In his first parliamentary speech, PM Mateusz Morawiecki repeated many theses of the government. Some of them are wrong and contradict the experiences of other countries. Others, while right, stand in clear contradiction with the actual actions of the Polish government.
Ukraine needs at the very least 5% annual GDP growth to catch up with neighboring countries in economic development. One option would be improved investment climate for higher FDI and domestic-sourced capital investment. Other options are limited given lack of fiscal space and aging capital assets.
Since its accession to power, the national conservative government, appointed by the PiS party (Law and Justice), is systematically altering the state in order to secure its power on a permanent basis. The opposition is having a hard time. The fact that the electoral law should now be adapted to the party’s needs is not really surprising.
Lowering the retirement age is contrary to the plan of Mateusz Morawiecki, Minister of Economy, which rightly linked in one of the documents the decline in working-age population with a slowdown in economic growth. It will put a drag on catching up with the Western Europe’s living standards.
We need to have in mind that democracy is not a given; it is susceptible and fragile. Many societies of the European countries (and the US too) confirm the thesis that democracy is in crisis and the elite are desperately looking for the cure. How to stop populism and the threat of authoritarianism in Europe (and elsewhere)?
The Ministry of Finance proposed to reform customs in Ukraine with the aim of better transparency and predictability. The model of the reform and changes in custom procedures is currently debated between the Ministry of Finance and the representatives of the Parliament and civil society. The reform will hopefully be implemented by the end of 2017.
Possibility to set statutory VAT rate below 15% for a wider set of different goods and services may lead to lower effective VAT rates in various Member States. Therefore, countries, which have fewer exemptions and/or reduced rates, may maintain the same principles of taxation but lower their standard VAT rate.
Unfortunately, in 2016, the populist Law and Justice government decided to reverse the reform – the pseudo-economic rationale was the infamous lump of labor fallacy. They wrongly claimed that lowering the retirement age would be a perfect tool to fight youth unemployment – retiring seniors would (in their opinion) leave their jobs for young Poles.
Our Athena++ reform plan was made available to the wider public at the beginning of February 2017, aiming to spark further debate. In the upcoming months, we will be presenting our ideas to government representatives, MPs, political parties, professional associations and the media in Slovakia.