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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Marilyn Monroe in Wrocław

June 30, 2014
Marilyn

Marilyn

A collection of 3,000 photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken by one of the best-known fashion and film star photographers, Milton H. Greene, was put up for auction by DESA Unicum. The unique collection, which belonged to the Foreign Debt Service Fund since the mid-90s, was bought by Wrocław-based Hala Ludowa for PLN 6.4 million, making it the biggest one-off transaction on the Polish art market ever. The head of the company Andrzej Baworowski said that the collection is worth approximately PLN 18-24 million. The collection features many well-known photographs and also many never seen by the public before. A new museum will be created in Wrocław especially for the collection, which also contains approximately 100 photographs of Marlene Dietrich. The mayor of Wrocław explained that the purchase is an investment and also that Wrocław hopes to win the Melina Mercouri prize (PLN 1.5 million) for the European Capital of Culture. He has assured Wrocław residents that he has already started looking for private sponsors who will support the undertaking. The mayor was in favour of the purchase because he believes that apart from the Racławice Panorama and the original “Pan Tadeusz” by Adam Mickiewicz (Poland’s national bard), Wrocław can profit from another new international attraction. However, many believe that the investment is a “costly whim” and they doubt if it will changes the cultural line of the city.
wyborcza.pl

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Saving for a Holiday

June 20, 2014
Dream On!

Dream on!

Taking out loans for holidays is much more expensive than it seems, according to experts. The beginning of the summer is often the time when a large proportion of Polish people come to the conclusion that they did not manage to save enough money for holidays during the year. Institutions that offer loans and credit schemes most often benefit from this situation and intensify their marketing campaigns in order to take advantage of the climate. Łukasz Bugaj, a financial analyst from the BOŚ brokerage house, reminds us that despite the fact that loans often have attractive names, they still remain the most expensive way of financing a holiday. Bugaj adds that when repaying the instalments on such loans, we not only have to bear the costs of our summer vacation but the interest on the loan itself. Bugaj states that the best way to strike a financial balance is to be disciplined when spending money. He emphasises that having a balance throughout the year is not only beneficial when trying to save for our holidays but also for our finances in general.
turystyka.wp.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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Poles Opt for Safe Holidays

June 19, 2014
Staying Safe

Staying Safe

Polish people, like everyone else, want to feel safe during vacation time. Increasingly more tourists are purchasing private insurance policies. Holidaymakers are slowly learning that private holiday insurance is a better idea than the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or insurance acquired from a travel agent. This year, approximately two-thirds of vacationing Poles decided to take out private holiday insurance. The number of people who have chosen private policies has increased by 10% from last year, according to Gazeta Wyborcza. 63% of respondents will buy their own insurance for their vacation, according to the “Turystyka po polsku” (Tourism in Polish) research poll, conducted by Liberty Direct in cooperation with ARC Rynek i Opinia. “Many tourists are simply not aware of the costs of medical expenses abroad, which can be extremely high if we are not insured,” says Ilona Tomaszewska, a travel insurance expert at Liberty Direct.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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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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ABW Looking for Secrets

June 19, 2014
Internal Security Agnecy

Internal Security Agnecy

On Wednesday morning, officers of the Internal Security Agency (ABW) entered the offices of Wprost weekly in order to collect all data storage devices containing recently leaked wiretap recordings. According to Michał Majewski, one of the journalists who revealed the contents of the recordings, editorial staff refused to hand over the original files because they could not be absolutely certain that their source would not be compromised. In accordance with Polish law, if the informer wishes to remain anonymous, journalists are obliged to protect his or her identity, which can also include keeping secret any materials in their possession that could lead to the person being identified. The recordings revealed Interior Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz and National Bank of Poland (NBP) head Marek Belka discussing the possibility of the NBP helping the government with its budget problems before the next elections in exchange for the government introducing changes to the law concerning the central bank as well as the dismissal of the then Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski. According to Wprost, the conversation took place in July 2013. In November 2013, Rostowski was replaced by Mateusz Szczurek as Minister of Finance; in May 2014, the cabinet received a draft amendment to the law on the NBP.
tvn24.pl

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10,000 Pension Declarations

June 16, 2014
Safest Bet?

Safest Bet?

The number of declarations for remaining with the Open Pension Fund (OFE) submitted to ZUS is currently at around the 10,000 mark. Only a few weeks remain until the deadline for submitting declarations passes. Until now, 225,665 people have decided to entrust the Open Pension Fund (OFE) with their pension money. Among those who have made declarations, 56% did so by post, 37% visited ZUS in person and 7% did so via the internet. If little changes, less than a meagre 600,000 people will remain in OFE, which is approximately 3.5% of its present members. According to the amendment of the law on pension funds of December 2013, people can decide between 1 April and 31 July if they want their money to be in OFE or ZUS.
ekonomia.rp.pl

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OFE Reduces National Debt

June 13, 2014
Erasing Debt

Erasing Debt

In the first quarter of 2014, the national public debt of Poland was over PLN 100 billion lower than at the end of 2013. However, this is largely down to the depreciation of stocks of OFE (Open Pension Fund) that have reduced the debt by over PLN 30 billion. “At the end of the first quarter of 2014, the debt amounted to PLN 782.9 billion, which meant a fall of over PLN 100.2 billion (11.4%) compared to the end of 2013,” claims the Polish Ministry of Finance. By contrast, the debt of government and local government sectors amounted to PLN 834.59 billion, which meant it has decreased by over PLN 100.2 billion in relation to 2013.
ekonomia.rp.pl

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Pension Problems

June 9, 2014
Safe?

Safe?

Even the most pessimistic predictions did not envisage so few people wanting to remain in the old pension funds. April/May is the halfway point regarding the deadline until when people can declare whether they wish to remain in the old pension system in Poland. Only 1%, that is less than 145,000, has decided to stay in the open pension fund (OFE). It is easy to calculate that at this rate, by the end of July less than 300,000 people will wish to stay in OFE. Embarrasingly, the government predicted that about 20-30% will stay in OFE, not to mention independent experts who put the figure at 50%.
wp.pl

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