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Poland

Yearbook 1999

Poland. According to Countryaah official website, the government's efforts to adapt Poland's economy to future EU membership led to repeated protests during the year from mainly farmers. The farmers' so-called Self-Defense Group set up roadblocks in protest of low prices for agricultural products and with demands for government subsidies. It led, among other things. to hundreds of police and civilians injured in clashes in August. The government bought up surplus production and increased import duties on a range of foods, which in turn caused protests from the EU. But the question of heightened tariff created disagreement within the ruling coalition.

1999 Poland

In September, about 35,000 farmers, miners and others demonstrated. in Warsaw against reforms in health care, pension systems and education. The outdated Polish school system underwent a thorough reform in the autumn term, and teachers protested against extra work and low wages. Health care employees also conducted a series of strikes with demands for higher wages and more resources for care.

Economic growth slowed sharply at the beginning of the year and then regained momentum. For the whole year, forecasts were between 2.5 and 3.7%. But foreign trade went into deficit. The Polish industry had difficulty competing internationally, even in traditional markets such as the Russian Federation and the CIS countries. The government decided during the year to offer parts of the state airline LOT for sale on the international market.

Despite the government's efforts with EU adaptation - i.a. during the autumn a tax reform was run during the battle by Parliament - the EU was not happy with the pace. In November, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement expressed its doubts that until 2003 - when Poland hopes to become an EU member - the Polish Parliament would be able to address the thousands of pages of EU law that remain.

In March Poland joined the NATO military alliance together with the Czech Republic and Hungary. Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek expressed the hope that Poland will be able to contribute to good relations between NATO and the Russian Federation, which opposed Polish NATO membership. But shortly thereafter, NATO began bombing Yugoslavia, weakening relations with both the Russian Federation and Belarus, Poland's neighbor to the east.

Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek was accused at the beginning of the year of cooperating with the security services during the communist era. In May, the Ombudsman declared that there was no basis for the information, a message that opposition politicians described as "outrageous".

In June, the Polish-born pope, John Paul II, visited his former homeland for 13 days. The Polish-Swedish relations flourished during the year through the Swedish initiative "Poland in focus 1999". The Polish year was aimed, inter alia, at for increased trade, strengthened regional cooperation and support for Poland's EU integration, including in the environmental field. Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek visited Sweden in February, and Prime Minister Göran Persson made three visits to Poland.

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