Poland has surpassed Portugal on a standard measure of affluence for the first time, according to Eurostat data. It is the second “old” European Union member state – after Greece in 2015 – that Poland has overtaken following its rapid economic growth in recent decades.
The data in question measure gross domestic product (GDP) per capita taking account of price differences (purchasing power standards, PPS) between member states. Recent preliminary Eurostat figures for 2021 show Poland ahead of Portugal for the first time, reports the 300Gosporadka business news service.
Last year, Poland’s GDP per capita at PPS was at 76.9% of the EU average, nearly 3 percentage points above that of Portugal (74.1%) and just behind Spain (84.4%).
Poland’s figure is, however, lower than a number of other eastern EU member states who also joined the bloc in 2004: the Czech Republic (91.5%), Slovenia (90.1%), Lithuania (88.2%) and Estonia (87.4%).
The highest levels of GDP per capita at PPS compared to the EU average were recorded by Luxembourg (277.5%), Ireland (220.6%) and Denmark (133.3%). The lowest were in Bulgaria (55.4%), Greece (64.8%) and Slovakia (68%).
According to Eurostat, expressing figures in purchasing power standards – that is, a common currency that eliminates the differences in price levels between countries – allows meaningful comparisons of GDP.
While the latest figures mark the first time the EU’s statistical agency has put Poland above Portugal, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) did so as far back as 2020.
Poland has enjoyed one of the highest rates of GDP growth in Europe over the last three decades. It was the only EU country not to go into recession between 2007 and 2009 amid the financial crisis and has also been among the strongest performers during the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2021, the Polish economy grew by 5.7%, the fastest expansion in 14 years. At the same time, Poland has been grappling with the highest levels of inflation in the EU, which reached 11% in March, the highest level in over 20 years.