Isolated Middle Class

In Need of Saving

In Need of Saving

During the fall of communism, Polish society was characterised by diverse social classes mixing together. University professors lived alongside bus drivers, nurses alongside doctors. Similarly in primary schools, where regionalisation was in force, children from very different backgrounds attended the same class. The growing middle class recognised social diversity in housing estates and schools as something dangerous. Managers, lawyers, doctors, business owners, indeed anyone who had reached a higher level of income, immediately tried to isolate themselves from other groups. Warsaw’s Wilanów district (a place of dreams!) resembles a well-trimmed lawn, where nothing else grows. Similarly dressed people of a similar age walk along the pavements alongside similar cars or sit in similarly trendy pubs tailored to the tastes of the middle class. However, social blending is particularly important in today’s unstable world. Social moods change as in a kaleidoscope. School should be a place where children learn and get to know society. The Polish middle class thinks about its children as a future elite. However, an elite cannot exist without knowledge of society. Separation from others harms those who are doing the separating.
Gazeta.pl

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GDPR Falls on Deaf Ears

Calm Before the Storm?

Calm Before the Storm?

ARC Market and Opinion found that 40% of Polish people admit that they have not even heard about the new regulations on personal data protection (GDPR). Only 10% of Polish citizens claim that they knows the details of GDPR. At the same time, less than one third of respondents trust companies and institutions in the context of the security of their personal data, and half claim that their data was used without their consent in the last year. In less than three weeks, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), will come into force. The changes will apply to all companies that collect and use the data of natural persons. According to the survey, the youngest citizens (18-24) are the least informed, whereas people over 35 years of age are best informed. 30% of respondents believe that companies and institutions protect their data well. Men are more confident in relation to companies and institutions with 36% assessing the degree of protection of their data by companies as high. The people most confident in data protection are the youngest age group (18-24): 45%. On the other hand, the oldest respondents (45-55) have the least confidence, only 17%. “The fact that the level of trust among the oldest surveyed age group is particularly low indicates that this group has highest awareness of how valuable their data for companies is in the context of marketing. Perhaps the regulations will reduce incidents related to improper use of data, which in turn may increase confidence in companies. On the other hand, after the introduction of new regulations, consumers may be more vigilant regarding misuse of their data and therefore may more readily report violations to relevant authorities,” says Marek Lekki, Managing Director at ARC Market and Opinion.
rp.pl

New Constitution for Poland

New Constitution?

Duda Pushing for Change

During a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the 3 May Constitution of 1791 (one of the world’s first written constitutions), Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that he would submit a request for a consultative referendum on amendments to the Polish Constitution to the Senate. He wants this two-day vote to take place on 10 and 11 November. “I would like Polish society to be asked about the direction in which they want political changes to go,” said Duda. The planned voting would coincide with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence. “This is the year we should answer important questions about the future of the Republic,” he said. During the Constitution Day ceremony, the President also said that “Polish people deserve a strong, sovereign state which improves every year, which is efficient, with just courts, a well-functioning judiciary, with an honest and well-functioning administration, with honest authorities who are able to manage the country well.” According to the current Constitution, a nationwide referendum can be convened by Parliament, or by the President with the consent of the Senate.
tvn24.pl

The Menace of Recession?

PLN 500 for Families

PLN 500 for Families

According to reports, the money provided to families as part of the “Family 500+” programme, launched by the Polish government on April 1, is quickly returning to the stock market. However, an increase in retail sales during the first half of 2016 has not been as significant as was expected. The problem lies with deteriorating market moods amongst entrepreneurs, fewer investments by business and a poor situation on the construction market. Experts assume that this is why the Polish GDP annual growth rate projected in this year’s Finance Act will likely not be achieved. “Following the first half of 2016, we have experienced economic growth that would be the pride of many western European countries, however, current Polish GDP is still too far from the 3.8% projected in the Finance Act for 2016,” said Grzegorz Ogonek of XTB. He continues: “500+ has proved to be driving retail sales but it is not capable of carrying the entire economy”. The XTB expert also expressed his surprise and deep concern over the deteriorating PMI in Poland. “It seems like half of Poland’s entrepreneurs are expecting an economic slowdown,” Ogonek said.
money.pl

Battle for Błaszczykowski

Kuba Błaszczykowski

Kuba Błaszczykowski

There is no doubt that this summer has been particularly hot for Polish international Jakub Błaszczykowski, former captain of the national football team. Last season, spent at Fiorentina, was rather average for Błaszczykowski, where the winger mostly sat on the bench due to injury and a lack of form. His run of misfortune was broken during Euro 2016 in France  where he was widely considered one of the best performers. The Polish team, managed by Adam Nawałka, reached the quarter-finals and Błaszczykowski won the hearts of Polish fans by scoring two goals. The tide, however, again turned in France with the winger failing to score the decisive penalty during Poland’s final game against Portugal, ending Poland’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals. What is more, Błaszczykowski’s fate has been hanging in balance ever since the change of manager at his parent club Borussia Dortmund. According to “Kicker”, Germany’s leading sport magazine, there is no place for Błaszczykowski at Borussia anymore and there are even voices saying that he is to be replaced by Andre Schuerrle, Marco Reus or Ousmane Dembele. He may have a contract for two more years at Borussia, but many European clubs such as Hertha Berlin, Wolfsburg, West Ham, Southampton and Liverpool have already begun battling for Błaszczykowski. Kuba has turned down offers from more ‘exotic’ clubs, Beijing and Chicago Fire, to name but two. The player himself is more hopeful of a deal in Germany or England.
wp.pl

President on a Leash

Who's in Control?

Who’s in Control?

It has been over a week since Warsaw hosted the NATO summit, however, regardless of how successfully the capital of Poland handled the challenge of preparing the event, comments and heated discussions about the nature of current Polish policy continue. Marcin Kierwański, PO (Civic Platform) MP, stated that as long as the Polish government avoids responsibilities for its actions, Poland will not be treated as a partner amongst other democratic countries. What is more, the MP believes that the fact that President Duda’s actions are constantly ‘supervised’ by the leader of PiS (Law and Justice) also affects the image and credibility of Poland. “The joint press conference with Barack Obama demonstrated that President Andrzej Duda is not able to free himself of Jarosław Kaczynski’s influence,” Kierwański continues. The MP reiterated that during the summit, the US President clearly stated that NATO is not just a military alliance, it is also a community with democratic values and Poland needs to share these values, which are the foundation of the organisation. “If Poland is to remain an example of democracy for the rest of the world, there is still more work to be done regarding the impasse surrounding the Polish Constitutional Tribunal,” Obama said. According to Kierwański, Duda is aware that the remarks made by Obama are ultimately true, but he is not able to free himself from Kaczyński. “After being lectured by President Obama, President Duda decided that it is better to remain silent and pretend that everything is fine,” the MP added.
onet.pl

Prosumerism in Poland?

Helping Out?

Helping Out?

In relations between a financial institution and the client, the latter is often in a weaker position. The trend in improving the consumer’s position is ever more visible on the Polish market with a raft of new regulations being introduced, disclosure requirements for financial institutions, and a concerted education campaign giving consumers new found strength. New reports appear in the media every few months highlighting some unfair lending institution which led an elderly person to ruin, or a bank which lured a young family into taking a loan, which turned out to be unpayable for them. Such situations should be eliminated, say experts. They may not completely disappear, but improved legislation can limit such practices. Poland continues to be at the forefront in CEE in improving the lot of consumers.
biznes.newsweek.pl