Investment challenges in Poland and support for private equity initiatives: those were the key topics of an expert debate with the participation of Vice-President of the European Investment Bank Professor Teresa Czerwińska, Deputy Minister for Development and Technology Professor Mariusz Jerzy Golecki, President of the Management Board of the Warsaw Stock Exchange Marek Dietl, and leading representatives of financial institutions and firms.

The conference presented the results of the sixth EIB investment survey dedicated to Poland (available in English at The annual survey conducted by the European Union’s bank gathers qualitative and quantitative information on investment activity, financing requirements, and challenges faced by both smaller and larger companies. The survey is carried out in each Member State.

Investment challenges in Poland

The European Investment Bank Group has been supporting the development of the Polish economy since 1990, all the while increasing its engagement. In 2021, Polish companies and public sector entities received a record EUR 6.5 billion, including EUR 5.684 billion from the European Investment Bank and EUR 805.4 million from the European Investment Fund. In terms of volume of financing, Poland ranked fourth among the 27 EU Member States, behind France, Italy and Spain. EIB Group financing represented 1.16% of Poland’s GDP and supported 670,000 jobs across the country.

The European Investment Bank focuses on four areas of the economy: digitalisation, innovation and human capital, sustainable energy and green transformation, sustainable urban and regional development and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2021, EIB financing increased in all these areas.

EIB Vice-President Professor Teresa Czerwińska said: “The increasing volume of investment in the four priority areas sends a very positive signal for the Polish economy. We should now continue the support, especially in the regions affected by the situation in Ukraine. There, the EIB Group’s financing will be crucial to maintain growth and job market stability in these very challenging times.

Deputy Minister for Development and Technology Professor Mariusz Golecki said that Poland has for many years been one of the more attractive destinations for foreign direct investments (FDI).

We stand out globally, and we are the region’s leader. Despite successive waves of the pandemic, 2021 was a record year for FDI inflows,” said Deputy Minister for Development and Technology Professor Mariusz Golecki.

He added that 713 decisions were issued in 2021 for the Polish Investment Zone approving support in an amount exceeding PLN 37.1 billion combined with declarations to create 16,831 new jobs. Compared to 2020, the number of projects increased by 92 per cent year on year, investment value by 145 per cent, and the number of new jobs by 186 per cent. In total, 1,521 support decisions have been issued for the Polish Investment Zone (from September 2018 to the end of 2021) amounting to PLN 73.4 billion of declared investment value and 31,569 new jobs.

Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds

Poland remains the largest investment market for Private Equity and Venture Capital (PE/VC) funds in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2020 alone, they invested EUR 431 million in Poland, which represents as much as a quarter of their total assets,” said Marek Dietl, President of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. “A total of 41 companies from PE/VC fund portfolios have been newly listed on GPW in the last five years, including Allegro, one of the top 10 IPOs globally in 2020. I personally have high hopes for the EU IPO Fund, a fund financed by the European Commission to invest in companies which go public on stock exchanges. The company GPW Ventures, a member of our group, is ready to become a partner of the EU IPO Fund and attract companies to the capital market by offering them financing even before their IPOs,” added Mr Dietl.

EBI survey results: Polish firms’ investment in 2021

  • The share of Polish firms which invest remained stable year on year at 80% in 2021.
  • The share of Polish firms expecting to increase their investments has risen to 80%, which is close to the EU average.
  • COVID-19 hit Polish firms’ sales, with 42% reporting a decline in sales, double the proportion that experienced an increase (22%).
  • Half of Polish firms (53%) implemented at least one advanced digital technology in 2020.
  • Polish firms report improved access to external financing: only 8% are external finance constrained.
  • Nearly half (48%) of Polish firms have plans to invest to address climate change in the next three years.

Compared to EIBIS 2020, more firms in Poland invested in replacing buildings and equipment: the share rose from 45% of firms in 2020 to 49% in 2021, which is in line with the EU average (50%). However, Poland still has one of the lowest investments in intangible assets in the EU.

COVID-19 hit Polish firms’ sales, with 42% reporting a decline in sales, double the proportion that experienced an increase (22%). COVID-19 also had an impact on firms’ investment plans, a third (32%) reporting a downward revision of their investment plans and only 3% reporting an upward revision. Asked about the short-term actions due to COVID-19, digitalisation stood out with around a third of firms (35%) saying that they implemented at least one digital technology.

Almost four in ten Polish firms (38%) invested in the development or introduction of new products, processes or services. The share of Polish firms (53%) which implemented at least one advanced digital technology in 2021 increased in comparison with EIBIS 2020 (50%).

In spite of the difficult circumstances, three-quarters of the firms believe they have invested the right amount over the last three years (76%). However, the share of Polish firms operating at full capacity (47%) decreased compared to EIBIS 2020 (51%) and is close to the EU average (49%).

Access to finance conditions in Poland are improving. Only 8% of Polish firms can be considered as being external finance constrained, lower than the share reported in EIBIS 2020 (12%). It is the first time since the launch of EIBIS that the figure is below 10%. Most firms that used external finance are satisfied with what they received, with the highest level of dissatisfaction relating to the collateral required (9%).

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, 14% of Polish firms have increased their debt position. Public support was important: overall, six in ten firms (61%) in Poland received some form of financial support in response to COVID-19. This is slightly higher than the EU average (56%).

39% of Polish firms have already invested to address climate change while nearly half (48%) have plans to do so in the next three years. Over a third (36%) of Polish firms invested in measures to improve energy efficiency. Moreover, Polish firms were more likely than the EU average to set and monitor internal targets on carbon emissions and energy consumption (52% versus 46%).

Debora Revoltella, Chief Economist at the EIB, said: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is being felt by more than 40% of businesses but the percentage of firms planning to increase their investment has risen to 80%. It is important that almost half of all firms are planning to strengthen their competitiveness by investing to address climate change and implement new technologies, which will certainly support the green transition of the Polish economy.

Panel discussions

The conference included two panel discussions dedicated to investment challenges and support for private equity initiatives. The discussions featured Sandrine Croset, Director of the EIB’s Operations Directorate responsible for the Baltic States and Northern Europe; Tomasz Robaczyński, Member of the Management Board of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego; Leszek Skiba, President of the Management Board of Bank Pekao S.A.; Professor Mariusz Golecki, Deputy Minister for Development and Technology; Artur Osiecki of Rzeczpospolita, Marek Dietl, President of the Management Board of the Warsaw Stock Exchange; Paweł Borys, President of the Management Board of the Polish Development Fund; Alain Godard, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund; Tomasz Poniński, Founder and Managing Partner, Montis Capital; Marta Poślad, Director, CEE & Transatlantic Public Policy Google; Marcin Wysocki, Co-Founder and CIO, Avia Capital.

Link to EIBIS 2022 – national report – Poland –

Link to EIBIS 2022 – general report - EIB Investment Report 2022

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In 2020, the EIB Group provided EUR 5.2 billion in financing for projects in Poland.

About the EBI Investment Survey

The annual EIB Group Survey on Investment and Investment Finance (EIBIS) is an EU-wide survey that gathers qualitative and quantitative information on investment activities by both small businesses (with between 5 and 250 employees) and larger corporates (with more than 250 employees), their financing requirements and the difficulties they face.

The survey collects data from approximately 13,300 businesses in total, across the EU27, the United Kingdom and, since 2019, in the United States. Using a stratified sampling methodology, it is designed to be representative at:

  • EU level,
  • country level, and
  • sector group level (manufacturing, services, construction and infrastructure) and firm size class level (micro, small, medium and large), for most countries.

All survey respondents are sampled from the Bureau van Dijk ORBIS database. Survey answers can be matched to reported firm balance sheets and profit and loss data.

EIBIS is carried out annually, with the first wave of interviews having taken place in 2016. It is designed to build a panel of enterprise data. To this end, all firms that participated in the first wave of the survey are re-interviewed in the following survey waves. To compensate for panel attrition and to ensure cross-sectional representativeness, panel firms are complemented in each wave with a top-up sample of new survey firms.

For more information, visit: EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS) - Details