Mateusz Morawiecki made the assessment during a debate on the global economy at the International Monetary Fund in Washington on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The Polish prime minister took part in a panel discussion alongside IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Deutsche Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel, among others.
It was the last part of Morawiecki’s three-day trip to America, during which he held talks with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House and visited a factory producing F-35 fighter jets in Georgia, according to officials.
Ukraine war is 'one of the root causes' of global slowdown
The Polish prime minister told the IMF event that “to address the major challenges” of today, such as global economic slowdown and a “not appropriate level of growth,” the “root causes” must be addressed, and “the war in Ukraine is one of the root causes.”
He added: “This is why I wish that Ukraine very quickly wins this war because one of the basic root causes would be eliminated.”
Polish PM thanks IMF for helping Ukraine
Morawiecki thanked the IMF and its head, Bulgaria’s Georgieva, for supporting Ukraine and derailing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan “to make Ukraine completely bankrupt” and unable to carry out basic functions of the state.
He said: “The European Union, the United States and the IMF, these are the three bodies which collectively are helping Ukraine, month after month, to collect money to support their society.”
‘We are independent from Russian fossil fuels’
The prime minister said that one of the “ripple effects” of the war in Ukraine was “the energy crisis, which so badly hit the whole of Europe.”
He argued that Poland “was a little bit smarter than the others this time in history,” by building “a number of new interconnectors and a gas pipeline system to Norway, and thanks to this, for the first time in our history we are independent from Russian fossil fuels.”
Morawiecki said that Poland would also benefit from the transformation of value chains after the COVID-19 pandemic, by moving many of their elements from faraway countries to neighbouring and allied states in a process known as “friendshoring.”
‘We are no longer the main source of brain drain and cheap labour force’
Morawiecki told the panel that to date, the macroeconomic model of Western Europe had been based on “very cheap energy from Russia,” as well as “very cheap labour force” and “brain drain” from less developed countries such as Poland, “very cheap cost of capital thanks to Bundesbank and now European Central Bank,” in addition to “security for free from America” and “selling high-margin products to China.”
He warned: “All those five pillars are not in a very good shape, to say the least, and probably our Western European friends will have to reinvent their macroeconomic … operational model altogether.”
The Polish prime minister said: “Energy is not going to be for free any longer because of the war in Ukraine, the security provided for the last 70 years for free from America is not going to be as cheap as it used to be for 70 years. Poland and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe are richer and richer and we are no longer the main source of brain drain and cheap labour force.”
Morawiecki estimated that “for the first time in our history … in the last three years, there were many more people coming to Poland than migrating out of Poland for work,” and "that’s without taking into account refugees from war-torn Ukraine."
He cautioned, however: “We have to be honest with ourselves. We are living in a time of a huge revamp and rethinking and re-establishing of not only production chains, value chains but also operational models of many countries.”
Polish economy will be ‘in a much better position’ in a year’s time: PM
Asked about the outlook for Poland and the global economy, Morawiecki said he was “optimistic” that "in a year from now, the Polish economy will definitely be in a much better position.”
He added that the global economy would also be “in a much better position” because policymakers would address “underlying issues” of the current slowdown, including the war in Ukraine, the PAP news agency reported.
Friday is day 415 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: PAP, polskieradio24.pl