Polish Apples in America

August 20, 2014
Polish Apple Pie

Polish Apple Pie

The Polish authorities are asking the USA for permission to export Polish apples to America, according to Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf who has been quoted as saying, “Open the door for Freedom Apples”. For years Americans have not allowed EU apples on their market (except for Italy). Officially, the US authorities give health reasons in an effort to protect their own market. Now Poland is attempting to get approval for export due to the Russian embargo on the import of agricultural products from the EU and the USA, including apples. The Polish Ambassador in Washington Ryszard Schnepf has already discussed the recently implemented sanctions by the Russian Federation with Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse. According to Schnepf, Americans are not precluding the use of fast track approval, but further meetings with the heads of agencies working with agricultural products to the United States are necessary. On 18 August there will be a meeting during which Poland will provide the Americans with a list of fruit and vegetables most affected by the Russian sanctions. So far Poland has exported broccoli and peppers to the USA. The Polish Embassy in Washington has posted a video of Schnepf touting “delicious Polish apples” on Facebook and Twitter. “Dear American friends, please join me in asking the US Government to open the door for our Freedom Apples,” the Polish Ambassador encourages.
wyborcza.pl

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American Market for Polish Specialists

August 18, 2014
American Dream?

American Dream?v

Will America open its market for Polish specialists? Highly skilled specialists from Poland are much sought-after on the European labour markets and so perhaps they will also be wanted in the US. “Polish engineers are welcome in Germany, Norway and Italy,” says Tomasz Szpikowski, president of a company that provides engineering services in many countries. For example, in Germany there are about 8,000 engineers from Poland who mainly work in the automotive industry, mining, airline industry or in green energy. However, many labour market experts are concerned about the Polish market because if highly qualified Polish staff continue to supply EU labour markets, Poland will run out of professionals. The sixth round of negotiations of the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between the European Union and the United States took place recently during which a new area was included: the unification of regulations of certain professions. Therefore, there is a chance that professional diplomas may soon be respected on the both sides of the Atlantic which would be an important step forward. According to Agnieszka Cieślok of HRK, a firm that helps support companies in improving efficiency, such a prospect raises both hopes and concerns. For example, for young, talented employers for whom a journey to the USA is an opportunity to spread their wings. Agnieszka Cieślok believes that these young people will gain competence and perhaps an entrepreneurial way of thinking typical for the United States. However, there is still a long way to go to a unified transatlantic labour market and the waiving of visas. The list of occupations that would be covered by the reform has not been completed yet, although professions as architects, auditors, lawyers and accountants are being taken into consideration.
polskieradio.pl

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Poland, Business Partner of China

August 5, 2014
Polish Dragon (in Kraków)

Polish Dragon (in Kraków)

On 30 June, Warsaw was visited by representatives of one of the largest provinces in China: Shandong. During the meeting, which included 90 companies from Shandong province, the head of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) Sławomir Majdan encouraged Chinese entrepreneurs to enter the Polish market. He also emphasised that Poland has been one of Europe’s top countries in terms of development during the global economic crisis. “We want Chinese companies to play an important role in the creation of new jobs in Poland as well as participating in Polish reindustrialisation,” said the head of PAIiIZ. Grażyna Hanclewska, deputy Minister of Economy, noted that China is Poland’s largest trading partner in Asia. “We are also interested in developing cooperation with particular provinces,” she said. According to Hanclewska the prospective areas of Polish-Chinese economic cooperation are: environmental protection, energy, metallurgical industry, machinery, chemical, agricultural, food, construction, transport and mining. “All forms of cooperation related to modern technologies are important for Poland,” she added. Grażyna Hanclewska also stressed that Poland is the EU leader when it comes to economic growth. “For more than 20 years Poland has consistently had positive economic growth,” emphasised the deputy minister. Also deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Katarzyna Kacperczyk argued that the prospects for the Polish economy are good and she added that Polish foreign trade and Polish entrepreneurship is developing rapidly. According to the deputy governor of Shandong Province Xia Geng, Poland continues to be China’s strategic trade partner in Central Europe. He also stated that Poland has great potential and trade between the two countries is growing every year. Data from the Ministry of Economy shows that in 2013 exports of Polish goods to China amounted to $2.1 billion dollars. Chinese imports to Poland amounted to over $19 billion.
polskieradio.pl

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First Job, Then Marriage

July 29, 2014
But Most Prefer a Job

But Most Prefer a Job

People without their own source of income are postponing plans to start a family. Therefore, the number of marriages has fallen over the past five years, according to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, based on data of the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The data show that during the past year, 29,000 newlyweds did not have their own source of income and were living on solely one partner’s or relatives’ saved money. This is, however, considerably less than it was during 2002-2003, which were the worst years in this respect. According to Janusz Czapiński, a social psychologist at the University of Warsaw, the cause of these positive changes is the improvement of the situation on the labour market, although it is still extremely difficult. There are also many more adult Poles aged 25-34, who still live with their parents. In the years 2005-2013 alone this number increased by 700,000 to 2.8 million people.
fakty.interia.pl

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Kaczyński’s Accusations

July 22, 2014
Pointing the Finger

Pointing the Finger

During one of his recent speeches, Jarosław Kaczyński of Law and Justice (PiS) criticised the Polish economy, healthcare and education systems. According to the PiS head, none of these areas are in a satisfactory condition. Rising unemployment has resulted in mass emigration to highly developed countries where career opportunities are significantly more varied and attainable. Kaczyński also mentioned that Polish healthcare cannot be trusted. Nowadays, it seems that it is more profitable to let seriously ill patients die than help them. He continued saying that the procedures of making appointments are so complicated and time-consuming that many patients have to wait months to visit a specialist. In addition, social assistance is not available to all those who need it. There are thousands of families that do not receive any support from the government and as a result, there is a large number of undernourished children in Poland. In his speech, opposition leader Kaczyński did not forget about the Polish education system and said that educational programmes in Poland need to be entirely reorganised. He said that the issue of textbooks should also be resolved – constantly changing textbooks do not improve the quality of education but only worsen the financial situation of many families. PM Donald Tusk replied to these comments. He claimed that many young people have managed to find well-paid jobs over the last months in Poland, while the level of emigration is now much lower than in 2008. When it comes to the problem of healthcare in Poland, he said that the government is currently working on a new bill that aims at improving all complicated procedures that prevent patients from obtaining the necessary care. Last but not least, he touched upon the issue of social assistance. He explained that the amount of income per family has been raised so as to enable more citizens to receive financial benefits. According to The Economist, Tusk is the one who is correct. As the magazine reports, Poland is treated by most European countries with great respect due to the progress it has made during the global economic crisis.
wyborcza.pl

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Less Pee in Baltic Sea

July 2, 2014
Clean Water?

Clean Water?

Poland has finally joined the European elite in terms of the quality of its bathing waters. Thanks to European funds for sewage treatment plants and district sewage systems, all of Poland’s seaside waters have attained high marks in terms of quality. Every year, before the beginning of the summer season, the European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes water quality reports for Europe’s bathing waters. The ratings take into account the concentration levels of such bacteria as Escherichia coli or Enterococcus faecali, which indicate pollution from sewage or animal excrement. All bathing waters (the list includes about 22,000 official bathing areas across the EU) receive a mark: “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient”, “poor”. The beaches of Cyprus are the cleanest. According to EU experts there were many reservations to the water quality of popular beaches such as the French Riviera, the Costa Brava and Liguria (about 3% of bathing waters received only a “sufficient” mark). Compared to these resorts, Polish bathing waters did well. Only one bathing area out of 200 taken under consideration by the EEA received the lowest mark, a beach by Tarpieński Lake, near Grudziądz. “In 2009, over 12% of Poland’s Baltic bathing areas received the lowest marks. So much has changed. The massive improvement of Baltic water quality is a result of the improvement of sewage treatment plants and investment,” says Jakub Skorupski from the Green Federation GAJA. Unfortunately, EEA quality control does not take into consideration sand pollution on beaches or problems with chemicals and other rubbish (cans, bottles, etc.), which often pollute the water. The resorts that received an “excellent” mark include, among others, Krynica Morska, Sopot, Jurata, Jastarnia and Świnoujście.
metromsn.gazeta.pl

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Smartphones and Tablets Rule

June 20, 2014
Tablets Rule

Tablets Rule

Poles spend increasingly more money on hi-tech equipment. Despite this, sales of video cameras, digital cameras, televisions and DVD players have fallen. What is more, they will carry on falling, reports Rzeczpospolita. Although Poland is Europe’s heart of TV set manufacturing and still has an open market with regard to consumer electronics, the demand for certain equipment has visibly shrunk. According to a report of the Consumer Electronics Association, Polish people do not need computers, digital cameras, camcorders, DVD Blu-ray players or even TV sets. In fact, only two products have won this technological battle: smartphones and tablets. “The constant evolution of smartphones and tablets generates new possibilities in their usage, thus increasing their utility and value, but at the same time displacing other devices, such as digital cameras, in Polish homes,” highlights Shawn DuBravac, an opinion leader of the technology industry in the US, co-author of the Smartphone Index on the US Nasdaq stock exchange. Today, one third of Polish people have a tablet, and 38% claim they would like to purchase such a device. More than half of all Polish people have a smartphone and 40% would like to buy one.
wiadomosci.onet.pl

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Living with Parents

June 19, 2014
Common Situation

Common Situation

More than 50% of young people in Poland do not want to move out from their parents. They do not earn enough to live on their own, and the majority of them do not work on a full-time basis, rather on contract, which precludes them from being able to acquire a mortgage for a home. According to Rzeczpospolita, exactly 53% of people between the ages of 18 and 35 are still living with their parents. According to a KRD Economic Information Bureau report on the financial situation of young people in Poland, even though one third of the respondents are people in their thirties, they are in no hurry to move away from home. This applies to 69% of respondents living in the countryside and 30% living in the city. However, social psychologist Professor Janusz Czapiński points out that this situation varies from city to city, town to town. In large cities, such as Warsaw, renting a flat is extremely expensive. Research shows that 50% of young Varsovians prefer to live with their parents. Experts point out that this phenomenon is caused by financial factors, however, they are also convinced that even if the economy improved, and people had no trouble getting well-paid jobs, a large number of young people would still choose to live with their parents. Professor Czapiński notes that the attitude in Poland mirrors that of southern Europe, where tradition dictates that people leave the family home as late as possible.
tvn24bis.pl

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Polish Farmers are Young and Rich

June 19, 2014
New Generation

New Generation

Ten years after Poland’s accession to the European Union, Polish farmers have become one of the most well-off social groups, according to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna following the results of research by the Central Statistical Office (GUS). Farming households have access to larger sums of money than households of regularly employed persons or entrepreneurs. Last year, the monthly discretionary income of farming households reached PLN 5,044 (after taxes, social insurance contributions and health insurance). This is about PLN 755 more than regular households according to GUS research. In the years 2003-2013, the average discretionary income of farming households increased nominally by 152%. Therefore, it is not surprising that increasingly more farmers are satisfied with their lives. The percentage of farmers who consider their life situation to be good or very good is growing rapidly and has already reached 40%. What is more, Polish farmers are the youngest in the EU; every seventh farmer is not yet 35.
polska.newsweek.pl

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Enormous Water Park in Poland

June 17, 2014
Aqua Park

Aqua Park

Global City Holdings (GCH, formerly Cinema City International) will begin construction work on an enormous new water park near the town of Mszczonów. The first stage of the investment will be completed in cooperation with German company Wund, which owns and operates large water parks. “Work has already begun and we plan to finish the designs by November, after which construction work will begin in February 2015. We would like to welcome our first guests in October 2016,” says Joanna Kotłowska, Director of Investor Relations at GCH. The water park will consist of three main parts: a ‘Tropical Island’ with a pool, equipped with a movable roof; a ‘Health Zone’ i.e. a spa with numerous other attractions and a ‘Galaxy Centre’ with a host of water slides and other attractions for children. GCH estimates that during its first year the water park will be visited by approximately one million people. The whole investment will cost GCH approximately €100m but it expects a quick return on investment and huge profits.
wprost.pl

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