Macierewicz Investigates

April 11, 2014
Questioning Smolensk

Questioning Smolensk

“I am certainly not mistaken; what we are dealing with here is a crime,” said PiS MP and Jarosław Kaczyński confidante Antoni Macierewicz, discussing the Smolensk plane crash. “Those people died because the plane exploded in the air. I believe that it involved the actions of third parties,” stressed the deputy leader of Law and Justice (PiS). At the same time, he did not indicate the persons who in his opinion are responsible. “At this stage of the proceedings of the parliamentary team, we cannot indicate those responsible. However, everything implies that culpability lies on the Russian side.” Antoni Macierewicz emphasises that the details of the catastrophe are still unknown, which can be blamed on “the prosecutor’s office and the governing bodies of the state.” “Unfortunately they are only blocking this investigation. Hence, there is a necessity to introduce a special Smolensk Act,” notes the deputy PiS head.
wiadomosci.onet.pl

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Euro Election Spending

April 9, 2014
Money, Money, Money

Money, Money, Money

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, during the first month of the campaign for the elections to the European parliament, Law and Justice (PiS) spent PLN 1.2m, Civic Platform (PO) spent PLN 0.5m and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) spent PLN 250,000 on their respective campaigns. Political parties which may have representation in all districts is allowed to spend a maximum of PLN 18m. Both PO and PiS wish to spend around PLN 10m. PO will give PLN 8m to local authorities which will be divided between candidates for individual campaigns. PiS candidates will receive much less: between PLN 2m and PLN 2.5 m. The euro-elections have not yet aroused the emotions of Polish people. The PiS YouTube video only garnered 19,000 views, whereas the PO video got 19,400.
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Russia Steering Poland?

April 7, 2014
Calling the Shots

Calling the Shots

According to Max Kolonko, a Polish news correspondent in the US, “Russia is steering Poland and the Polish Prime Minister is as weak as [Poland's last monarch] King Stanisław August Poniatowski.” In a recent interview with Onet, Max Kolonko criticised the Polish media and described how the Smolensk air crash was presented in the American media. According to Kolonka, Americans hardly know anything apart from the fact that the crash took place. All US agencies obtained their information from Russian ITAR-TASS and not Polish press agencies because the investigation was carried out by the Russians. As a result the majority of Americans do not know that the black boxes and the wreckage of the plane have not been returned to Poland yet. “The Smolensk air crash has become helpful for Russia in destabilising the situation in Poland. This also explains why gruesome photographs of the mangled bodies of crash victims appeared on a Siberian website,” he added. Kolonko also stated that a conflicted Poland is in the interests of Russia. “A weak Polish Prime Minister is part of a script written in Moscow a long time ago. The PM needs help and Moscow is willing to give it (the plane wreckage and black boxes) but only at a time that is right for Moscow providing an additional ‘ace’ that might strengthen or even save the Polish Prime Minister,” explained Kolonko. Such a grateful Prime Minister would mirror the King Poniatowski situation and his servile attitude to Russia’s Catherine II,” he noted.
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Euro Good for Security

March 28, 2014
Makes Sense?

Makes Sense?

“Integration with eurozone countries will increase Poland’s security,” according to economist Piotr Bielski. However, he highlights that in order to say ‘farewell’ to the Polish złoty, the economy has to be ready for the change. Marek Belka, chairman of the National Bank of Poland (NBP), recently claimed that the Ukrainian crisis demonstrates how important it is to invest in the European Union and it may be worth taking another look at joining the eurozone. However, Piotr Bujak, chief economist at Nordea Bank Poland, believes that, as opposed to tight integration with eurozone countries, accepting the Euro will not increase Poland’s security per se. Bujak claims that in order to benefit from the Euro, it is important to prepare the economy first. In his opinion, Poland will not resign from the złoty until at least 2020. To compare, as far as security is concerned, Latvia relies more on NATO than on membership in the eurozone, according to Latvia’s former president, who introduced the Euro in Latvia at the beginning of the year. Valdis Dombrovskis highlights the fact that the eurozone is chiefly an economic structure.
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No Russian Gas Problems

March 15, 2014
Should Tusk Be Worried?

Should Tusk Be Worried?

Poland will be ready for Qatari gas by the end of this year. The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk discussed Polish gas plans during a meeting with gas industry officials in Gustorzyn near Włocławek, where there is a gas distribution point. PM Tusk highlighted the fact that the new gas centre in Świnoujście should be fully-functional by 2015. He hopes that the Polish Parliament will embrace new legislation as soon as possible, which will enable the speedy construction of gas pipelines. Tusk has also ensured everyone that there will be no problems with gas supplies from Russia, regardless of Russian aggression towards Ukraine. The Prime Minister stresses that even if gas does stop flowing through the gas pipelines in Ukraine, Poland is still safe. “We have had confirmation from our Russian partners about the safety of supplies, although the situation is constantly changing,” said Tusk. According to initial plans, the LNG terminal in Świnoujście would begin operations by mid-2014 with the first Qatargas gas supplies reaching Poland this year. The Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) has already declared that they will be renegotiating the contract with Qatar.
Gazeta Prawna

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Ukraine Bankruptcy and Poland

March 9, 2014
Economic Death?

Economic Death?

“Polish companies have invested about $1m in Ukraine. If Kiev finds a way to avoid an economic breakdown we will continue our economic cooperation with Ukraine,” says Jacek Jan Piechota, the President of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce. Newsweek.pl: Why is the Ukrainian market so important for the Polish economy? Last year Poland was one of the leading exporters of goods and services to Ukraine as well as an important importer. Jacek Piechota: “Ukraine has a favourable investment climate for us and the following example proves it. For the last 25 years Polish businesses have invested about $900m in Ukraine, while only $600m in Russia. Ukraine is a large market with huge possibilities and natural resources, a favourable climate, raw materials and fertile soil. A breakdown of the Ukrainian economy would not be a heavy blow to the Polish economy, but it might lead to investment difficulties and the worsening of economic indicators in Poland. Close Polish-Ukrainian cooperation contributes to the strength of the Polish economy.” Newsweek.pl: Does this mean that Polish companies and their Ukrainian partners are waiting for the announcement of tough reforms from Kiev? Jacek Piechota: “Most certainly. In addition, more than 3,500 Polish business people sell something to Ukraine so Poland has enough experience in cooperation. There are still opportunities for development and Polish businesses are well-prepared for working in difficult conditions. We already experienced something similar after the Orange Revolution. There is an increasing number of questions related to the Ukrainian economic market. It is obvious that any reforms will not bring immediate results, especially with regards to corruption.”
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Support for Ukrainians

March 9, 2014
Supporting Ukraine

Supporting Ukraine

Support is being given and money and medicine collected for Ukraine’s pro-EU supporters. Volunteers in Kiev are monitoring incidents of human rights violations and assisting those who have been injured. Ukrainians who live in Poland are asking for help to obtain refugee status. The Education for Democracy Foundation is collecting funds for Ukrainian protesters. The funds will be used to help those who were repressed and injured during the Maidan demonstrations. The account number where money can be donated is 18 1240 1037 1111 0010 4591 0813. Money can also be placed in the donation box at Warsaw’s Greek-Catholic Church on Miodowa street. Also, the charity organisation Caritas Polska has asked people to provide assistance for Ukraine. Alicja Wysocka, from the Caritas press office said, “Caritas is collecting money in order to buy medicine and food for the needy.” People who want to help those most in need in Ukraine can make payments to Caritas Polska, account number PL 77 1160 2202 0000 0000 3436 4384 and mark the payment ‘Ukraine’.
tvn24.pl

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Higher Petrol Prices

March 8, 2014
Going Up

Going Up

According to the Łódź-based brokers Refleks, the prices of petrol at petrol stations will soon rise although in general the prices of petrol and diesel are falling. This situation has strengthened the value of the Polish złoty to the US dollar and the petrol market is stabilising. Meanwhile, according to Refleks, prices will rise. Currently, one litre of unleaded petrol is PLN 5.38, one litre of diesel is PLN 5.41, gas is PLN 2.66. This means unleaded petrol and diesel have increased in price compared to the week before (although still cheaper than this time last year). Refleks believes that the price rises are rather a reflection of the market situation in Poland and have nothing to do with the Ukrainian conflict.
Gazeta Prawna

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Poland Discusses EU Budget

March 8, 2014
Budget Discussion

Budget Discussion

Poland has begun negotiations with the European Commission (EC) about the regulations concerning EU budget spending up until 2020. Poland is the largest transferee of EU funds and the first country to begin discussions with Brussels. Before Poland begins implementing any programmes it must have permission from the EC. “The conditions will be included in the so-called partnership agreement,” said Shirin Wheeler, spokeswomen of the Commission. She added that the document will assess the targets on which Poland would like to spend money as part of Europe 2020. “We will focus mainly on helping small- and medium-sized businesses, innovation, energy and transport,” said Wheeler. The negotiations will last until the summer. Poland will receive over €82 billion. Approximately €50 billion will be spent on larger national programmes. The rest will be allocated to regional programme managed by local governments.
Gazeta Prawna

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Ukraine Solution

March 5, 2014
Minister Concerned

Minister Concerned

The head of the Ministry of Interior Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz has been discussing the Ukrainian crisis. “What is happening in Ukraine right now is having a direct effect on Poland’s security,” according to the Minister of Interior. He also added, however, that there is no direct threat to Poland. The minister said, “There is no doubt we are facing a crisis that will shift the balance of power in the region”. He added, “For Polish people, this is one of the most pressing challenges of the last 25 years, since the restoration of Polish independence”. Suddenly, there is a threat of aggresion, a creeping invasion of a neighbouring country. “Nothing like this has ever happened before so close to the Polish border,” said the minister. At the same time, he reasserted the fact that the services coordinated by the Ministry of Interior, including the Border Guard, are well prepared and that the Polish border is stable. “We are in touch with Ukrainian forces on the other side of the border. We have not observed any increase in the number of refugees from Ukraine. At the moment, there are two scenarios to expect: Russian military intervention accompanied by the surrender of the international community or a declaration of war,” said Mr. Sienkiewicz. He also added that the trick is to find a solution which does not entail either of these scenarios, “as both of these options are unacceptable for both Poland and Europe,” he warned. According to Mr. Sienkiewicz, the most important factor will be the reaction of the US and important international organisations to the crisis. They would be able to set in motion the legal mechanisms which could stop Russia in its tracks.
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