During the presentation of the government’s new 'Demographic Strategy 2040’ on Thursday, being a part of a broader reform package named the Polish Deal, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has warned that Poland’s pension system would be at risk if the demographic decline continues.
Poland's population now stands at around 38 mln but is on a downward path and, according to EUROSTAT, the EU's statistical agency could shrink to 34.1 mln by 2050.
"We can clearly see that if we don't address a number of key areas in the ‘Demographic Strategy 2040’ here and now, if we don't strengthen the state's support for families, then in a decade or two, there may be a collapse, a paralysis of the pension system, a slowdown of economic growth and a situation where Poles will be unable to fulfil their ambitions and aspirations in Poland," PM Morawiecki stressed.
“Poland and Europe should strengthen their demographic base, but in order to do that, they need to support families,” he went on to say.
The Prime Minister revealed a number of measures aimed at achieving the government's demographic goals, including annual job protection for mothers upon return from maternity leave and for fathers until the baby is one year old, a reduction of the number of allowed consecutive fixed-term job contracts in favour of permanent employment and guarantees of flexible work for parents of young children.
“The demographic programme will strengthen Poland,” he stressed.
The deputy head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Barbara Socha, emphasised that one of the areas considered in the strategy was financial security, adding that "this is the area that we treat... as already well developed in recent years."
She stated that the government also plans to develop family counselling, stressing that "many families who are experiencing difficulties today are left without such support."
The Minister also announced the popularisation of a family-friendly culture and strengthening cooperation with non-governmental organisations.
"We want pro-family content to appear in the media and culture, showing families in an aspirational and positive way. NGOs, which not only operate in the media space but also very intensively in their local environments, play a huge role in this." stressed.
The deputy minister also drew attention to the need to deal with the issue of the organisation of the education system, "from issues related to the organisation of school work... to initiatives related to promoting the adjustment of education to the needs of the labour market."
The last area mentioned by Ms Socha was infrastructure and services.
"We understand infrastructure very broadly, from... education, health services, to creating standards for places that are family-friendly," she pointed out.