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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

II. Country Assessment--Poland


U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Central and Eastern Europe
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
January 2007
Report
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Country Overview

Country Facts
  • Map of PolandArea: 120,728 sq mi (312,685 sq km), slightly smaller than New Mexico 
  • Population: 38,536,869 (July 2006 est.) 
  • Population Growth Rate: 0.05% (2006 est.) 
  • Life Expectancy: Male 70.93 yrs., Female 79.23 yrs. (2006 est.) 
  • Infant Mortality: 7.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.) 
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP): $514 billion (purchasing power parity, 2005 est.) 
  • GDP Per Capita Income: $13,300 (purchasing power parity, 2005 est.) 
  • Real GDP Growth: 5.2% (2006 est.)

Overview of U.S. Government Assistance

In FY 2006, the USG provided an estimated $36.04 million in assistance to Poland, including:

  • $3.26 million in democratic reform programs; and 
  • $32.78 million in security, regional stability, and law enforcement programs.

The last year for new SEED bilateral funding to Poland was FY 2000. Some additional SEED funding for public diplomacy and democracy initiatives were provided to Poland through FY 2003. Other forms of U.S. Government (USG) assistance to Poland continued through FY 2006.

FY 2006 Assistance Overview

U.S. STRATEGIC INTERESTS & FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES

Poland is an ally of the U.S. in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), most notably by contributing to the liberation and reconstruction of Iraq. A close working partner in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Poland has also provided important assistance in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Poland has served as a model of successful economic transformation since its transition from Communism after 1989, creating a sound financial market.

FOREIGN ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

Poland is a fully functioning democratic society with a market economy, a member of the European Union (EU) and NATO. As a result, while the USG no longer provides Poland with development assistance, programs for the Polish military continue, reflecting strong bilateral international strategic cooperation. USG assistance is targeted on strengthening the bilateral relationship; deepening the understanding of the U.S. by Polish decision makers; assisting in military modernization to meet Poland's NATO commitments; and providing Polish military leaders with the needed training to integrate their armed forces better with U.S. forces in NATO and elsewhere internationally. The USG also continues public diplomacy programming.

OPERATING ENVIRONMENT

September 2005 Presidential and Parliamentary elections brought a new government to Poland and 2006 showed increased economic growth and declining unemployment. Poland remains a strong ally of the U.S. and its population is U.S.-friendly.

FY 2006 Country Program Performance

Governing Justly and Democratically

Poland is a fully functioning democratic society. With its accession to the EU in May 2004, Poland achieved the major goals of democratization and Euro-Atlantic integration it set after the fall of communism in 1989. It is now firmly established as a member of NATO and the EU, and there is strong public support for Poland's membership in both these organizations. Poland has played a critical role in supporting the democratic transition its neighbors. Some legacies from Poland's transition from communism remain, most notably in the relatively underdeveloped state of civil society and the country's non-governmental organization (NGO) sector.

U.S. ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

In FY 2006, the limited assistance provided by the USG was targeted at both improving relations between the countries and the knowledge of future Polish decision makers of how democracy in the U.S. functions, through public diplomacy programming and exchanges.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS, OUTPUTS, AND IMPACT

With Poland a member of the EU, the U.S. wants to maintain its historically close ties. During FY 2006, USG assistance sent 63 Poles to the U.S. as part of international visitor exchange programs, the university study, and similar public diplomacy programs. These programs were targeted to help Polish decision makers improve their understanding of how the U.S. approaches a wide range of issues. The USG also provided public diplomacy grants to non-governmental organizations and institutions to promote democracy in Poland and the region and to strengthen understanding of U.S. culture. For example, the USG brought 180 Ukrainian journalists to Poland for training and to raise democratic, cultural, and market economic awareness.

Peace and Security

Poland has significantly improved its ability to counter threats to security and regional stability and uphold the rule of law since 1989. Since joining NATO in March 1999, Poland has supported a number of top U.S. security priorities including the war on terrorism, NATO enlargement, and USG efforts to find a workable compromise on a European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). At the end of 2002, Poland signaled its desire to maintain close defense ties with the U.S. over the long term by deciding to buy 48 F-16 fighters. In 2003, the Government of Poland (GOP) signed letters of offer and acceptance worth $3.8 billion for the F-16 sale and the first F-16s were delivered in November 2006. The highlight of U.S. security cooperation with Poland, however, is Poland's strong contribution to both the liberation and reconstruction of Iraq. It contributed troops to the liberation and has taken a leadership role in providing security for the reconstruction.

U.S. ASSISTANCE PRIORITIES

In FY 2006, U.S. security-related assistance focused on supporting military modernization to meet Poland's NATO commitments and on providing Polish military leaders with the training needed to integrate their armed forces better with U.S. forces in NATO and elsewhere internationally, as in Iraq. U.S. security-related assistance also aids Poland in controlling its borders, increasing aviation security, and modernizing its police investigation capacity.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

During FY 2006, USG programs worked to help the GOP meet NATO force modernization obligations while also contributing equipment to Iraq. In particular, assistance was used to help Poland refurbish five donated C-130s, in order to enhance airlift capability among NATO allies. The USG also provided assistance to improve the professional education of Polish military officers through visits, trainings, workshops, and seminars. During FY 2006, a total of 128 Poles traveled to the U.S. for security-related training. USG assistance trained 16 Polish Border Guards as Air Marshals in the U.S. and brought three Border Guards and two customs officials to the U.S. for training in interdiction techniques. Under a Letter of Agreement signed in FY 2002, the USG provided assistance used for the purchase of computers and software for the Central Bureau of Investigations to use in its fight against organized crime. Other USG assistance funded training for 34 police officers in Poland in modern investigative techniques and provided a one-week study tour in the U.S. for six high-ranking police officers.

OUTPUTS/PROGRAM PERFORMANCE/IMPACT

USG assistance aided in the modernization of the Polish military, enhanced airlift capacity, and increased the professional education of Polish military officers through training in the U.S. Assistance provided to Polish Border Guards as Air Marshals led to a more rapid development of the Polish Air Marshal program and to the construction of a regional Air Marshal Training Facility. Training for Border Guards and customs officials in interdiction techniques increased the Polish police's ability to fight organized crime. As a result of USG assistance provided for the Deputy Director of the Polish National Polish to attend an International Drug Enforcement Conference in Canada, Poland is now a member of the International Drug Enforcement Organization.

The highlight of U.S. security cooperation with Poland is Poland's continuing strong contribution to both the liberation and reconstruction of Iraq. Poland contributed troops to the liberation and has taken a leadership role in providing security for the reconstruction. USG security assistance increases the capability and interoperability of Poland's armed forces contributing to coalition operations with the U.S.

FY 2006 Funds Budgeted for U.S. Government Assistance to Poland [PDF format]



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