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Poland

Poland is a country in central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east and, to the north, Lithuania and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Poland has a long coast on the Baltic Sea and is largely dominated by low-lying rolling plains in the north. To the south, the Carpathian Mountains form a watershed and natural border with Slovakia.

The most important sectors of Poland’s economy in 2012 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (26.4 %), industry (24.6 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (13.4 %).

Poland’s main export partners are Germany, UK and the Czech Republic while its main import partners are Germany, Russia and the Netherlands.

Capital: Warsaw

Geographical size: 312 679 km2

Population: 38 538 447 (2012)  

Population as % of total EU population: 7.6 % (2012)

GDP: € 381.48 billion (2012)

Official EU language(s): Polish

Political system: parliamentary republic

EU member country since: 1 May 2004

Seats in the European Parliament: 51

Currency: Polish Złoty PLN

Passport-free travel? Yes, Schengen Area member since 21 December 2007

Presidency of the Council:  Poland has held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU once in 2011.

Poland in the EU

European Parliament

There are 51 members of the European Parliament from Poland. Find out who these MEPs are.

European Parliament office in Poland polski

Council of the EU

In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Polish government, depending on the policy area being addressed.

Presidency of the Council of the EU

The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.

During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.

Dates of Polish presidencies:

Jul-Dec 2011

More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.

European Commission

The Commissioner nominated by Poland to the European Commission is Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who is responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".

Commission representation in Poland

European Economic & Social Committee

Poland has 21 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.

Committee of the Regions

Poland has 21 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.

Permanent representation to the EU

Poland also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Poland's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.

Budgets and Funding

How much does Poland contribute and receive?

Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.

Breakdown of Poland’s finances with the EU in 2012:

  • Total EU spending in Poland – € 15.736 billion
  • Total EU spending as % of Polish GNI – 4.32 %
  • Total Polish contribution to the EU budget – € 3.525 billion
  • Polish contribution to the EU budget as % of its GNI – 0.97 %

More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:

EU-funded projects in Poland

The money paid into the EU budget by Poland helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.

Find out more about how Poland benefits from EU funding.

Practical information