Poland

Poland

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Poland

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Competition > Competition: international dimension and enlargement

Poland

1) References

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2002 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 701 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 509 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 709 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final – SEC(2001) 1752 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final – SEC(2002) 1408 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final – SEC(2003) 1207 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) Summary

In its Opinion of July 1997, the European Commission considered that approximation of anti-trust legislation had progressed well, although an effort had to be made to adapt existing legislation. As for State aid, progress had been somewhat limited, particularly concerning the rules on the functioning of the monitoring authority and establishment of the necessary degree of transparency.

The November 1998 Report criticised the backlog in this field and noted that it would be almost impossible for Poland to comply with the short-term Accession Partnership priorities in the field of State aids and antitrust/merger legislation.

The October 1999 Report considered that Poland had made significant progress in aligning its rules on restrictive practices and mergers. However, the alignment of State aid on the Community acquis posed problems. It was of the utmost importance that the overall law on State aid be adopted. Considerable effort must be made to combat distortions of competition arising from State aid and to align the rules on state monopolies in the energy sector and exclusive rights for international telecommunications services on the Community acquis.

The November 2000 Report found that Poland had made progress by adopting a new antitrust law, a regulation on monopolies and, in particular, a framework law on State aid which was based on the fundamental principles of the Community acquis and put in place an ex ante control system of aid projects. The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) had drawn up a relatively satisfactory inventory of State aid.

The November 2001 Report recognised that Poland had made remarkable progress. In April, the entry into force of the law on competition improved the control system, simplified the procedure and gave the OCCP a certain degree of independence. The framework law on State aid which came into force in January and contained among others detailed provisions on the control of sectoral, regional and horizontal aid, was a step forward.

The October 2002 Report considered that Poland had made further progress in this area. Nevertheless, Poland still needed to focus on establishing a more efficient and transparent control of State aid, in particular in sensitive sectors (in particular, the steel industry).

The November 2003 Report acknowledges the work carried out on restrictive practices but stresses that more care is needed to ensure that the State aid rules are correctly applied.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

European Community rules on competition stem from Article 3 (g) of the Treaty, which states that the activities of the Community shall include “a system ensuring that competition in the internal market is not distorted”. The main areas of application are restrictive agreements and State aid.

The Europe Agreement with Poland, which came into force on 1 February 1995, provides for a competition regime to be applied in trade relations between the Community and Poland based on the requirements set out in Articles 81, 82 and 87 of the EC Treaty (ex-Articles 85, 86 and 92) concerning agreements between undertakings, abuses of dominant position and State aid, and for implementing rules in these fields to be adopted within three years of the entry into force of the Agreement.

Furthermore, the Agreement requires Poland to make its rules on competition compatible with those of the Community.

The White Paper refers to the progressive application of the above provisions and of those contained in the merger Regulation (4064/89) and Articles 31 (ex-Article 37) and 86 (ex-Article 90) concerning monopolies and special rights of the EC Treaty.

ASSESSMENT

The new antitrust law and the framework law on State aid, which were adopted in 2000 and came into force in 2001, have enabled major progress to be made in aligning Polish legislation with the Community acquis.

The main challenge at present is to draw up a plan for the effective application of the existing rules on antitrust and State aid. To that end, the OCCP is called on to establish a system of more dissuasive and effective penalties with regard to restrictive agreements which distort competition.

As regards State aid, Poland must put in place a system to control all aid measures, namely, tax breaks for special economic zones and sectoral aid (particularly in the steel industry). It needs to align the tax aid offered to investors in the special economic zones for which authorisation was granted before 2001, but it must also pay special attention to rescue and restructuring aid and R&D aid.

Negotiations on the present chapter are continuing. In order to complete its accession preparations in time, Poland needs to focus on carrying out its alignment and introducing a more efficient and transparent control of State aid.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.


Another Normative about Poland

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007 > Poland – adoption of the community acquis

Poland

1) References

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2002 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 710 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 509 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 709 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final – SEC (2001) 1752 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final – SEC(2002) 1408 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final – SEC(2003) 1207 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) Summary

In its July 1997 Opinion, the European Commission considered that Poland should not have major problems in the area of education, training and youth with regard to accession.

The November 1998 Report generally confirmed this initial assessment, while calling for further efforts in areas such as the recognition of diplomas and vocational training.

The October 1999 Report noted that some progress had been made in this field but called for greater attention to be given to the vocational training sector. Cooperation between the administrative institutions concerned had to be accelerated to allow Poland to develop an educational system which offered young people new opportunities, particularly in the regions most affected by the economic and social transition.

The November 2000 Report stated that, despite some limited progress in terms of legislation, this had yet to be adopted. The implementation of education reforms was continuing but with some difficulties.

The November 2001 Report noted that Poland had made progress in reforming its education and training system and in bringing Polish legislation into line with the Directive on the education of the children of migrant workers. However, a suitable vocational education and training system still had to be put in place.

The October 2002 Report noted that further progress had been made in terms of legislation but work remained to be done to ensure adequate administrative capacity.

The November 2003 Report states that Poland should be in a position to implement the acquis as soon as it joins the EU. However, it must continue its efforts to implement the provisions relating to the education of the children of migrant workers.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

The EC Treaty requires the Community to:

  • contribute to the development of quality education which shall include a European dimension and shall support and supplement the action of the Member States while respecting their cultural and linguistic diversity (Article 149, ex Article 126) with regard to the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems;
  • implement a vocational training policy which shall support and supplement the action of the Member States (Article 150, ex Article 127) and shall aim to facilitate adaptation to industrial changes and increase employability.

These provisions are implemented principally via three main action programmes (Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth for Europe), which were recently updated with the introduction of a new generation of programmes (Socrates, Leonardo and Youth).

EVALUATION

The reform started in September 1999 was primarily aimed at raising the overall attainment level. Poland has opted for a secondary education system that puts greater emphasis on general technical and higher education with a view to increasing school-leavers’ mobility in the labour market. In addition, the reallocation of management responsibilities (voivodships, poviats, gminas) will eventually improve the distribution of financial sources.

Vocational training was generally ignored by the reform, which focuses mainly on the general and higher education system. This could have medium-term consequences for Polish competitiveness, employability, inward investment and redevelopment of the rural economy. Further attention is required in this area, in particular to address the skills deficit in rural and remote regions and in regions where industrial restructuring will require new investment and new employment.

Since March 1998 Poland has been successfully participating in the Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth programmes and national agencies have been established to promote and provide information on each programme. In April 2002, Poland adopted a legislative clause allowing foreigners to study in Poland.

Poland has undertaken education reforms, particularly with regard to teachers. In January 1999, it adopted an amendment to the teachers’ charter, introducing a new career system in which promotion depends on obtaining higher qualifications. The aim of the charter is to solve the significant problem of unequal salaries among teaching staff in order to attract competent, dedicated teachers. However, there was a delay in the introduction of pay increases for teachers in 2000 because of the budget deficits of some local authorities responsible for paying teachers’ salaries.

In this connection, the Ministry of Education was reorganised in October 2001 and renamed “Ministry of Education and Sports”. A new department for vocational education and training and further education was set up with additional capacity.

The entry into force, in January 2001, of an amendment to the law on school education has brought Polish legislation into line with the Directive on the education of the children of migrant workers. Further work is needed in this area, however.

In order to complete preparations for accession, Poland must now concentrate on establishing the administrative capacity necessary to implement the acquis in this area and, more generally, on implementing the education reforms.

Poland has been making steady progress since the Commission’s Opinion of 1997. Negotiations on this chapter have been closed for the time being (see the 2002 Report). Poland has not asked for transitional arrangements in this area.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

 


Another Normative about Poland

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Enlargement > Enlargement 2004 and 2007 > Poland – adoption of the community acquis

Poland

1) References

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2002 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 701 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 509 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 709 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [SEC(2001) 1752 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final – SEC(2003) 1207 – Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) Summary

In its Opinion of July 1997, the European Commission considered Poland’s consumer protection standards to be inadequate. To comply with the Community acquis, Poland would therefore have to make a major effort to adopt a certain number of crucial new laws and would also have to amend many existing laws to align them with European Community standards.

The November 1998 Report confirmed this initial assessment and emphasised the delays in adopting and applying the Community acquis.

The October 1999 Report again emphasised Poland’s lack of progress in this field and the need for it to make a considerable effort to meet this medium-term accession partnership priority.

In its October 2002 Report the Commission noted that Poland had provisionally closed negotiations on this chapter and had not requested any transitional arrangements.

The October 2003 Report indicates that Poland is largely in line with the acquis in terms of safety-related measures, non-safety-related measures and consumer organisations. In order to complete its preparations for membership, Poland must continue its work on adopting the acquis, strengthen its capacity to implement the legislation and above all ensure that the general public and business operators have a sufficient understanding of the legislation and of the rights and obligations which it generates.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

The Community acquis covers the protection of consumers’ economic interests (notably in the fields of misleading advertising, indication of prices, consumer credit, unfair contract terms, distance selling, package travel, and timeshares), general product safety, cosmetics safety, the labelling of textile products and toy safety.

The European Association Agreement provides for aligning the legislation with Community law and for cooperation measures to bring Polish consumer protection law fully into line with the Community rules. The measures set out in the first phase of the White Paper on the Central and Eastern European Countries and the Internal Market (1995) focus on the improvement of product safety, notably in respect of cosmetics, textiles and toys, and on the protection of consumers’ economic interests, mainly in the field of misleading advertising, consumer credit, unfair contract terms, and indication of prices. The second-phase measures concern package travel and timeshares. New, recently adopted Community legislation (distance selling, comparative advertising and indication of prices) must also be transposed.

EVALUATION

Non-safety-related measures

Non-safety-related measures have been transposed, with the exception of legislation on distance contracts and doorstep canvassing. Further checks are also needed to supplement those introduced to ensure that consumers’ economic interests are protected.

Poland must also transpose the acquis in relation to the judicial authority responsible for consumer protection and increase the human and financial resources available for this.

Safety-related measures

Poland still needs to transpose certain aspects of the non-safety-related measures, for example the revised Directive on general product safety. It also needs to provide the administrative bodies in this area with more staff and an increased budget. Market surveillance in terms of general product safety is already partly in place, and Poland now needs to concentrate on improving cooperation between the bodies responsible for this surveillance.

Consumer protection

As for consumer protection, an act establishing regional consumer advocates entered into force in January 1999. The job of these consumer advocates is to provide consumers with free legal advice and information and to institute lawsuits on their behalf.

Further progress has been made since then: new mediators have been appointed and increasing use is being made of the conciliation courts, thereby relieving pressure on the ordinary courts. The Office for Competition and Consumer Protection also oversees the handling of complaints lodged by consumers and provides them with advice when asked. In addition, this body provides consumer organisations with financial assistance so they can develop free advice services for consumers, information and education campaigns, comparative testing and publication of brochures.

Apart from this visible progress, the Polish Government also needs to provide better financial support for consumer organisations so they can play their part in implementing consumer protection law and in informing and educating consumers and businesses.

It also needs to promote the role of these NGOs in establishing safety standards for consumer goods.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

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