Polish Ambassador on Poland’s Internal and External Affairs at IES
On the morning of June 21, 2012, Polish Ambassador Tadeusz Chomicki gave a talk on his country’s transition process, foreign policies, including Sino-Polish relations, the European debt crisis, etc., at the Institute of European Studies, CASS.
Transition economies have followed two types of political and economic reforms, i.e., radical and gradual. According to Ambassador Chomicki, Poland adopted a radical approach, meaning that it freed prices, cut trade barriers and privatized its state-owned enterprises in a relatively short period of time, often called “shock therapy”. This strategy has succeeded in Poland’s transition process because, only after one or two years of hyperinflation and chaos, its growth rate has been maintained even in the face of repeated international economic crisis, including the international financial crisis a few years ago and the current European debt crisis.
The Ambassador recalled that economic conditions in the era before the transition were hardly sustainable. “When I was a university student conducting field studies with my professor and classmates in a place outside of Warsaw, Poland’s capital, we heard somebody saying that shoes were sold in a nearby shop. We all stood up and rushed there as soon as possible,” he said.
Ambassador Chomicki said that Poland’s geographical location had made it a place of wars between Germany and Soviet Union in the past. “Now, Poland has enjoyed the longest period of peace since the World War II,” Chomicki acknowledged.
Poland has designed a foreign policy of integrating itself with the European Union. He believes that the EU is the right entity for Poland to rely on for trade and security though it has made efforts to improve its relations with Russia. He also mentioned that Poland has achieved great success as an EU presidency in 2011.
China is now one of the important countries for Poland to develop relations. He told the IES scholars that Poland was among the first to recognize the New China in the early 1950s. Chomicki said, “In the early phase of transition, we paid attention to our own affairs at home. Then we dealt with relations with the EU and Russia. Now we are ready to focus on ties with China and other nations,” Chomicki said with a smile.
Ambassador Chomicki agrees that in recent years Poland’s ties with China have been developing steadily. However, compared with the great potentials, the bilateral relationship needs to be further strengthened. He notes, “China is now the second largest economy in the world and Poland is roughly 18th or 19th largest in the world. As a result, there should be more economic and trade cooperation between us.”
The Polish ambassador also touches the European debt crisis. He says that, in reality, the crisis is not as terrible as the media suggests. He emphasizes that, as a whole, the EU”s total debt ratio is only 80%, much lower than that of the US and Japan. “Europe needs more unity, just as China needs more unity,” the Ambassador tells the audience.
Ambassador Chomicki encourages more Chinese tourists to visit his country. He revealed that, in a survey undertaken by the Polish embassy in China, it was found that not many Chinese know that Poland is a very nice and attractive tourist destination.
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