The Next 20 Years:
Poland and CEE
in the European Union

Twenty years ago, on 1 May 2004, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the European Union.

These eight CEE nations returned to their European home after decades of divisions—and it changed the Union, as well as newly joined member states. CEE-EU countries gained an opportunity to build strong foundations for their growth story by continuing structural political and economic reforms, integrating into a European single market, opening up to the global economy and facilitating investment.

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7:26

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16:49

“For my generation, it was great that we had such a chance to change Poland, to make Poland democratic, to go to the European Union, to NATO, etc. And to see all this, not only see, not only to be witnesses of these changes, but to be the part. Challenge cannot paralyse, it can encourage all of us to do something.”

Aleksander Kwaśniewski

“We may say that the last thirty years were the time of easy growth, because it was about catching up, about bringing capital and importing knowledge. Now the hard part starts. We need to grow based on our own innovation, based on our own sources of productivity improvements.”

Beata Javorcik

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10:27

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13:22

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7:55

“We have to be able to innovate our industry, innovate the sources of our well-being, generally speaking, to keep functioning all the necessary rules for society, staying on the open principle for democratic societies.”

Jiří Rusnok

“What’s CEE in 20 years time? How we manage assets is going to rely heavily on artificial intelligence. And sustainable investment will become a norm—before 20 years, hopefully. And the businesses will transform themselves really radically. And how? Only time will tell.”

Benjamin Jošar

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6:05

“The EU is about partnership. CEE has contributed a great deal to European growth and we need to remember that. EU membership has helped to create a business environment in CEE that has allowed businesses from the EU to invest and benefit from our markets.”

Agnieszka Gajewska
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