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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Sikorski Afraid of Neighbours

August 15, 2014
Radosław Sikorski

Radosław Sikorski

Foreign Affairs Minister Radosław Sikorski has recently boasted about his firearm license being renewed. According to police statistics, he is one of only 21,000 Poles who can legally carry firearms for self-defence. Polish law in this regard is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Not only do applicants need to prove they are in “constant, real, and extraordinary danger” but they also need to undergo psychological evaluations every five years. Minister Sikorski, implicated in the wiretapping scandal earlier this year, has found the evaluation rather amusing as the doctor wanted to know if Sikorski felt that someone was listening in on his conversations. Despite the fact that up to 70% of all applications for firearm license are denied, Sikorski is one of many gun owners amongst Polish politicians. MP Arkadiusz Czartoryski (PiS) and MP Tomasz Kaczmarek (PiS) have suggested that politicians receive preferential treatment. “Nobody will risk saying ‘no’ to parliamentarians who want to carry firearms. However, in many instances, former law enforcement officers are denied the permit even though, I daresay, they are in much graver danger than ‘cheerful Radek’ [Radosław Sikorski],” said Kaczmarek, commenting on the information that Minister Sikorski applied for his license on the grounds that he resides 3 km from a prison.
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Eat Apples to Annoy Putin

August 8, 2014
Eat Apples

Eat Apples

While the European Union is putting in place new sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Russia has banned the import of fruit and vegetables from Poland. This has led thousands of Polish internet users to encourage Poles to eat apples in order to laugh in the face of Russia’s embargo. Russian news agency ITAR-TASS first learnt that in a matter of days Russia was going to either limit or completely ban the import of fruit from Poland. Officially, the embargo is motivated by ‘issues with the quality of the fruit’, but it is widely believed to be retaliation for Poland’s support of European Union sanctions against Russia. In response, Puls Biznesu journalists started what quickly turned into a national campaign when they appealed to Poles to #eatapples (#jedzjabłka) to annoy Russian President Putin. The campaign is supposed to help local farmers who will feel the effects of the Russian embargo hardest. The internet is being flooded with selfies of people eating apples, edited images of Putin mocking the Russian leader, apple recipes, as well as more creative ideas of people finding new uses for apples, for example to produce fuel, to name but one. The campaign has been endorsed by Polish politicians, celebrities and journalists. Poland is Europe’s largest producer of apples; half of its produce is exported to Russia.
tvn24.pl

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Right-Wing Parties Unite

July 23, 2014
(c) Fakt

The Holy Trinity (photo: Fakt)

After long negotiations, three of Poland’s right-wing parties have managed to reach an understanding regarding their future cooperation. On Saturday, the leaders of Law and Justice (PiS), United Poland (SP), and Poland Together (PRJG) signed a political agreement. “It is important to know the situation in the country, but also to know what to do in order to change it. One thing is certain: the change can only be accomplished together,” said Jarosław Kaczyński (PiS). According to the signed agreement, the two smaller parties will support a PiS candidate in the upcoming by-elections to the senate. Following that, all three parties will unite for this year’s regional elections, as well as in the parliamentary elections in 2015. In addition, the parties agreed to have one candidate in the presidential elections of 2015; however, none of the politicians wanted to comment on the rumour that the presidential candidate could be SP head Zbigniew Ziobro. Earlier this week, following a string of accusations made by PiS MPs who blamed the failure of negotiations on Ziobro and Gowin’s personal ambitions, Ziobro declared that he was willing to leave the world of politics if that was necessary for the right wing to unite.
wp.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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Ziobro and Gowin Join Forces

July 15, 2014
New Right-Wing Power?

New Right-Wing Power?

Zbigniew Ziobro’s United Poland (SP) and Jarosław Gowin’s Poland Together (PRJG) have decided to join forces and create a new parliamentary group. The new right-wing alliance under the leadership of Jarosław Gowin will have fifteen MPs. “For many weeks, we have been observing the deepening crisis of the state,” said Gowin, explaining the reasons for the parties banding together. According to PRJG leader, the ruling PO-PSL coalition has lost its political and moral right to rule. He sees establishing a partnership between various right-wing and patriotic political forces as the only feasible way to remove PM Donald Tusk from office. That being said, neither Ziobro nor Gowin attended the “uniting congress” of the right wing, which Law and Justice (PiS) held on Saturday. Both politicians have declared their willingness to continue negotiations between their political formations and PiS, but consider the celebratory congress premature. On Monday, PiS head Jarosław Kaczyński met with Ziobro in order to discuss the possibility of forging an alliance with his former Justice Minister’s party. Although the negotiations so far proved unsuccessful, Ziobro hopes that “an important step towards reaching an understanding has been made”.
tvn24.pl

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Polish European Parliament

July 4, 2014
Ryszard Czarnecki

Ryszard Czarnecki

Law and Justice (PiS) MEP Ryszard Czarnecki has been chosen as one of fourteen vice presidents of the European Parliament. “I will work for the good of Poland because that is my main goal in the European Parliament,” he declared. Czarnecki was chosen in the third round of voting by secret ballot, winning 284 votes. The PiS MEP will be the only vice president of the European Parliament from Poland. The primary role of vice presidents is to support the head of the European Parliament. When the President is not in the chair, vice presidents chair plenary sessions. They can also represent the President during various ceremonies and are members of the Bureau of the European Parliament. Several Polish MEPs will perform important roles. Jerzy Buzek will be chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). Janusz Lewandowski will replace Buzek in the second half of the term. According to unofficial sources, head of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) will be Czesław Siekierski and Danuta Huebner will be head of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO).
tvn24.pl

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Jesus Would Vote for Tusk

June 27, 2014
God with Godson

God with Godson

“I had a hard time deciding what to do, knowing that this decision could affect my future political career, or even end it. But when I asked myself what Jesus would do, I had no more doubts,” said MP John Godson, explaining the reasons behind his choice to support the current government. Godson was one of only a handful of opposition MPs to do so, during Wednesday’s vote of confidence for the government. As well as Godson, four independent MPs and one MP of Your Movement (TR) voted for the ruling coalition. Godson originally won his place in parliament as a Civic Platform (PO) candidate. He left the party in August, after voting against the party line. Currently, he is a member of Poland Together (PRJG), which declared its support for the PiS initiative of replacing the PO-PSL coalition with a cabinet of experts until earlier elections could be organised. Godson, however, had a last-moment change of heart and decided to help his former colleagues from PO instead. He explained that while the behaviour of the politicians implicated in the wiretapping scandal was reprehensible, it would be irresponsible to vote against the government now. It is what Jesus would have done.
tvn24.pl

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Too Homophobic for Far-Right

June 26, 2014
Danger Man

Danger Man

Since the last month’s euro elections, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French Front National (FN), has been trying to form a new group in the European Parliament. On Monday, one of the MPs involved in the process informed the media that those attempts have proved unsuccessful. The group was supposed to consist of far-right parties from France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands. As a new group can only be formed by 25 or more MPs representing no less than seven member states, Le Pen looked to the leader of the Polish Congress of the New Right (KNP), Janusz Korwin-Mikke, as a potential ally. After weeks of negotiations, Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) told the ANP news agency that the idea of having KNP join the group was abandoned as the views of Korwin-Mikke were too disparate from those of the five other parties. Wilders added that “PVV really wanted to create a new group in the European Parliament, but not at any cost.” According to various media reports, Wilders supposedly took offence to the “homophobic worldview” of the Polish politician. Korwin-Mikke himself said that FN terminated the negotiations, citing his anti-Semitism and homophobia as the reasons.
tvn24.pl

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Students Call for End of Government

June 25, 2014
PM Tusk and Marek Belka

PM Tusk and Marek Belka

Anti-government demonstrations are scheduled to take place this week to put pressure on PM Donald Tusk and establish an investigative committee to look into the recent government wiretapping scandal. Thousands of people will participate, according to the organisers. The Students’ Union of Poland insists that the government should resign. Michał Sadłowski, a union member, says: “The Council of Ministers has brought Poland into disrepute.” He adds: “There is ironclad proof that the politicians in power have broken the law, especially in the conversations between Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz and Marek Belka, head of the National Bank of Poland (NBP). Furthermore, the Prime Minister did not even replace the minister.”
wiadomosci.onet.pl

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