Janusz Steinhoff: Poland is at the best moment in its history. We are catching up with the most developed economies in the world

Janusz Steinhoff: Poland is at the best moment in its history.  We are catching up with the most developed economies in the world

Tadeusz Mazowiecki's cabinet was a breakthrough government. Fortunately for Poland was the determination and consistency of implementing market reforms at that time. It was Leszek Balcerowicz, who is now being criticized by populists, who decided – by pursuing a rational macroeconomic policy – that Poland coped best with the political transformation. Today, Poland is in the best period of its history – says Janusz Steinhoff, former deputy prime minister and former minister of economy, in an interview with “Wprost”.

Agnieszka Niełościowska, “Wprost”: The so-called introduced 35 years ago The Wilczek Act introduced freedom of economic activity. What has changed in this field over the years?

Janusz Steinhoff: The act of the then Minister of Industry in the government of Mieczysław Rakowski made a significant breach in the regulations regarding the economy that had existed in the undemocratic country since the 1950s, i.e. since the times of Hilary Minc, who was building a socialist utopia in the economy of our country. Prime Minister Rakowski attempted economic reforms, but the credibility of the then government did not create any chances for this process to be successful.

The beginnings were difficult.

The parliamentary representation of Solidarity received a social mandate resulting from partially democratic elections, and this formation had a chance to carry out a thorough change of the system of our country. After an unsuccessful attempt to create a government of General Kiszczak, as a result of the formation of a parliamentary coalition, the representation of Solidarity (Civic Parliamentary Club), the United People's Party and the Democratic Party, the government of Tadeusz Mazowiecki was established, which began to dismantle the totalitarian and build a democratic state.

The amendment to the constitution of 1952 opened the way to changing many laws that determined the functioning of the Polish People's Republic. The path to economic freedom was also opening.

How did this economic freedom emerge?

It is worth recalling the state of the economy at that time. Hyperinflation exceeding 600% in 1989, rationing of most consumer goods, collapse of public finances. In December 1989, the government of Tadeusz Mazowiecki sent a package of ten acts prepared by the Minister of Finance, Leszek Balcerowicz, to the Sejm. They were quickly adopted by the Parliament and entered into force on January 1, 1990. The era of market economy began in Poland, on the ruins of the economic utopia of the Polish People's Republic. And this fact should be remembered.

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