and you proved my point and ifnyounwere smart youd know this.
Communism is to blame.
Despite being held back, Poland and the Czech Republic actually recovered a lot faster than their neighboring countries because they underwent "shock therapy" to quickly restructure their economies away from communism and towards capitalism.
This meant privatization (and often job loses in the interim) and removal of many social safety nets.
Neighboring countries like Bulgaria and Ukraine took the slow, less painful route and didn't privatize as much or as fast and held on to many state funded benefit programs. Their economies haven't advanced much since because of it.
As far as Portugal goes sure it didn't go through communism like Poland did.
So compare Portugal to other EU countries like Germany or even smaller economies like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Finland.
They were never under communism but managed to keep their economies sound and their standards of living high.
Why is Portugal along with Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain different than the other countries in the EU?
Because they didn't believe in fiscal discipline. They over-borrowed and they were weak on collecting taxes. They blew it.
It can take longer to rebuild an economy than it does to crash it. Decades longer. Even a generation.
This is why Poland is still a net beneficiary of EU funds rather than a net contributor to it.
Even as a beneficiary Poland has been very responsible in managing its finances. There is no evidence that Poland would have been an irresponsible spendthrift country if it never had communism imposed on it.