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Poland moves up global economic freedom league


Poland climbed a further three places to 68th in the world (out of 179 countries covered) in the annual Economic Freedom Index compiled by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The country’s points score rose by 0.9 to 64.1, a rating that reflects a “moderate” level of economic freedom, following sizeable improvements (by four to five points) in three of the 10 economic freedoms gauged by the Index: investment freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption. At the same time, four sub-indicators deteriorated, albeit slightly (with the exception of government spending, down by three points), according to the Index. The result is well above the world average (59.7 points), but below the regional average (66.8).

Government spending and freedom from corruption remain the country’s weakest points (scores of 43.8 and 50 points, respectively), while trade is seen as almost completely free (87.6 points). The report’s authors praise Poland’s economic resilience in the face of the crisis, increasingly competitive financial system and competitive corporate tax rates. At the same time, they warn about potentially negative effects on the country’s long-term international competitiveness of large fiscal deficits and calls for public finance reform, reduction of red tape and labour market reforms.

As in previous editions of the Index, most other Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries came ahead of Poland: three were rated “mostly free” (a score above 70 points), i.e. Estonia in 14th, Lithuania in 24th and Czech Republic in 28th, whereas four were judged moderately free but with higher point scores than Poland: Slovakia (37th), Hungary (51st), Latvia (56th), Bulgaria (60th) and Romania (63rd).

Hong Kong maintained the top spot in the 2011 ranking, followed by Singapore and Australia.

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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