Poland’s Chief Export
After Russia banned the import of products from Poland, Polish companies have been seeking other export opportunities. Spain has turned out to be one of Poland’s best partners and could soon become one of the five top export markets for Poland, according to Puls Biznesu. According to Marcin Luziński, a BZ WBK economist, Spain has undertaken several structural reforms and this has triggered faster economic growth. From January to April 2015, the export of Polish products to Spain increased by 22%, which positioned Spain as the seventh largest importer of Polish goods. First place is still occupied by Germany, where the export of Polish commodities increased by 9%; then the United Kingdom with an increased of 10.5%; and the Czech Republic, where Polish imports increased by 13.1%. Experts believe that Poland will soon begin making a greater impact on markets in the Middle East, the Far East, Africa and South America.
In 2014, Polish power plants produced less electricity than was consumed by domestic consumers. This was the first time since Poland’s political and economic transformation (in 1989) that the country was a net importer of electricity. The main reason was cheaper electricity from Poland’s neighbours, which has become a serious challenge for the country’s doctrine of ‘electricity independence’. Sweden, which is connected to Poland by cable along the bottom of the Baltic sea, provides large amounts of energy from hydroelectricity plants. Swedish energy is 25% cheaper than electricity on the Polish Power Exchange, according to the March “Power and Fuels” report produced by Energy Solutions. Energy can also be bought significantly cheaper on the German EFX power exchange in Leipzig, as much as 20% cheaper than in Poland. This is a result of the high number of power plants with low production costs that use renewable sources, nuclear power and lignite. The fast-growing share of green energy on the market of Poland’s western neighbours (subsidised by German consumers, for example) will mean the continued lowering of energy prices in European power markets. The Polish and Lithuanian energy bridge, which is planned to start on December 2015, may also contribute to the lowering of prices on the Polish market, as it will increase the possibility of energy import from Scandinavian countries. Contrary to what one might expect, cheaper imported energy has not yet meant a lowering of prices for consumers.
Niklas Frank, born in 1939, is son of Hans Frank, Third Reich minister, nicknamed the “butcher of Poland”, and Brigitte Frank, who wanted to gain social advance at the expense of breaking moral rules. In early spring 1939 Hans Frank was appointed by Afolf Hitler head of the occupied Polish territories, later General Government. The next day he told his wife Brigitte (née Herbst) about this fact: “You will be the queen of Poland”. As a young boy, Niklas Frank lived with his family in Wawel Castle in Kraków. His childhood was fearless, even though at the same time thousands upon thousands of Polish people were being slaughtered. In February 2005 a Polish Newsweek journalist met him at the Berlin InterContinental. There, Frank told him about his feeling of responsibility, which had overwhelmed him as a result of his father’s crimes. In 1987 Niklas Frank wrote “Der Vater” (“The Father”), in which he denounced his father, who was sentenced to death during the Nüremberg trials for his war crimes. He approaches his mother with the same contempt as his father. Thanks to letters, diaries, official documents and his own memories, he wrote her biography “Meine deutsche Mutter” (“My German mother”), which was published in Germany. The biography is the story of an ambitious and cynical woman, who was ready to trample over every moral code if it might give her a chance of social advance.
In Love With Poland?
Every year in January, Germany holds a prestigious furniture trade show in Cologne. It is regarded as one of the most important events in the interior design calendar. Traditionally, Imm Cologne opens the trade fair year for the furniture industry. The event is not only an opportunity for exhibitors to establish business contacts with each other but also to get to know the leading brands and trends in interior design for the coming season. This year Polish designs were also represented at Imm Cologne 2015. According to German experts, Polish designers are both innovative and uniquely original. The unusual use of materials, local resources and the development of new technologies distinguishes Polish industrial designers.
Upper Silesia Tower
The history of the Upper Silesia Tower involved propaganda specialists who had an African village built in the heart of Europe; a brilliant science fiction film, and the legendary rock band Queen. It was one of the most unusual buildings of pre-war Poznań and its remnants can still be seen on the premises of the present-day Poznań International Fair.The Germans wanted to show off their powerful economy, broad horizons and thriving culture. They wanted to dazzle Europe, while sending a clear message to the Polish people: “This land is and will remain ours forever. Admire how much we have achieved here, come to terms with it and keep quiet.” It was emperor Wilhelm II himself who came up with the idea of organising an East German Exhibition of Industry, Craft and Agriculture in Poznań. Before long, work began in the area roughly corresponding to today’s Poznań International Fair, and a futurist construction started to rise over the rooftops of the neighbouring tenements. The 52-metre Upper Silesia Tower, named after the region from which funds for its construction had come, resembled a giant rubber stamp. It was designed by Hans Poelzig, one of the most outstanding architects of his time. On 15 May 1911 the tower was adorned with colourful illuminations, marking the opening of the East German Exhibition. The event, where almost one thousand exhibitors showed off their achievements, lasted five months and attracted huge crowds. The organisers built a model of the Old Town; an imitation of a forest complete with a hunting range and, something unthinkable nowadays, even a village inhabited for a few months by 60 people from Africa to display the colonial power of the empire. And all that near a huge construction which to this day gives rise to controversy. Whether it was liked or not, the structure could hardly leave anyone indifferent and its fame quickly spread across Europe. The building delighted Fritz Lang, the famed German filmmaker, who in the 1920 directed the ground-breaking, expressionist, science fiction production “Metropolis”. The film set designer did not know the cityscape of Manhattan so the Upper Silesia Tower was his inspiration in modelling sky-scrapers for the film set. Scenes from this first German superproduction were later used by Queen in their video for “Radio Ga Ga”. When Poznań returned to Poland, the tower supplyied the nearby districts with water and then serving as an exhibition area for the nascent Poznań fair. Bombarded during the Second World War, the building turned into a disintegrating shell. Then it was partially demolished and rebuilt with an added openwork spire, which over time came to be associated with the fair as its best recognised element and symbol.
What is Salafism?
German Salafists, one of the most radical Muslims groups with alleged connections with terrorists want to begin converting the Polish people. “We are already working on it”, said the head of the group. It turns out that there are already quite a large number of Polish emigrants in the ranks of the German Muslim group. “It’s not a joke,” says Sven Lau, one of the best known Salafists in Germany, “We want to take the message of our merciful God to Poland. And we are able to do it,” he continues. The conversation with Lau takes place in Wuppertal, a city in the Ruhr valley with a population of approximately 300,000. Sven Lau, a 34-year-old convert to Islam, established his own mosque in the suburbs this spring. In September, together with eleven radical Muslims, he led a march of the ‘Guardians of Public Morals’ through the city, which was the first of its kind in German history. On reaching the centre of Wuppertal he told people to refrain from going to clubs and amusement arcades. He distributed leaflets reminding people about the fact that according to Islamic Sharia law alcohol, smoking, loud music, pornography and prostitution are prohibited. The ‘Sharia patrol’ enraged Germans, as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere who demanded that Lau and the Salafits should at once be pacified. However, these were only empty threats. The ‘Sharia police’ did not break the law. They only contravened the Gathering Act, because the Salafists did not inform the local authorities about the march.
Polish quality is threatening the “Made in Germany” brand. It seems high quality is no longer the preserve of Germany. Polish, Chinese and Indian products will soon not deviate from German standards of quality, according to the results of a survey undertaken by the German Institute of Economic Research (DIW). According to German economists, Poland, China and India will soon be competing with “Made in Germany” products in terms of quality. The DIW survey was commissioned by the German Society of Quality (DGQ). “Right now, countries like Poland, China and India are breathing down our necks,” says Juergen Varwig, chairman of DGQ. He believes that low-cost economies are slowly turning away from their strategy of cutting costs and are now concentrating increasingly on the demand for high quality. The results of the DIW survey conducted among nigh on 1,200 German businesses show that China will soon become a leader in terms of competition for quality. Over 56% of companies employing over 250 workers believe that within two decades China will catch up with Germany. 42% of all surveyed businesses shared this opinion. Only 3% of respondents predict a drop in the quality of Chinese products. Poland is second on the list of high quality products in the survey. Over a third of German businesses (38%) believes that their eastern neighbour will make significant progress in quality.