1. THE COUNTRY AT A GLANCE
What languages are spoken?
The official language in Poland is Polish. Among foreign languages, English has become predominant, particularly among managers and other professionals. German, French and Russian are also often encountered.
What is the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar, the Euro?
As of 14 January 2016, the average exchange rates for the Polish zloty (PLN) were EUR 1 = PLN 4.3605 and USD 1 = PLN 3.9990.
Describe your country's geography, proximity to other countries and climate
Poland is a country in Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea. Most of the territory is lowlands, but there are highlands and mountain ranges in the southern part of the country. Poland lies in a transitional climate zone between the fairly moderate oceanic climate to the west and the more continental climate to the east. Poland is crossed by various air currents as a result of its location in the centre of Europe and the parallel arrangement of the geographical lands. The average temperature in summer ranges from 16.5 to 20°C and in winter between –6 and 0°C. The average annual air temperature in Poland is 7–9°C (apart from mountain regions).
Are there religious influences or prohibitions on the way business is conducted?
The Polish legal system does not display any particular religious factors that directly affect the conduct of business. The only restrictions that may exist are those sanctioned at the statutory level.
Explain your country's infrastructure. Be sure to explain which cities have airports, railroad systems, ports, and public transportation
Polish State Railways (Polskie Koleje Państwowe) operates in the form of a capital group comprising PKP SA and various operating subsidiaries handling passenger and freight carriage and infrastructure.
There are over 22,000 km of rail lines in operation in Poland. As of the end of 2012, about 43% of rail lines were in good technical condition. The poor technical state of the Polish rail lines has caused the maximum speeds on a significant length of the rail network to be reduced in recent years, extending the travel time significantly on a number of important routes, making rail carriage less competitive and increasing the energy consumption rates of carriers.
PKP SA owns and manages a significant portion of the railway stations and railway infrastructure in Poland. It manages 2,500 stations. Reform of the Polish railway sector has been underway for several years. A key stage of organisational restructuring has been completed, restructuring of finances and assets have been undertaken, and restructuring of employment has begun. The first stage of reform is privatisation of PKP Cargo, the leader in the rail transport of goods in Poland (IPO process pending), since October 2013 PKP Cargo is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
The largest airport in Poland is Warsaw Chopin International Airport. Although half of Poland's air passengers pass through the Warsaw airport, its relative prominence is expected to fall as traffic grows in other regions which had previously been artificially restricted. Other busy airports with scheduled international flights include those in Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Kraków, Katowice, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Szczytno, Wrocław and Zielona Góra. A second airport in the Warsaw area, in Modlin, serves as a regional airport complementing the main Warsaw Chopin airport.
The flagship national carrier is LOT Polish Airlines.
With direct access to the Baltic Sea and a coastline of 528 km, Poland has favourable conditions for development of its maritime economy. Maritime transport and port services are a highly profitable sector. The main ports are at Gdańsk, Gdynia, Świnoujście and Szczecin. The largest of these is the seaport at Gdańsk.
The public transit system is well-developed in major cities, with an extensive network of bus and tram lines (and, in Warsaw, the country's only metro system). It is difficult to present an overall model of operations of municipal transit in Poland because each city administers the system under its own regulations. There are certain typical features, however, such as the need to purchase a ticket for transit, a differentiated fare schedule, and the use of tourist cards providing unlimited travel for visitors.
Explain the communication system
The stationary telephone services market is now growing slowly in Poland and is dominated by Orange Polska S.A. (part of the Orange Group). There is much faster growth on the mobile market, where four major players now compete: T-Mobile (operated by T-Mobile Polska SA), Plus (operated by Polkomtel), Orange (operated by PTK Centertel – TP SA group), and Play (operated by P4).
Describe the public services – i.e. water, electricity, gas. Are they publicly or privately owned?
Public services are provided directly to citizens (within the public sector) by the public administration, or via financing of private commercial companies contracted to provide specific services. Issues considered within the area of public services are not directed to just one of these groups (e.g. only to governmental agencies) but are applicable to all of them regardless of the organisational solutions in place within a given territorial governmental unit.
Public services cover an extensive and varied range of areas that are hard to assess briefly. Some are in poor condition (e.g. the public healthcare system) while others function well (e.g. public supply of water, gas and power). Assessment is also difficult because of variations in services offered across different territorial divisions within the country (provinces, counties and local districts).
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