We're not the sick man
From KRZYSZTOF CIEBIEN Consul-in-Charge
IT gives me enormous pleasure and indeed it is a honour to be given this opportunity to address such distinguished readers of the South China Morning Post on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Poland.
Poland is one of the largest countries in central Europe and, with a population of over 38 million, is the largest market in this part of Europe.
As you know, three years ago my country brought about a dramatic change which started a chain reaction throughout central and eastern Europe.
Poland became the first country to break away from the communist ideology and to return to its historical and traditional political and economic values. The road towards democracy and a market economy was embarked upon by the country.
Poland, therefore, was the first country to introduce so-called ''shock therapy'' - the programme of systemic, institutional and economic change which began in January, 1990.
While the transformation process is proving to be more prolonged and difficult than anticipated, successive governments have reaffirmed their commitment to constructing a competitive, open and financially stable market economy in Poland.
Only one year ago, some sceptics in the Western press claimed that Poland had lost heart with the reforms and once again was sliding towards becoming the sick man of Europe.
I am pleased to say that the programme of political and economic stabilisation has proved to be successful. Once again we have proved those sceptics wrong.
Recently, Poland has been heralded as the most successful reforming economy in the region.
The restructuring of the Polish economy (for instance, the steel-making industry, oil refining and petrochemical industries, coal-mining industry) as well as the privatisation of Poland's state-owned sector is once again underway.
These programmes, as well as some other restructuring ones, will require substantial financial resources from abroad. After all, the world is becoming a global village.
I am sure that some of you will find my country an attractive business proposition as well as an interesting place to visit just for tourism.
More information is available at the Consulate General of Poland, Suite 1006, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Central, Hongkong, telephone 840 0779 or fax 596 0062.
I trust local business will take the opportunity to get more information about Poland, as well as trade and investment opportunities in my country.
May I also be permitted to extend my best greetings and congratulations to the Polish people, including those living in Hongkong, on the occasion of the National Day of Poland and express my best wishes of prosperity for the Hongkong people.