Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk claimed that Poland will join the 20 richest nations in the world by 2022, local press reported on Wednesday. This would happen thanks to investments made possible by funds from the European Union (EU) allocated for Poland in the years 2014-2020, said Tusk, following the cabinet meeting which approved spending programs within the current long-term EU budget. "Poland's GDP per capita should reach 80 percent of the EU average" by the year 2022 which would put Poland among the world's 20 richest nations, he told a press conference after the meeting. "Currently Poland's GDP is at 67 percent (of the EU average) and we had more or less 50 percent at the start" when Poland joined the EU in 2004, he added. Tusk said that EU funds for Poland would reach almost 500 billion PLN (170 million U.S. dollars) in the years 2014-2020. Tusk said that in 2016 or 2017 Poland's network of motorways and expressways would become larger than that of Britain, putting Poland in fifth place in Europe, after Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Also, spending on research and development would reach 2 percent of GDP by 2022, he added. The most important challenge was to bring at least 1.5 million Poles out of the poverty zone by 2020, Tusk declared, saying that extra money would also be channelled to the poorest regions and areas suffering from structural poverty.