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.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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Kaczyński’s Political Fiction

February 26, 2014
Writing Fiction?

Writing Fiction?

“The new policies of Law and Justice (PiS) are over-optimistic and unreal. In their view money can be distributed willy-nilly even if one does not have it,” said Grzegorz Schetyna of Civic Platform (PO) in an interview with Polskie Radio. “The new policies of PiS are a great example of political fiction,” he added. “It is not enough to present policies in such general terms, we need details, for example, how much will things cost and where is the government supposed to get the money from. When somebody is so sure of victory, like PiS, they ought to know the answers to these questions,” said Schetyna, deputy chairman of PO. When asked about the possible debate between PiS head Jarosław Kaczyński and PM Donald Tusk, he said, “This debate will not take place. I understand because Prime Minister Tusk wants to talk about facts, not fiction.” According to Schetyna, PiS will promise things that are impossible to realise and to verify. He said, “The debate between the Prime Minister and PiS chairman should be organised next year during the political campaign.” In addition, he stressed that the recent PiS party convention has shown that the election campaign had already begun. During the interview, Schetyna was also asked about his standing in the mayoral election in Wrocław. “I have never considered running for local elections, but this topic is now under discussion in Wrocław. Personally, I am very curious about its outcome. For the time being, I have not excluded this option. This topic, however, is now lively commented on by the media in Wrocław. But for the moment, I have a lot of work to do connected with the Foreign Affairs Committee and the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament,” said Schetyna.
gazeta.pl

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Poland Keeps Coal

February 25, 2014
Hope is not Lost

Hope is not Lost

Poland does not have to give up using coal in order to implement new regulations on preventing air pollution. However, this will not be achieved without costly investments in infrastructure. On the other hand, if the Polish government decides to invest then the European Commission will declare any government aid illegal and Poland will then face a rise in the price of energy. Polish deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Janusz Piechociński, declared at a meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP), to which both the Polish People’s Party (PSL) and Civic Platform (PO), government coalition partners, belong, that Poland does not intend to give up using coal as its primary source of energy. This is a key statement following the decision on investment in nuclear power. Nonetheless, Piechociński also highlighted the necessity to support investment in the development of environmentally-friendly technologies which would allow Poland to meet the EU regulations on the reduction of air pollution by 2020. This problem is obvious most in Kraków which is number three on the European Environment Agency list of most polluted cities in Europe. Despite guidelines on the reduction of hazardous substances in the air, the European Commission confirmed that they are not going to interfere in EU member state decisions on sources of energy. Dominique Ristori, Director General for Energy and Transport at the European Commission, admitted that member states should have the right to decide the scale of usage of renewable energy. The Commission, however, is going to introduce a motivation plan to provide an impetus for an increase in renewable energy. “Nowadays about 20% of total energy consumption in Europe comes from renewable energy sources. This is a good starting point,” says Ristori.
wyborcza.biz

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Warsaw Mayor to be Voted Out

June 26, 2013
On Her Way Out?

On Her Way Out?

If the referendum to dismiss Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the mayor of Warsaw, were conducted now, 64% of Warsaw’s inhabitants would vote in favour of her dismissal, according to the latest survey by TNS OBOP. According to the survey, nearly 2/3 of Warsaw citizens would be willing to take part in the referendum (44% gave a ‘definite yes’ and 22% gave a ‘probable yes’). 64% of respondents would vote to dismiss the mayor, whereas 26% would vote against the proposal. 10% of respondents remain undecided. “I am not underestimating the survey, but we will see what happens during the actual vote,” said Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Respondents were additionally asked if in their opinion the current mayor has been a good administrator of the city. 41% confirmed that she has been whereas 52% claimed she was not. Interestingly, at the start of Gronkiewicz-Waltz’s second term a mammoth 70% perceived her as a good administrator. The idea of the referendum was put forward by the Warsaw Self-governing Community (Warszawska Wspólnota Samorządowa) and is supported by Law and Justice (PiS) and Palikot’s Movement (RP). For a local referendum to take place, 10% of Warsaw citizens have to sign up for it. This amounts to 130,000. At present, this number has already been exceeded according to the organisers of the referendum.
TVN Warszawa

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Politicians Making Millions

May 13, 2013
Greedy Politicians

Greedy Politicians

In 2012, the ruling Civic Platform (PO) registered a total income of more than PLN 53 million, making it Poland’s richest political party. PO’s financial statements for the last year show that without money from the budget politicians would be penniless. The state budget is the main source of income for all of Poland’s parliamentary parties. If they were to rely on payments and donations from their supporters only, they would have no chance of survival. Curiously, the report also shows that the largest party did not make use of professional advice from experts. Contrary to previous announcements, most parliamentary groups spent negligible sums of money on expert economic, legal or social advice, as they prefer to use the money on election campaigns. Of PO’s PLN 53 million, PLN 48 million came from the state coffers. The party obtained less than PLN 2.4 million from contributions from supporters, while only PLN 1 million from donations. Civic Platform spent less than PLN 800,000 on expert advice with the majority of this amount, about PLN 733,000, spent on publishing materials. Law and Justice (PiS) is similarly wealthy, with an income of almost PLN 50 million last year, out of which PLN 47 million came from the state coffers. It would be also impossible for Jarosław Kaczyński’s party to survive if it was financed exclusively by contributions from its members and supporters. Last year PiS made a meagre PLN 2 million PLN from membership fees and PLN 55,000 came from donations from supporters. According to their accounts, one supporter, a banker from Poznań, contributed a record payment of PLN 20,000 to the party. Additionally, PiS made PLN 670,000 on bank interest and spent PLN 2 million on expert advice in 2012. Other parties registered much less. The Polish People’s Party (PSL) registered an income of PLN 15 million, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) PLN 14.3 million, while Palikot’s Movement (RP) registered an income of PLN 8.5 million.
Rp.pl

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Polish President Wants Shield

August 22, 2012
"The Shield Needs to be THIS big"

“The Shield Needs to be THIS big”

President Komorowski has suggested that the building of a Missile Shield Defence Facility would be capable of protecting the country against air attacks. Today, two years has passed since Bronisław Komorowski’s was sworn into office. On his second anniversary, he suggested the building of a Polish Missile Shield, which would be a part of a shared shield of countries belonging to NATO. When Barack Obama assumed the presidency of the USA in 2009, the concept of building the shield changed. The USA decided against building a shield that would use long-range anti-missiles stationed in Poland, which before was suggested by George W. Bush. Komorowski convinces the Polish public that they have to have a Polish Missile Shield because spending large amounts of money on military technology is nonsense if it is not protected against the most typical and dangerous missile and air attacks.

The Polish president said that at present Poland has systems that are becoming old and less suitable for defending the country. Stanisław Koziej, the head of the National Security Bureau (BBN), explained that this system would be complementary to the elements of a system which, according to future plans, Americans would station in Poland in 2018. Parliamentary representatives are positive about the idea. According to Stefan Niesiołowski (Civic Platform), the head of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, Poland has the technical know-how to create such a system. The creation of a system of anti-missile defence in Europe is a bone of contention between Poland and Russia as well as between both the USA, NATO and Russia. Moscow considers the project to be a threat to its security. It demands that Washington give legal guarantees that the American system will not be targeted against it. The USA refuses to give such a guarantee, but NATO assures Russia that the shield will not be targeted at Russia.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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Victory of Polish Patriotism

June 22, 2012
Smuda to Blame?

Smuda to Blame?

Poland’s football players did not live up to the nation’s expectations. However, journalist Dominik Zdort regards Euro 2012 “a splendid time for patriotic emotions.” The Rzeczpospolita journalist said on TOK FM radio that, “I have watched masses of Poles in white-and-red T-shirts with pleasure. It’s a positive awakening.” He added, “Such excitement is necessary for the country to feel a certain togetherness.” It is interesting that Dominik Zdort does not belong to the group of journalists heavily criticising Polish manager Franciszek Smuda. He stated, “I like this young team. I would not dismiss coach Smuda either, even though he made mistakes in  tactics.” Being a political journalist, Zdort could not resist adding a political twist: “This national team is politically pluralistic. There were hints that Robert Lewandowski is a Civic Platform (PO) supporter and Kuba Błaszczykowski is pro Law and Justice (PiS), but they managed to play together very well.” According to the Rzeczpospolita journalist, Franciszek Smuda and PM Donald Tusk are alike with regard to their… reluctance to make changes. Also, Marek Zając from TVP (Polish TV) shares the opinion that Euro 2012 is a chance for Poles to demonstrate their patriotism. However, he has does not agree with Zdort with regards to the team. “We lost mentally. I blame the manager, Franciszek Smuda, who was supposed to motivate his team to fight from the beginning right until the end.” He added, “Remember how Smuda announced before the Greece match that if the game was looking like finishing a draw he would not throw players on to attack. Before the Russia game Smuda said that he would be satisfied with a draw. It now looks like this drawing attitude, and not playing for a win, backfired on Smuda.”

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We Will Work for 67 Years

April 3, 2012
Time to Start Moaning?

Time to Start Moaning?

There will not be a retirement age referendum. Most Poles will work until they reach 67 years of age. The ruling coalition wants to allow earlier retirement, but for the price of a very low pension. The compromise between the Civil Platform (PO) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) ends the crisis in the coalition. The negotiations between PO and PSL activists about raising the retirement age lasted over one month. The aim of the compromise is that the retirement age for women and men be made equal and be gradually increased until it reaches 67 years. However, if one wants to, the would-be pensioner can retire earlier: women at 62 years old and men at 67 years old. This is the so-called ‘partial pension’. In order to receive it, one has to agree to one more condition, that it have the appropriate pension contributions. With regard to women this amounts to 35 years’ worth of contributions, and in the case of men 40 years’ worth. According to calculations made by Łukasz Wacławik, a specialist in social insurance, a man who earns PLN 3,500 will receive PLN 841 monthly on a partial pension, or PLN 1,578 if they work for another two years. If he does not take a partial pension and works until he is 67 years old, he will receive almost PLN 200 more, that is, in total, PLN 1,766. Moreover, a woman who earns PLN 3,500 monthly will receive PLN 736 partial pension. After five years, when she switches to a normal pension, she will receive PLN 1,245. If she works until 67 years of age, she will receive PLN 1,682. The agreement made between PO and PSL resulted in their voting against the rejection of a motion by the Solidarity Trade Union calling for a referendum in regard to the raising of the retirement age. Over a few thousand unionists went to the debate in Warsaw.
Gazeta Wyborcza

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The 3rd Anniversary

November 18, 2010

Is Tusk Happy?

Is Tusk Happy?

Today is the third anniversary of the Civic Platform – Polish People’s Party (PO-PSL) coalition. All government ministers have sent their reports to the prime minister in which they have presented their achievements. What can the  government be proud of? Probably with EU grant expenditure and investments for Euro 2012. What is interesting, the government has always willingly summarised its ‘anniversaries’. However, this time, the closer we get to the end of the government’s tenure, the less the government is willing to report on its achievements. Over the last three years, the government has not implemented many of its promises, often making decisions inconsistent with its pledges.

For example, it promised to reduce taxes but Poles are now having to face an VAT increase (from 22% to 23%) from January next year. The government blames this on the crisis, however, Civic Platform has also not succeeded in introducing a one-mandate electoral system for parliamentary elections, limiting the power of the diplomatic immunity of parliamentarians and reforming KRUS (the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund). A pension reform has only just been started. PM Tusk succeeded in withdrawing the Polish army from Iraq, introducing a ‘regular’ army, separating the functions of the minister of justice and the attorney general, implementing regulations regarding the extension of maternity leave and enabling 6-year-old children to go to school. The process of building stadia for Euro 2012 and so-called Orliks (school playing fields) also looks promising.
Rzeczpospolita


Free Wise Men

October 1, 2010

Holiday on the 6th

PO Gives Us a Royal Gift

The representatives of all parliamentary clubs (parties) have declared their readiness to support Civic Platform’s (PO) project of making the 6th of January (Epiphany) a day free from work. Simultaneously, PO has proposed the removal of the labour code regulation which gives employees the opportunity to take a day in lieu for a holiday which falls on Saturday. The party wishes to introduce the amendments to the labour code in such a way that an additional holiday would not increase the amount of holidays. The concept is supported by the coalition partner, the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). “This will bring back the traditional Polish holiday, which was abolished by the Communists. On the other hand, this solution will not be a burden on the economy and it is therefore worth supporting,” according to PSL member Janusz Piechociński. On the 6th of January, the Catholic Church celebrates the Revelation of God the Son, the Epiphany, the feast of the Biblical Magi: Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Epiphany was a holiday free from work in Poland until 1960.
Dziennik

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