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Poland up to best-ever place in Heritage economic freedom rankings


Poland has moved up seven places to 57th in the world in terms of the level of economic freedom, its highest position ever, according to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual ranking list by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation. The country recorded the 10th largest improvement among the 177 nations covered by the study. Poland’s point score rose by 1.8 to 66 points, giving it 26th place in Europe (out of 43), up from 29th.

Between 2012 and 2013 Poland made significant improvements in six of the 10 economic freedoms covered by the study, including financial freedom, management of government spending, business freedom, and freedom from corruption, according to the report. It praises the country for having created a dynamic environment for entrepreneurs, for its low barriers to free trade and regulations that support open-market policies, as well as a unique record of uninterrupted economic growth. Poland is among five emerging economies (the others being Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates) which have notably enhanced economic freedom in recent years, registering five consecutive years of increasing freedom since the outbreak of the crisis in 2008, with a cumulative score improvement of 3.5 points or more over this period. These countries turned the global economic crisis into an opportunity to upgrade their economic systems, according to the report.

At the same time, it notes that Poland needs to reduce the budget deficit and curb public debt growth, and while the perceived level of corruption has declined, a relatively inefficient judicial system remains a challenge to the rule of law.

As in previous editions of the Index, many other Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries came ahead of Poland, but the gap has narrowed. The Czech Republic joined Estonia and Lithuania in the “mostly free” category (a score above 70 points). Estonia advanced three notches to 13th with a score of 75.3 (up 2.1), Lithuania edged up to 22nd with 72.1 points (up 0.6), while the Czech Republic received 70.9 points (up 1.0), giving it 29th place, up from 30th. Slovakia is 42nd with 68.7 points (up 1.7), Hungary 48th (67.3 points, up 0.2), and Latvia 55th (66.5, up 1.3).

Hong Kong maintained the top spot in the 2013 ranking, followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.

The index ranks countries according to the level of freedom in 10 areas: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labour freedom.

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