The Making of Ageing Policy

The Making of Ageing Policy

Theory and Practice in Europe

Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén

Demographic changes transform societies and challenge existing institutional solutions and policies. The need for policies addressing these challenges has increasingly been put on the agenda. The Making of Ageing Policy analyzes these innovative policy ideas and practices at both the international and the national level.

Chapter 6: Did the transition to a market economy and EU membership have an impact on active ageing policy in Poland?

Anna Ruzik-Sierdzińska, Jolanta Perek-Białas and Konrad Turek

Subjects: social policy and sociology, ageing


This chapter focuses on Poland as an example of a country that has experienced considerable change since 1989, from being part of the Eastern bloc to becoming a member of democratic Europe. It transitioned from a centrally planned to a market economy and then, after a preparation period, Poland successfully joined the European Union (EU) in 2004. Poland had to develop democracy and a free market economy and tackle a variety of problems. During the first years of transition, pressing issues were prioritized and questions related to the future, including the ageing society, were pushed aside. More recently, especially after EU accession, there has been a broader interest in ageing, including some genuine actions and programmes. The primary objective of this analysis is to examine the impact of the transition to a market economy and EU membership on active ageing policies in Poland. The transition to a market economy began in the early 1990s and had a considerable impact on the labour market and the welfare regime. After the beginning of the transition, social programmes were first expanded and then curtailed, moving away from collective to individualized solutions.

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