since the Commission's 1997 opinion and restructuring is underway. This chapter has been provisionally closed, no transitional arrangements have been requested and Poland has met its commitments (see the 2002 Report). Poland needs to make further progress in aligning its legislation with the acquis and in completing the restructuring process.

Poland has adopted the medium-term strategy for SMEs, which is mainly aimed at promoting entrepreneurship. Access to finance has been improved with the anti-crisis package. Poland adopted the European Charter for Small Enterprises in April 2002. Efforts have been made to facilitate the implementation of the policy in favour of SMEs, mainly through the merger of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development and the Polish Agency for Regional Development.

The budget resources allocated to SMEs fell from 18 million euros in 2001 to 14 million euros in 2002. Other than that, there were few significant changes in the business environment for SMEs. Programmes in this field will need to be implemented effectively. The representation of the business community also needs to be strengthened.

Poland has made efforts since the 1997 opinion to introduce an SME policy which is close to the acquis. This chapter has been provisionally closed, no transitional arrangements have been requested and Poland has met its commitments (see the 2002 Report). Work will need to be carried out on improving the administrative structure and on ensuring the allocation of sufficient budgetary resources.

Poland has been participating, since December 1998, in the third multiannual programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union (1997 to 2000) (1).

See also

(1) Decision No 2/98 of the Association Council between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Poland, of the other part, of 5 November 1998 adopting the terms and conditions for the participation of Poland in the Community programme in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Official Journal L 315 of 25.11.1998

Last updated: 04.03.2004