The Spanish Ambassador with IE Representatives
Written by Alistair Clark, President of the Emerging Markets Club (IE Business School)
The Spanish Ambassador to Poland, Rafael Mendivil Peydró, came to IE on January 9, 2008 to discuss the «Economic Analysis of Poland and Potential Investment Opportunities for Spanish Businesses». He began his speech by discussing how Poland is a great mystery for most Spaniards; its 20th century history was marked by turbulence through the World Wars and forced Communism thanks to Stalin. Spain is an admired country in Poland, not only because the two countries have had similar historical experiences, but because they respect the economic growth in Spain since entering the EEC in 1986. Poland hopes to emulate Spain’s recent success, but there are three important differences between the two countries: Spain’s economic growth and stability is in large part due to a strong middle-class while Poland is growing too quickly to gauge wealth distribution nor is she as populous or economically strong. In 1986, Spain had already implemented a developed financial system while Poland still has yet to achieve this goal.
A major difference in economic infrastructure between the two countries relates to government employment: the wage level is far lower in Poland and job security is nearly non-existent. However, economic conditions are improving and the Ambassador predicts that Poland will meet the criteria for the Euro in 2012. Once Poland’s economy is on the Euro, inflation and unemployment should become more stable. As Poland becomes more economically stable, direct foreign investment should steadily rise.
The Spanish Ambassador
Today, about 700 Spaniards live in Poland and their investments represent approximately 1.600.000.000 Euros; the Spanish presence, while relatively unknown, is growing rapidly. In terms of revenue, the main Spanish companies in Poland are Ferrovial and Acciona, which work through two Polish corporations, Budimex and Mostostal. Well known Spanish companies are also in Poland, such as Zara and Telepizza, but few Poles know they are Spanish. With increased business ties, Iberian Airlines has established three weekly flights and increases this service to seven per week over the summer. As far as industries go, Spanish companies have developed a strong presence in the Polish real estate market.
The IE Audience