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.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

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Standard of Polish Living

April 7, 2014
No Fat Cats in Poland

No Fat Cats in Poland

Polish people have difficulty making ends meet, according to a report by Poland’s Central Statistical Office (GUS) on the income and standard of living. The ability to make ends meet, among other factors, determines the quality of family life. There is a large proportion of Polish people who claim that they do not have the possibility to realise these basic needs due to financial difficulties. Polish families save by reducing spending on recreation or renovation. Despite the fact that, compared with figures in 2005, the number of Poles forced to tighten their belts has decreased, more than 50% believe that a week-long holiday or new furniture is a luxury.
biznes.onet.pl

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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.
gazetaprawna.pl

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Gas Supply Threat

April 4, 2014
Burning Problem

Burning Problem

“The unstable situation east of the Polish border may result in problems with gas supplies,” according to Andrzej Szczęśniak, a fuel market specialist. However, he emphasises that consumers should not be afraid. The Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) currently has the largest gas reserves in its history. “Large reserves are the effect of the weather and its unpredictability therefore PGNiG has taken important measures allowing us to breathe more easily when looking east,” says Andrzej Szczęśniak. The quantity of gas reserves held in storage has no impact on prices. The general state of PGNiG is better than a year ago. “For PGNiG what is most important is cash flow. Positive figures demonstrate the strength of the company,” Andrzej Szczęśniak. Last year PGNiG achieved a net income of PLN 1.92bn. Specialists predict a stabilisation of the market this year, however, income levels will not be as high as in 2013.
biznes.newseria.pl

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Steps Return to Poland

April 3, 2014
Palatial Return

Palatial Return

Germany has returned one of Poland’s most valuable paintings. The Palace Stairs palace” will be the only painting of Francesco Guardi in Poland. It was one of the most precious paintings before the war. The painting was stolen during the occupation and now, after over 70 years, this precious work of art returned to Poland, to the National Museum in Warsaw. Although the dimension of the painting is not so big, it is great and extremely valuable. An 18th century painting ‘Palace stairs’ by Venetian artist Francesco Guardi was one of the most precious paintings in Poland during World War II. The small oil painting depicts the stairs of Venice’s Doge Palace. There are the bearers walking up the stairs and there are also noblemen standing in the shadow of the palace arcades. Grażyna Bastek from the National Museum in Warsaw says that the unique composition of the painting shows the greatness of this work. Despite of its small size (a little bigger than A4 sheet), the image gives the impression of grandeur. There is also a play of light: the shadow in the foreground perfectly transforms into a lightened courtyard. The painting was bought by the National Museum in Warsaw in 1925 from an art collector Leon Kranc. The National Museum paid for the painting 8,5 thousand zlotys. On Monday 31 March, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier handed back the painting to his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski. The ceremony took place in Berlin. Recently ‘Palace stairs’ was at the National Art Gallery in Stuttgart.
kultura.dziennik.pl

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Poland and Ukraine

April 2, 2014
Poland a Real Member?

Promises Broken?

According to Gazeta Polska, Poland was and continues to be a second-class member of NATO. What is more, Poland’s freedom is of mediocre quality, fragile, temporary and it has regressed in recent years. Although it may look different from a Ukrainian point of view, Poland is somewhere between Putin’s Russia and the countries in which freedom and democratic principles are actually respected. The choice facing Ukraine now is the choice between the free world and the post-soviet world of despotic rule, which does not respect the rights of individuals, where the media, controlled by the ruling camp, are an obedient propaganda tool, where the opposition is limited, where shady interests take charge, where corruption and nepotism rule, where people are kept under surveillance and intimidated, and those particularly inconvenient for the regime are often victims of mysterious crimes or commit suicide unexpectedly. Two clear paths.
gazetapolska.pl

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Poland At Risk?

April 1, 2014
What is He Planning?

What is Putin Planning?

The Polish Minister of Interior Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz recently said that “There is no threat to Poland from Putin, but the conflict could reach us. The situation is a whole new chapter in modern politics.” He added, “the Polish government must take into account all eventualities, including war. The Prime Minister is not idly bandying around the word ‘war’, but is calling a spade a spade.” Sienkiewicz was commenting on Donald Tusk’s speech in which he stated that nobody knows if children will go to school on September 2014. Since 1945 no country has altered the borders of another country with aggression. This opens up a whole new era in the history of Europe, where anything is possible. Sienkiewicz said, “We have to focus on this issue because Poland has experienced too many traumas associated with war. There are no indications of a direct threat to Poland resulting from Putin’s aggression but it is hard to predict the developments over the next six months. Who knows, the conflict could reach our borders.” According to the Minister of Interior, an open Russian-Ukrainian conflict cannot be excluded.
wiadomosci.gazeta.pl

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Euro for Poland

April 1, 2014
Euro Soon for Poland?

Euro Soon for Poland?

Janusz Palikot’s party, Your Movement (TR), wants to change the Constitution and introduce the Euro in Poland as fast as possible. Palikot wants the amendment to be a joint initiative of Civic Platform (PO), the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and TR. He said that the proposed amendment was prepared in 2008 by the former Speaker of the Lower House and current President Bronisław Komorowski, so it has already been consulted within PO. The head of TR has proposed holding a referendum to convince Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of Law and Justice (PiS). “Changing the Constitution without a referendum is not possible,” said Palikot. He added that by introducing the Euro, Donald Tusk and the fast-imploding PO will at least leave a legacy behind after they are gone. TR MP Wincenty Elsner claims that the main change they want to introduce concerns the National Bank of Poland (NBP). The Constitution would read: “The central state bank of Poland is the National Bank of Poland which is part of the European system of central banks.” In order to change the constitution a two-thirds majority vote is needed. The ruling coalition would not have a majority even with the backing of SLD and Twój Ruch.
Gazeta Prawna

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PM Tusk Faces PR Disaster

March 31, 2014
Promises, Promises

Promises, Promises

The Polish government is looking for money so it can keep its own promises but the budget cannot afford any more unexpected costs. Last year the government cut funds for the renovation of local roads in order to save money. The government did this at the last moment when local governments had already made preparations for their investments. What is more, the cuts were high and amounted to PLN 750 million. The PLN 250 million that remained is not enough for the most important investments. So, the government has started looking for money and found additional funds in the State Forests National Holding, which will boost the budget coffers by several million zlotys. Thanks to this financial boost, the funding for the renovation of local roads will increase. However, the Polish government is now planning to transfer these funds to finance an increase in benefits for the parents of disabled children. This is necessary but why should it take place at the expense of public roads? Why did the Prime Minister not look for the money as part of the reform of miner pensions or social insurance for farmers? Is he afraid of them? At present, the parents of handicapped children are causing a PR disaster for PM Tusk in their quest for higher benefits. These parents have only been shouting, screaming and crying to fight for their rights. On the other hand, miners and farmers have more effective weaponry in their arsenal: burning tyres, blocking roads and going on strike.
Gazeta Prawna

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