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   About candidate countries
European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Area 312,685 square km
Population There are 38,654 million inhabitants, of which 98% are ethnic Poles. Poland recognises 13 national or ethnic minorities.
Official language Polish

New Democratic Constitution passed in 1997

Administrative division 1999: 16 provinces (wojewodztwo), 308 counties (powiat) and 2.489 communes (gmina)
Application for EU accession  Submitted to the European Commission in 1994
Country information


The Polish state is over 1000 years old. In the XVIth century, under the Jagiellonian dynasty, Poland was one of the richest and most powerful states on the continent. On May 3, 1791 the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania ratified a constitution, being the first written constitution of Europe. Soon after Poland ceased to exist for 123 years, upon being partitioned by its neighbours Russia, Austria and Prussia. The country regained independence in 1918 for only 20 years. In 1989 the first partially free elections in Poland's post-war history concluded the Solidarity movement's ten-year struggle for freedom and resulted in the defeat of Poland's communist rulers. In 1998 Poland joined NATO and began negotiating its full membership in the European Union.

The Constitution passed in 1997 vests legislative power in the Sejm and the Senate The 460 Deputies of the Sejm are elected via party lists and serve a four years term. Parties entering the Sejm have to overcome a 5% (8% for coalitions) threshold. The Sejm plays the dominant role in the legislative process and has the right to supervise the Council of Ministers. The second chamber, the Senate can amend or reject laws passed by the Sejm.

The President is the supreme representative of the Republic of Poland and the guarantor of the continuity of State authority. He is elected for a five-year term of office in direct elections. The President can veto laws. A qualified majority in of the Sejm can override the President's veto.

The Council of Ministers (the Government) chaired by the Prime Minister is the principal body of the Executive Branch. The Prime-Minister-designate is nominated by the largest parliamentary group and is given a mandate by the President to form a cabinet. The National Assembly elects the proposed Council of Ministers.

The country has a variety of natural resources including coal, copper, zinc, iron, gypsum, lignite and some oil and natural gas reserves. The rapidly developing private sector is now responsible for 70% of the country's economic activities. The dynamic development of the private sectors is based on the continuous inflow of Foreign Direct Investment and the high level of entrepreneurial activity of the Polish population. Dominant industries include metalwork, steel, and chemical and textile production. Increasingly trade, high technology and the service sector play an important role in for employment and restructuring of the national economy.

About a fifth of all Poles are employed in agriculture. This contributes to less than 5% of the GDP. About 60% of the country's land is used for agriculture. Almost one fourth of the population still lives on small, inefficient farms. Poland's main agricultural products include grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fodder and livestock.

For centuries Polish culture has been an integral part of European culture. Among the greatest Polish contributors to European culture are: the astronomer Copernicus, the great composer and pianist Fryderyk Chopin and the outstanding scientist Maria Curie-Skłodowska. During the last two decades the Nobel Prize for literature has been awarded to two Polish poets Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska. A long musical tradition is continued by such world-renowned composers as Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Górecki. Films of Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieślowski and Roman Polański contributed highly to the world and European cinema. Polish art and theatre are well known thanks to works of Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor and Magdalena Abakanowicz.

The capital Warsaw (1.6 million inhabitants) is the country's economic and political centre. Cracow - the country's third largest city, has been its cultural centre since the Middle Ages and was in 2000 Cultural City of Europe. Other Polish cities like Gdansk, Poznan, Lódz are of European importance, like the candidature of Wroclaw for EXPO 2010 underlines.

Poland has a high variety of landscapes: the Baltic beaches, the Mazurian Lake District, virgin forests, the Carpathians and the Sudeten Mountains. Poland's 26 national parks and 8 World Heritage sites are a host of historic and cultural sites of European importance and offer numerous tourist attractions.

Reports on drugs situation

National Reports

Disclaimer © European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2002
The texts, reports and publications in this section have been provided by the candidate countries' national focal points. The findings, conclusions and interpretations in these documents are those of the authors alone and do not represent the policy of the EMCDDA, its partners, any EU Member State or any agency or institution of the European Union or European Communities.

documents in English     documents in national language

Related Websites
  1. European Commission: Enlargement: Candidate Country: Poland - This page provides an introduction to Poland's country profile, an overview of of key documents related to enlargement, press releases and interesting links.
  2. Strona Domowa Krajowego Biura ds. Przeciwdzia³ania Narkomanii | Information on National Bureau for Drug Prevention Poland
    Information about the structure of the Bureau, Epidemiological situation in Poland, Activities take up by the Bureau (founds, prevention campaigned etc.), Addresses to the rehabilitation centers and counseling points in Poland, Law regulation concerning the drug related crimes, Links to other websites.
  3. Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii | Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology
    Structure, organization and main activities take up by the Institute, Selected articles form the scientific magazine publishing by the Institute.
  4. Narkomania, narkotyki, HIV/AIDS, HCV, redukcja szkód - Latest changing in Polish law, act of counteracting the drug addiction, description of drugs, links to other websites.
  5. Krajowe Centrum ds AIDS - Basic information about drugs, links to other websites.
  6. CTN Monar Kraków - Information about structure of the organization, basic information about drugs and their influence on human’s body and mind, links to other website (also to the branches of the ‘Monar’, for example foundation in Jelenia Góra).
  7. Centrum Zdrowia Psychicznego i Leczenia Uzale¿nieñ 'FAMILIA' - Information about structure of organization, information about staff and activities take up by these organizations, links to other websites.

documents in English     documents in national language     bilingual websites

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