Presidents of Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland call for settlement of Georgia-Russia crisis

October 5, Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine, Lech Kaczynski of Poland and Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania appreciate international efforts aimed at constructively resolving the Russia-Georgia crisis, the president press office informs.

“We appreciate the efforts by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karol De Gucht, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country presides in the European Union, as well as by other representatives of the international community, to resolve the problem. We are convinced that their involvement can be the major factor in the settlement of conflicts in Georgia to ensure its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,” they said in a joint statement.

The Presidents said they were worried about the situation in Georgia, calling on Russia and Georgia “… to refrain from mutual accusations and start negotiations.” They believe threats and reluctance to compromise can only lead to the deterioration of the conflict.

“Every conflict can be settled through negotiations, in which we are ready to participate asmediators,” they said.


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Saab Wins Missile Contract with Poland

Swedish aerospace company Saab AB announced Friday that it won a US$140 million contract with the Polish government to supply surface-to-surface missiles.

According to Saab, the Polish Navy will use the RBS15 Mk3 missiles on its fleet of corvette-class ships.

Poland is the second member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to order the RBS15 Mk3. Germany placed an order in September 2005.


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LOT considers direct flight to Poland

European carrierLOT Polish Airlines, in conjunction with Polish Airports State Enterprise (PPL), has announced that it will be exploring the possibility of establishing a new direct link between the United States and Poland.

The proposal is for a nonstop flight to originate in Rzeszow in the Podkarpacie region of south-east Poland, flying to New York - most likely John F. Kennedy International or Newark Liberty - where LOT already has secured landing slots.

It is believed that flights could begin as soon as next summer, provided all requirements and permissions are secured, and it is expected that service would operate twice weekly between the two cities.

Currently, LOT has direct links with two U.S. cities - New York and Chicago - through only two of its eleven airports in Poland (Warsaw and Krakow).

Founded in 1929, LOT is one of the oldest airlines in Europe and has direct links with several of the most prominent airfields and aviation hubs in the world.

The new route from Rzeszow is being mooted because residents of the region "constitute an important group of passengers flying to the USA from Poland", the airline said.
Soruce: news.cheapflights.com

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Trichet lashes out political meddling in Poland's central bank

Paris- European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet warned the Polish government Thursday about threats posed to the independence of the country's national central bank. He described political moves in Poland, which have compromised the Warsaw-based central bank such as increased changes in the regulation of the nation's financial sector, as "not in line with the rules of the European Union."

Trichet was speaking in Paris following a meeting of the ECB's 18-head rate-setting council.

In his comments to reporters, Trichet praised the economic transformation that has taken place in the ten largely Central and Eastern European nations which joined the European Union in May 2004.

But he went on to reiterate that the bank would not agree to water down the strict criteria for new EU states wanting to join the euro.

He stressed that "respecting the criteria" was the key to any of the EU newcomers gearing up to adopt the common currency.

As a result of the tough stance taken by both the ECB and the European Commission only one of the new EU states, Slovenia will be joining the euro in January next year.

With an inflation rate running at just over the tight 2.6 per cent reference rate for euro candidate states, Lithuania missed out on being the second of the new EU members to join the common currency in January.

Trichet's comments on Poland also echo concerns made by other leading ECB figures about political meddling in the National Bank of Poland and back up the worries expressed by the head of Poland's central bank Leszek Balcerowicz.

Poland's constitutional court recently headed off moves by the nation's ruling conservative government to set up a special parliamentary committee to investigate the central bank's role in the privatizations that have taken since the end of communism in 1989.

Trichet told his press conference in Paris that he was "very heartened" by the court's move and that others had recognized "the abnormality" of the political sentiment in Poland towards the nation's central bank.

More recently, however, Poland has faced a fresh bout of political instability caused by the break-up of the current ruling coalition.

The attempt to piece together a new coalition for the nation could end up resulting in early elections being called in the country instead of the ballot which is scheduled for 2009.

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Russia hopes Poland will back bid for zero EU duty on aluminum

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday accused the European Union of imposing discriminatory duties on Russian aluminum and expressed hope that Poland would back Russia in seeking what would "ideally be a zero" EU duty on the commodity.

"Poland is a huge consumer of aluminum in the European Union," Lavrov told reporters after a visit to Warsaw.


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Poland shows limited patience with Schengen enlargement

Poland will accept a one year delay in the enlargement of the Schengen region. A declaration to that effect has been made by Polish Interior Minister Ludwik Dorn at the session of the EU’s Ministerial Council. Dorn said Poland would be willing to agree to October 2008 as the date for doing away with border control procedures between old and new member countries. But not a year or even month longer, he warned. Poland shall not even consider propositions which extend the process to 2009 quoting technical problems for its reason, said the Polish Interior Minister. The final decision on the matter is expected at the summit of EU leaders in December.
Source: polskieradio.p

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Empresaria grows in Poland

Empresaria Group has acquired majority stakes in three Polish businesses in line with its objective of building a broad international presence.

The three Krakow-based businesses, which share a common management team, are ITC PRACA Sp. Z.o.o., ITC APT Sp. Z.o.o., and ITC CS Sp. Z.o.o.

Empresaria has taken a 51% shareholding in each one. The current management team retains the balance of the shares in each company.

Empresaria has also acquired an indirect interest of 25% in Cufik Sp. Z.o.o, a business that provides Polish contractors and migrant workers with insurance, travel and tax consultancy services.

Empresaria chief executive Miles Hunt said: “The investment by Empresaria in ITC and its related companies provides Polish workers with direct access to our UKbased operations and gives Empresaria exposure to the high growth Polish staffing market. This is another significant step in Empresaria’s strategy to become a broadly based international staffing group.”

Empresaria is paying initial consideration of £0.6m for 51% of each of the businesses with potential further consideration of up to £0.7m dependent on financial performance in 2006 and 2007.

Source: recruitermagazine.co.uk

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Poland seeks US extradition

Poland’s Minister of Justice has flown to the US in the hope of the extraditing a Polish businessman believed to have masterminded the assassination of national police chief General Marek Papala in 1998.

Police chief General Marek Papala was murdered while parking his car meters away from his Warsaw apartment in 1998. It took Polish authorities several years to apprehend Papala’s killer, an unknown assassination. The lengthy investigation has led public prosecutors to Polish businessman Edward Mazur, who’s now living in the U.S. Mazur is believed to have ordered the assassination. Polish justice authorities have been trying for the past 16 months to extradite Mazur. Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro.

‘I would like to see Edward Mazur brought to Justice. I have hard evidence in hand that many prove his guilt.’

But Criminal Lawyer Dagmara Woznikowska thinks that extraditing Mazur will be easier said than done

“Edward Mazur is a person who lives in the United States permanently and he is accused by Polish prosecutors of killing General Papala, who used to be Chief of Polish Police. There is a story that he would have been responsible to illuminate the Polish Mafia and that’s why he was killed. Probably Mr. Mazur was the person who ordered the execution. The US doesn’t want to extradite him to Poland. It is a question of political will. Poland doesn’t have such an agreement with the United States.”

Shortly before his death, General Papala was nominated to be a liaison officer within the EU in the fight against international organized Crime Groups.
Source:Report by Bogdan Zaryn,

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SEB opens corporate banking office in Poland

North European financial group SEB has strengthened its presence in the Baltic rim with the opening of a new branch office in Warsaw, Poland.

The company believes that the new office will particularly strengthen its Polish corporate banking business. Many of the bank's larger corporate customers from across the Nordic and Baltic regions and Germany also have operations in Poland.

"SEB has been present in Poland for 15 years. It is now extremely satisfying to take the next step and be able to offer corporate banking services under our own brand," said Veine Svensson, head of SEB in Poland.

SEB also said that work is almost complete on a Polish private banking unit, which should become operational in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Altogether, SEB has around 400,000 corporate banking customers and institutions, and five million private customers.


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Russian head of diplomacy in Poland

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov opens a two day working visit In Poland today. Talks are to focus on bilateral relations and economic cooperation.. The second pressing topic in Polish Russian relations is the energy exchange ,where there are many issue that need clarifying among them the construction of the gas pipeline which is to by pass Poland and the second branch of the Jamal gas pipeline. An embargo on Polish food exports to Russia has been introduced over a year ago , causing severe losses to Poland’s food industry and farmers. The economy ministry reports show that in the first 7 months of this year Poland has imported goods from Russia worth some 6. 8 billion USD while exported only 2.3 billion worth of goods.
Source: polskieradio.pl

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Poland saves EU funds for roads and railways

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – Road and railway authorities exceeded the minimal level of EU fund absorption.

The Polish officials responsible for spending EU funds for roads and transport have managed to rescue Poland from losing the money. A year ago, only PLN 677,000 (EUR 171,281) was spent from the Transport program while EUR 1.16 billion is supposed to be spent in the years 2004-06.

“Till the end of this year, we had to spend at least EUR 85m not to lose the funds. In September, we had the absorption level of EUR 92m. According to the forecasts, this amount may grow to EUR 185m at the end of this year”, Jerzy Polaczek, the Minister of Transport said.

The funds may be spent till the end of 2008. Government institutions spend their own funds first and after certain stages of investment projects are ended, they have them refunded by the EU.

(PLN 1 = EUR 0.253)

Source: pulsbiznesu.pl

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Foreign Investment Falls In Poland

Foreign direct investment in Poland dropped to 7.7 billion euros (9.8 billion dollars) in 2005, the nation's central bank said Wednesday, following the record year of 2004 when the country signed up to the European Union.

The Warsaw-based national bank said direct foreign investment (FDI) in Central Europe's biggest economy came in at 4.74 billion euros during the first half of this year with the government hoping that FDI would equal the 10 billion euros record it set in 2004.

Despite last year's fall, analysts said the latest data indicated that the nation's current political instability caused by the recent break-up of the current ruling coalition is not leading to foreign investors' turning way from Poland.

The attempt to piece together a new coalition for the nation could end up resulting in early elections being called in the country instead of the ballot which is scheduled for 2009.


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Polish television under attack by Poland ' s Government.

Warsaw, Poland October 4, 2006. The Polish Government is attacking Poland's private television station TVN 24 with accusations of it being influenced by the Polish Military Intelligence Services. The attack comes after TVN 24 aired tapes showing what many consider to be political corruption on the part of the Polish government. See English Translation of Tapes

The attack against TVN 24 was launched by an article that was published in a newspaper friendly to the Polish Government, right wing Gazeta Polska which article claimed that Milan Sobitic, Program Secretary of TVN 24, was an agent of the Polish Military Intelligence Services.

This was followed up by a publicly televised press conference held by Marek Kuchcinski, head of the ruling coalition party Law and Justice parliamentary club, at which press conference he accused TVN 24 of being under the influence of the Military Intelligence Services and demanded that TVN 24 admit it is the mouthpiece of the opposition party Civic Platform.

In a later television program, Teraz My, whose hosts made and aired the tapes that have embarrased the Polish Governmentt. Jacek Kurski was interviewed by the journalists who made the tape. He advance the attack by saying that Milan Sobitic was in fact an agent of the military intelligence services and that Milan Sobitic had been terminated from his position at the state-owned television program TVP after he attended what Kurski termed as an infamous drunken party held by a a Mafia group known in Poland as the Pruszkow Mafia.

The journalists of the newspaper printed the article claiming that Milan Sobitic is an agent of the Military Intelligence Services, right wing Gazeta Polska are under fire themselves from other journalists. On a late-night television program they were called to task for printing an article that was devoid of anything specific other than broad allegations that Milan Sobitic was cooperating with the Military Intelligence Services.

Journalists agree that if the allegations proved to be true, it may spell the end of TVN 24. And they also agree that if there is no foundation in the charges, this matter will end up in the courts.

In any case, it is now a battle between a private Polish television station and the Polish Governemnt. Only one will survive. The winner will determine the future of information dissemination in Poland.

Source: masterpage.com.pl

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New Loparex terminal in Poland

Loparex has opened a new printing and slitting terminal in Warsaw, Poland. This investment is part of Loparex’s strategy to strengthen the company’s operations in Europe and to increase its converting capacity.

The modern converting unit built in Warsaw’s Zeran Park consists of two slitting machines and one 2-colour flexographic printing machine. The unit will mainly convert siliconised ESP release liners manufactured on Loparex’s PM1 located in Lohja, Finland. In Poland, these release liners are printed according to customers’ needs and slit into customer dimensions. Loparex’s Poland sales office is also located in the 1800 m2 terminal premises.

This investment will significantly increase Loparex’s converting capacity and will service mainly manufacturers of hygiene products and envelopes in Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw’s excellent logistic location and good road connections will ensure quick service.

For the composite industry, Loparex has for long been a supplier of release liners. Developing the most technically advanced products in synergy with its customers' requirements has made the company a large supplier in this field.


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Experian-Scorex opens office in Poland

Experian-Scorex, the global decision analytics business of Experian®, has established an office in Warsaw, Poland. This move confirms the company’s commitment to the Polish market and will enable Experian-Scorex to better support its current and future clients in the country.

The new office strengthens Experian-Scorex’ existing consultancy capability, offering solutions that help its clients to better manage and control their business strategies for credit risk management, scoring and rating models, application and transactional fraud prevention, anti-money laundering solutions, collections and client relationship optimisation.

Micha³ Nowakiewicz, Experian- Scorex’ Business Development Manager for Poland, commented: “Poland is a very dynamic market, with rapid growth among financial institutions and telecommunications organisations. Experian-Scorex’ solutions will allow those organisations to maintain that growth whilst, at the same time, manage their risks and costs more effectively. Experian-Scorex is a global company and has extensive experience in both established and new credit markets around the world but we believe a strong local presence is the best way to effectively deliver the best solutions to that market. The new office is an exciting development and we look forward to working closely with our clients to help them develop strong and long-lasting relationships with their customers.”
Source: www.creditman.biz

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Elk herds on the roads in northern Poland

Police in the northern Warmia and Mazury region appeal for safe and cautious driving after dark since the roads in the region abound in elks. It is now the mating season for the elks and they tend to wander from the forests to the roads. Last night a car hit one animal which was trying to cross the road. The elk was killed on the spot, the driver is slightly injured, while his car is a wreck. In cases of accidents with elks the repair costs are covered by the state, though the driver has to prove that it was an elk that had been hit, not a deer or wild boar.
Source: www.polskieradio.p

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Pending the production growth, apple prices in Poland are decreasing

According to information provided by the Agricultural Marketing Project, the wholesale prices for this commodity continue decreasing in Poland in line with the continuous apple harvesting. As Polish trade sources inform, the wholesale purchase price for apples dropped down to$0.29-0.31/kg (it is nearly the same price level as observed past year) in the main production regions in Poland.

At the same time, an average price for dessert apples is $0.47/kg on BRONISZE market near Warsaw. But, a wide price range is observed even for one apple variety - it can be explained by a large quantity of sub-sized apples. Small apples of Lobo, Delikates, Cortland, Gloster, Champion and Antonovka varieties can be bought even for $0.29-0.31/kg. The quality apples of the mentioned varieties cost $0.5-0.54/kg.

To the opinion of Andriy Yarmak, the Deputy Director of the Agricultural Marketing Project, one of the reasons of a wide price fluctuation in Poland is a drought summer 2006. As a result, the producers harvested many small and sub-standard apples as most orchards in Poland are not irrigated. And, apple concentrate producers set up low prices for commercial shipments of raw materials. As a consequence, the farmers have to look for a possibility to sell small apples for a better price; i.e. the farmers supply large volumes of their apples on the market of marketable dessert apples.

The apple prices are also pressed in Poland by the forecasts of the relatively good apple harvest in 2007. According to some evaluations, 2007 harvest can insignificantly exceed the harvest 2006 (we'll remind that in 2006 Poland has picked one of the lowest harvests for the recent years). However, the quality dessert apples will hardly go cheaper this year. And, there is a possibility that a part of the grown apples will not be harvested because of the serious problems with labor resources observed in Poland at the present moment.

A. Yarmak observes that since November 2005 Poland has not been able to supply apples on Russian market. If this question is settled this year, the apple prices in Poland will significantly exceed the past year prices. Banned supplies of Polish apples to Russia make Polish companies search for the partners on the markets of Ukraine and other countries.

That's why several large wholesalers - suppliers of Polish vegetables, fruits and berries have already confirmed their participation in the third international conference "Fruits and Vegetables of Ukraine 2006. Open Market". Polish companies are actively interested now not only by apple supplies to Ukrainian market, but also the possibilities of produce import to Poland. In particular, the possibility to buy wholesale shipments is of a great interest: they want to purchase egg-plant, field and greenhouse tomatoes, cucumber, water-melon and melon, pepper, and peach, apricot, able grape and other thermophilic fruits in season in Ukraine. Off season, Polish companies are interested to purchase processed or handled produce, in particular onion and preserved cucumbers.

In order to provide a possibility to directly speak to the wholesale companies from Ukraine, Poland, Holland and other countries, and to meet the representatives of retail chains in Ukraine, the organizers of the conference envisaged a trade forum"Inner trade of produce commodities, import and export potentials". During the forum the leading experts will tell about new opportunities of inner and international produce trade; the buyer and seller companies will share their ideas and suggestions.


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Orco's brand acquires Parkhotel Vienna in Poland

MaMaison Hotels & Apartments, a brand belonging to leading investor and developer in the Central European real estate and hospitality market, Orco Property Group, has become the new owner of the luxury 4-star hotel Parkhotel Vienna in Poland.

Parkhotel Vienna is one of most modern-design hotels in the south of Poland, located in the pitucresque areas of Beskid Slaski and Beskid Żywiecki mountains. Parkhotel Vienna is located in Bielsko – a town affectionately known as "Little Vienna". The hotel will now undertake further renovation to meet the high-standards of MaMaison Hotels & Appartments.

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Poland becomes Europe's 8th plastic money market

Poland has become Europe's 8th largest plastic money market. according to the National Bank of Poland (NBP),

Poles had nearly 22 million payment cards at the end of the first half of this year, the PAP news agency reported on Monday.

In 2005, the value of the Polish plastic money market increased to 1.1 billion euros (1.4 billion U.S.dollars) from 600 million euros (770 million U.S. dollars) in 2004.

The market is estimated to reach 3.3 billion euros (4.2 billion U.S.dollars) in 2010, the NBP said.

Source: Xinhua

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Poland's 'flying doctors' fill gaps in Northern Irish health care

BELFAST- Called the “flying doctors,” Polish doctors have become veritable part-time migrants who work regular night shifts here to fill a vaccum left by their British or Irish counterparts.

“All the patients in the world are the same,” according to Doctor Agata Slawin, 40, a native of the southwestern Polish city of Wroclaw who spends one weekend out of two at Craigavon hospital in the heart of Northern Ireland.

Why would Slawin, a mother of two who has her own practice in Wroclaw, fly to the other end of Europe to do night shifts at weekends and on school holidays?

For one thing, she told AFP that she can earn four to five times as much in Northern Ireland. By doing four shifts in two days, Slawin can go back home with a check of 1,500 pounds (2,229 euros, 2,850 dollars).

Though she has to cover her travel costs, the plane ticket between Wroclaw and Dublin only costs about 100 pounds thanks to budget airlines.

For another, she added, the experience itself is valuable.

“It’s a great opportunity to exchange our experience, between Polish and Irish doctors,” Slawin said. “Generally skill sharing between European doctors is very beneficial for patients and medecine.”

To provide round-the-clock public health care, the National Health Service (NHS) has tried to hire enough doctors from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales as well as from across the border in the Republic of Ireland.

With the European Union acquiring new eastern European member states in May 2004, the authorities in the British province launched a campaign to hire doctors from the new member countries.

“I understand the Polish system is quite similar to ours, so it was easy for our Polish colleagues to come over and integrate well in the service we have in Northern Ireland,” said Ruth Rogers, spokeswoman at the Southern Health and Social Services Board.

For two years, six “flying doctors” provide regular consultations and a seventh is being recruited. Moreover, eight Polish general practitioners are now based semi-permantly in Northern Ireland.

All of them have maintained their practices in Poland.

“I saw an advertisement by head hunters in the local press in Wroclaw. I had a word with my wife, if you really have to go you go, but we’ll wait and see what happens,” said Doctor Mariusz Domanski.

For 18 months he has been spending three weeks out of four at the Daisy Hill hospital in Newry, a town bordering the republic of Ireland, where he has been doing night shifts.

In order to learn more about Ireland, Domanski has rented a room with a Northern Irish family because his wife and four children have preferred to remain behind in Poland.

Eighteen months later, the doctor from Wroclaw jokes with the nurses and staff at Daisy Hill.

'I was very afraid to see my first patient, afraid they would not understand me. But people are very polite here, much more than in Poland. I can't say I had any bad experience. ' he told AFP.

'On the contrary, one day I was entering a shop in Newry and somebody said 'excuse me.' When I heard 'excuse me,' I was surprised and wondered what I might have done wrong, but he went on to say he wanted to thank me,' Domanski said.

'Generally I think they have accepted us. I hope so anyway, but you never know, people here are very reserved,' he added.

An estimated 30,000 people from the expanded Europe, most of them natives of Poland, live in Northern Ireland, accounting for about two percent of the population.


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Vinci subsidiary won six new contracts in Poland

Warbud, a Vinci Construction subsidiary in Poland, has recently won six new contracts totalling €120 million. Warbud signed the contract with Poland's social insurance authority (ZUS) to build its head office in Warsaw. The €30 million contract covers the construction of two four-storey buildings (total surface area of 26,000 square metres), connected by an underground passage, within 24 months. The company signed the contract to renovate and modernise the MSWiA military hospital in Warsaw. The contract, worth €13 million, includes the renovation of the main hospital wing, an 11-storey building with a total surface area of 16,000 square metres, as well as the construction of a car park and helipad. The project will be delivered early 2008.

Gdynia, a municipality in the north of Poland, awarded Warbud a contract for the repair and construction of the Kwiatkowskiego viaducts. The €46 million contract covers the construction of two 350 metre viaducts, a 144 metre curved viaduct and the repair of a 345 metre viaduct. It also includes building 2.7 km of dual two-lane carriageway with over- and underpasses. The work is scheduled to take 20 months.

Warbud's special works division, in a consortium with POL-AQUA, a Polish hydraulic engineering firm, won the contract to build a rainwater storage reservoir and drainage system at Warsaw airport. The contract is worth €5 million, and is scheduled for completion in six months.

Warbud also won two housing construction contracts:
- A residential complex in Warsaw - housing and car parking facility - with a total surface area of over 20, 000 square metres. The €15 million contract is to be completed in 16 months;

- The seventh phase of a major property development project in Krakow, having been prime contractor on the earlier phases. The contract, worth €14 million, includes the construction of four apartment buildings with a total surface area of 37,000 square metres. This contract will be completed in autumn 2007.

Warbud has been operating in Poland for about 12 years and is one of the country's five biggest construction companies.

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Wind farms boom looms on Poland's breezy Baltic Sea coast

Poland's breezy Baltic Sea coast expects a boom in wind farms with forecasts predicting that by the end of the decade the country will enjoy a wind power capacity of 2,000 megawatts worth a total 2.4 billion euros (3.04 billion dollars).

This capacity would cover approximately 2 per cent of Poland's electrical power needs, according to a Monday report in Poland's Rzeczpospolita daily.

Wind electricity companies from Asia, Europe and the US are keen to be among the first to invest in the fledgling Polish wind-energy sector.

Interested investors include Germany's E.On, Spain's Iberdrola and Gamesa, Japan's Mitsui and J-Power as well as Danish and domestic Polish firms Windpol and Polish Energy Partners.

Earlier this year, the Japanese companies Mitsui and J-Power revealed a plan to build the farms near the Baltic Sea coast city of Koszalin in a joint venture with Poland's Windpol worth a total 70 million euros. With more than 4 billion euro in annual turnover, J- Power is a major energy player in Japan.

In June, the US-owned Invenergy electricity firm opened a wind power farm in Tymien, just west of the Baltic Sea coast city of Koszalin.

Denmark's Elsam firm has opened a 15-million wind farm on the Baltic Sea island of Wolin. Eolica, a Polish-Danish-Dutch joint venture, aims to build a further two wind farms on the Baltic coast near Koszalin. The Poland Energy Partners power company has similar plans.

New EU-recommended guidelines requiring Polish electricity distributors to buy up more power generated using renewable sources are fuelling the wind energy boom in Poland.

With just four wind farms producing some 100 megawatts of electrical power currently operating, Poland has an enormous growth potential in this sector.

By comparison, wind farms in EU neighbour Germany have a total power capacity of some 18,400 megawatts.

Source: news.monstersandcritics.com,

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Poland's privatization much behind schedule

he Treasury Ministry has announced that revenue from privatization in the first three quarters of the year have reached 514 million zloties, roughly 128 million euros. This stands at barely 10% of the annual budget plan for 2006. The targeted figure has been 5.5 billion zloties. The State Treasury intends to compensate for the losses with increased revenue from dividends to the tune of 2.5 billion zloties. Last year’s privatization results stood at 3.85 billion Polish zloties.

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Hollywood : Karan Johar eyes Poland for future films

Bollywood director Karan Johar is fascinated by the scenic beauty of Poland and hopes to shoot some of his forthcoming films in idyllic locales here.

"Poland is a very exciting place for outdoor shoots for Bollywood movies. If the subject of my forthcoming film is related to foreign locations, I will certainly select Poland as it has tremendous scenic beauty and proper technology, which is much cheaper than anywhere in the West. Also, Poles are very warm people," Johar told IANS in an interview here.

The director is in the Polish capital as a jury member for the Miss World 2006 beauty pageant. "It is a great honour for a Bollywood director to be invited for a global event. I hope I handle this event to the best of my ability."

Karan Johar's "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" was the first Indian commercial movie to be released with Polish subtitles in January 2005 and it proved to be a super hit across Poland.

With the release of "Kal Ho Na Ho", Shah Rukh Khan became a poster boy for the young Poles. Now cinema-goers here are eagerly awaiting the release of Johar's latest movie "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" (KANK).

"The details are being worked out for the film's release in Poland. I will certainly try to come to Warsaw when this movie will be released with Polish sub-titles," Johar said.

"I am extremely happy that KANK is doing fantastic business in overseas markets. It has already grossed 2.75 million pounds in Britain and hopefully it will break the record of 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' soon.

"We're also going to release KANK in Germany, which has a huge potential market of 85 million people, the largest in the European Union," the director added.

By Surender Bhutani, teluguportal.net

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Polish Immigration: Too Good To Be True?

Polish immigration has very much been the flavour of the last few months. And it does appear that there’s a genuine phenomenon here, not just something talked up by the press. Which makes a fucking change, from the same newspapers that would have us believe you can’t leave the house without being a victim of crime, or that 'political correctness’ means that Father Christmas is now an illegal immigrant.

It’s common to hear people speaking Polish in many parts of the country, as well as seeing Polish products and newspapers in shops. And on the whole, the reaction to Polish immigration has been positive. It’s seen as a good thing because it fills gaps in the UK workforce (a view endorsed by the CBI), and Poles in particular have been praised for their willingness to work hard, and, in the case of craftsmen, their skills and professionalism. However, the good news story does occasionally seem a bit too good to be true.

This week the BBC reported on a recruitment fair in London for Poles, saying 'the UK is in the grips of an extraordinary revolution’. The BBC report suggests that Poles are becoming more 'visible’ and taking on a more diverse range of jobs - instead of just bottom-of-the-ladder manual jobs like picking fruit, Poles (and other Eastern Europeans) are entering the mainstream of the workforce.

For many this is true, but the reality doesn’t seem to quite match up to the idea that Poles are getting decent jobs. The BBC’s report highlights one guy, David, who is handing out flyers at the employment fair. In Poland he was a teacher, taking home the equivalent of £200 a month; in the UK, he is getting £600 for handing out flyers. Meanwhile the actual employment agencies at the fair acknowledge that many of the jobs on offer are not fun fun fun. One recruiter comments: 'The work can be difficult - sometimes it’s a job in the food industry where people are working up to 10 hours in a chiller, for instance.’

There’s a term for handing out flyers and working in chiller rooms: it’s 'shit temp jobs’. It’s almost as though the eagerness to find something positive has led people to gloss over the reality of the work that Poles and other immigrants are actually doing.

And accompanying the influx of Poles has been a strange romanticisation of them, coupled with a demonisation of the British workforce. A whole narrative of 'hardworking Poles, lazy Brits’ has sprung up. It’s a bit insulting to both parties. At a trivial level, the 'hardworking Poles’ cliché shows a certain distasteful disdain for these hardworking little chaps. In a discussion about Polish workers on the BBC’s site, one individual makes a familiar point:

'Have to say - we had Polish decorators who did our house. They did a fantastic job - ever so diligent. They hardly took a break all day (they even refused cups of tea - they allowed themselves one cup in the afternoons only) and finished the job in less time than they quoted.’

Well, great. It’s good to get work done properly and on time, but there’s a slight longing for all workers to be automata. Curse the British and their tea breaks! This newfound love of the Polish nation also manifests itself as contempt for Brits. Comments on the BBC story typically run like this:

'I welcome the polish [sic] community and wish them all the best. Let them show our British workforce what it is all about!’
'It is just a shame that idle British unemployed/workers moan that they have a hard time of things.’

It’s a bit of an insult to all the Brits who work perfectly hard. There’s also a difference in circumstance between Poles and Brits. Many Poles intend to make some money and return to Poland, profiting from the massive disparity in wages. Good for them, but it’s a totally different situation to a British person contemplating taking a dismal job for ever and ever and ever.

And underlying the whole 'hardworking Poles’ narrative is some very harsh economic reality. The fact is that wages in Poland are *terrible*. As a result, £600 handing out leaflets obviously has some appeal, compared with £200 a month for being a teacher. However, the sums don’t really add up. The problem is that £600 doesn’t go very far, given the costs of living in the UK. (Adam, the Polish guy interviewed by the BBC who is earning £600 a month says he is living 'very cheaply’ with his sister.)

There’s also a question about what happens to Poles in the longer term. Doing a crap job for a while is something most people can put up with. The question is whether they can move on from this. If they can’t, then in the longer term then Poles and other immigrants will find themselves stuck in a rut, getting shitty jobs done at minimum cost to employers.

There’s also the claim that Polish immigrant workers (and others) are *not* competing for jobs with Brits, because they are doing the jobs no one else wants to do. There are some questions to be asked about this assumption. In economic terms, filling workforce gaps in the economy is a good thing. Notable examples are the shortages of teachers, engineers and doctors, and for employers and qualified immigrants who are prepared to move to the UK, this is an excellent opportunity. And in purely economic terms, the UK economy benefits from people doing the lousy, badly-paid jobs that no one else wants to do, but need doing.

The problem is that there’s a reason why people don’t want to do shitty jobs.

The 'benefits culture’ certainly exists, but shitty jobs have a number of drawbacks. By definition the work itself is grim. Often, the work is provided by agencies, which frequently means temp work, or short-term contracts with no job security. And above all, there’s the money. At the bottom of the employment scale, wages can be incredibly low relative to the cost of living, and have been for some time. One of the reasons people choose to live on benefits is that it offers a certain security - that and the fact that there’s not much point spending 40 hours a week in a terrible job for £20 more than what you’d get on benefits.

Where this relates to cheap immigrant labour is that while most Poles (and other immigrants) may not be competing directly against unskilled UK workers, they *are* helping to keep wages at the minimum level. There isn’t an easy answer to the problem of low wages, but it’s no wonder employers welcome the Polish workforce.

Of course, you can argue that anything that benefits the economy benefits all of us, or that higher wages will cause inflation, but that’s cold comfort to the millions of people on or around the breadline. (And in the same week that we saw yet more Polish success stories, another report was published highlighting the record levels of debt in the UK. The worst debt tends to affect the least well-off, which makes it hard not to conclude that many people are acquiring terrible debts just to exist.)

Undoubtedly immigration is having massive benefits, both for Poles and other immigrants and the UK as whole. It’s just a shame that the whole issue is too often reported as though the interests of employers are automatically the same as those of the workforce. They’re not, unless someone magically discovers a way to have a decent standard of living handing out leaflets.

Source: thefridayproject.co.uk

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Belfast International unveils three new routes to Poland

Belfast International Airport was flying high yesterday after landing a hat-trick of new routes - all to Poland.

EasyJet unveiled plans to start flights to Krakow early next year while no-frills Hungarian carrier Wizz Air said it would be launching services to Warsaw and Katowice in May.

The three new routes are expected to produce an extra 70,000 to 80,000 passengers annually for Aldergrove, which this year is on course for a total of five million passengers.

The news was announced by John Doran, the BIA managing director, who said: "This is a major breakthrough for Belfast International Airport because it opens up the fast-growing east European economies to us.

"Poland has a population of 38 million and with an increasing number of workers from there coming to Northern Ireland we expect the three routes to carry significant traffic.

"But there will also be scope for people from Northern Ireland to make use of the flights for business and leisure trips."

Wizz Air plans to use a 160-seat A320 aircraft for its six weekly flights from Aldergrove, three to Warsaw and three to Katowice.

EasyJet intends to launch its service early in the new year and will operate three to four times a week.

The new services will bring to 21 the number of international destinations served direct by schedules service from Belfast International.

In addition 15 domestic routes operate from the airport.

None of the new Polish routes will benefit from support from the Government's Air Route Development fund, which was designed to kick-start more direct services to foreign destinations.

Earlier this month Belfast International rolled out a master plan which it said could see major expansion at the airport over the next 25 years, with 7000 new jobs being created.


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Official: U.S. military ties remain strong with Poland

The U.S. military partnership with Poland is historic and strong, and suggestions that Warsaw is continually seeking money from Washington in exchange for putting bases on Polish soil is wrong, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England.

England, in a letter-to-the-editor published in Stars and Stripes Friday, reacted to a Sept. 22 story in Stripes. In the story, an unnamed U.S. defense official was quoted as telling the newspaper that the Pentagon has lost interest in establishing expeditionary bases in Poland.

The U.S.-Poland relationship is “not reducible to simple dollar figures or bottom lines,” England wrote.

“Rather, it is based on the fundamental values shared by the American and Polish people, literally over centuries.”

In his letter, England noted in particular Poland’s contribution to the fight in Afghanistan, where Warsaw currently has about 100 troops.

Earlier this month, Poland was the first NATO country to respond to the alliance’s supreme allied commander, U.S. Marine Gen. James Jones, when he called for more troops to help fight a resurgent Taliban. It did so by agreeing to send an additional 1,000 Polish soldiers, beginning in January.

After Great Britain, Poland also has been among the most enthusiastic supporters of the Bush administration’s “coalition of the willing,” in Iraq, with 2,500 troops in Iraq at its peak, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter told Stripes Friday.

Poland currently has some 900 troops commanding a multinational division south of Baghdad.

“Their sacrifices are appreciated in the context of the global war on terror,” Carpenter said.

Source:By Lisa Burgess, estripes.com

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Tatana from Czech Republic crowned Miss World

Czech beauty Tatana Kucharova on Saturday won the Miss World title, in a glitzy finale of the beauty pageant broadcast to more than 200 countries from the Polish capital.

Kucharova, 18, finished ahead of five other finalists, Romania's Ioana Valentina, Australian Sabrina Houssami, Stiviandra Oliveira of Angola, Brazil's Jane Sousa Borges Oliveira and Jamaica's Sara Lawrens.

The 104 contenders for the crown posed in bathing suits and evening dress during the gala celebration at Warsaw's stately Palace of Culture that was "gifted" to Poland by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

The new titleholder succeeds Miss Iceland's Unnur Birna Vilhajalmsdottir, named Miss World 2005 in China.

Now in its 56th year, Miss World claims to be the globe's largest beauty contest, edging out rival organization Miss Universe.

Saturday's two-hour event capped a month of activities in Poland where the contestants traveled widely, and performed traditional Miss World staples like singing and dancing. They also attended university conferences and, bafflingly, inspected bus engines with Polish police officers.

The two billion television viewers expected by the organizers to have tuned into the competition were able to vote by sending mobile telephone text messages.

"A Miss World isn't just a doll that walks around with a crown. The more intelligent she is, the more she has a rich interior life, the better off she is. That's the kind of girl I want to choose," said one former Miss World, Aneta Kręglicka of Poland.

Kręglicka was on a jury that included Indian director Karan Johan and British Olympic running champion Kelly Holmes.

Indian contestant Natasha Suri crashed out of the Miss World 2006 failing to make it to the final six of the pageant held at the Polish capital tonight.

Source: hindustantimes.com

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300 jobs to go in firm's Poland switch

NEARLY 300 jobs are to be lost at a Walkden factory.

Eaton Transmissions in Worsley Road North, Walkden, is to cease production by Christmas.

Staff were told yesterday by parent company Eaton Corporation, based in Ohio, USA, that production was moving to Poland.

It becomes the latest in a long line of manufacturers looking to move work from Britain to countries with a cheaper workforce.

The Walkden factory primarily produces transmissions and service parts for heavy-duty trucks and employs 299 people.

The company said an expected downturn in the heavy-duty truck market in 2007 was to blame.

Gary Slinger, plant manager at Walkden, said: "New emissions regulations come into force next year for new heavy-duty trucks, and as a consequence, the market has seen a massive surge in pre-buying to save costs.

"This in turn will lead to a drop in sales of up to 50 per cent, and the company has decided that, when the recovery comes round, it will not return to the levels it is at now, and that our plant will no longer fit into the company's global plan."

Eaton has entered into a 90-day consultation with staff and Amicus, the trade union. Some employees with Eaton's light and medium-duty transmission engineering group - part of the Walkden operation - may be transferred to another site in the North-west, but the rest of the business will move to the Eaton Truck plant in Tczew, Poland.

James Sweetnam, Eaton senior vice president and president of its truck group said: "Today's announcement is very difficult for us because of the great respect we have for our Walkden employees.

"Their contributions and efforts over the years are greatly appreciated."

Eaton Corporation, with 2005 sales of nearly £6 billion, has 60,000 employees worldwid.

The Walkden factory has been a major local employer since it opened in the mid-1960s.

At one time, before a disastrous fire in 1979, it employed nearly 1,000 people.

The factory was re-built at a cost of £20 million and was opened by Prince Philip in June 1982.

Source: By Nigel McFarlane, thisislancashire.co.uk

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Kluza named chief of Poland's new KNF financial market regulator

Former minister of finance Stanislaw Kluza was on Friday named the head of Poland's controversial new commission designed to supervise the rapidly growing financial sector. Formally called the Commission for Financial Supervision (KNF), the institution took effect September 19, despite the objections of the opposition and concerns of the European Commission.

The brain-child of Poland's governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, the new KNF replaces several independent institutions which have regulated Poland's blossoming private banking, stock market and insurance sectors since the advent of capitalism in 1989.

In a move which has been condemned by international observers, the KNF has replaced the Polish Securities and Exchange Commission (KPWiG) and the Insurance and Pensions Supervisory Commission (KNUiFE).

On January 1, 2008 it is also due to take over supervision of the independent Banking Supervisory Committee (KNB) currently headed by Poland's internationally respected central bank (NBP) chief Leszek Balcerowicz.

Seven government-appointed officials will sit on the new KNF, including presidential and Finance Ministry representatives. The president of the National Bank of Poland (NBP) will also be a member.

Prior to taking up the post of KNF chief Friday, 34-year-old economist Kluza served a brief stint as Poland's finance minister in the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Critics of the new KNF argue it will be subject to political cronyism and lack the healthy independence of the organizations it replaced.

NBP chief Balcerowicz has blasted the KNF as undermining the unbiased and independent supervision of Poland's financial sector.

Poland's Lewiatan Confederation of Private Employers has echoed his concern.

Objectors also note the centralization of power over Poland's banking, capital market and insurance sectors could prove very damaging.

The governing PiS and other supporters, however, argue similar centralized government agencies in Britain and the Netherlands are well-equipped to monitor the ever-more complex fusions of financial institutions in the era of globalization.

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Ukraine's Baloha meets Poland's Aleksander Szczygło

Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha met with his Polish colleague, Aleksander Szczygło, who is visiting Ukraine to mark the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre, the president press office reports.

Ukraine's Chief of Staff Baloha and Mr Szczygło discussed ways to develop cooperation between the presidential offices. They agreed to convenea meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Presidents of Ukraine and Poland to discuss priorities in bilateral relations. The chief of staff characterized the committee as an “important mechanism of the complex development of bilateral interaction.” Deputy Chief of Staff Oleksandr Chalyy will represent Ukraine during the meeting.

They also spoke about regional, home and foreign issues.

Poland’s Ambassador to Ukraine Jacek Kluczkowski attended the meeting.

Source: en.for-ua.com

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Miss World, Shunned in U.K., Expects Record Audience for Poland

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Miss World, the beauty pageant shunned in Britain where it started five decades ago, expects to attract a record television audience of 2 billion when this year's event culminates in Poland tomorrow.

The final, to take place in Warsaw's Palace of Culture, the city's Stalinist landmark, is a sell out, according to Lukasz Niegowski, a spokesman for the competition's Polish organizers. The 105 contestants have been touring the country the past month in their scanty dresses and bathing wear.

``I'm really happy the competition's in Poland this year, and not somewhere exotic,'' Sylwia Bielanska, a 19-year-old Warsaw student, said in an interview in the capital. ``It will promote our country throughout the world.''

Miss World started in the U.K. in 1951 and is now more popular in Asia and Africa as western European women's rights groups campaigned against it. The competition has found surprising allies in communist-ruled China, which has hosted it for the past three years, and Poland, whose government has made a name in Europe for its Catholic and socially conservative values.

In the northern port city of Gdansk, they were addressed by former Polish President Lech Walesa.

According to a study by the Gdansk Institute for Market Economics, the competition may boost economic growth by as much as 1 percentage point over four years and the state budget will gain additional inflows of about 16 million zloty ($5.1 million).

``It doesn't bother me at all that they're not wearing much, even though I'm a practicing Catholic,'' said Krystyna Poregiak, 73, a former teacher in Warsaw. ``This isn't just a beauty parade. It shows us the girls' intelligence and their grace.''

No Sex Please

Indeed the country, where more than 90 percent of Poles are baptized into the Church and one of the most popular radio stations is named after the Virgin Mary, is appearing to be more liberal than the Miss World organizers.

The Polish company staging the Warsaw event was asked by the Miss World license owner in Britain to make changes to the official poster advertising the competition. The original design showed a picture of a bare-breasted Warsaw siren, a goddess who has been the symbol of the city for centuries.

``The Miss World statute states there should be no sexuality or the concept of sex associated with the competition,'' spokesman Niegowski said. ``That's why all the posters had to be changed to cover up the breast with a ribbon.''

The competition was set up by Eric Morley, a British public relations worker. His widow, Julia Morley, has continued leading the competition since his death in 2000, licensing the Miss World title for 5 million pounds ($9.4 million) each year.

Polish Discount

Poland, a Soviet satellite state until the communist regime was overthrown in 1989 and a member of the European Union only since 2004, was unable to raise that amount. After negotiations, it eventually bought the license for less than half the total sum, daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported on Aug. 28.

``We negotiated the price down to two million pounds,'' said Michal Dworczyk, an adviser to the Polish prime minister, adding that the Miss World license holders ``were up against a wall'' and had little choice, the paper reported.

The record viewing figure expected may be more to do with new markets in Asia. While the British Broadcasting Corp. showed the competition between 1959 and 1979, entertainment channel Challenge, which belongs to NTL Group Ltd., will be the only U.K. station broadcasting Miss World this year.

British women's groups protested against the competition when it was held at London's Olympia exhibition center in 1999, with placards reading ``stop this sexist cattle market.''

``Of course this is humiliating for women,'' Kazimiera Szczuka, a literary critic and gender studies lecturer at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, said in a phone interview. ``Measuring them, weighing them -- it's just offensive.''

Walesa's Backing

Yet it's her fellow Poles that are embracing the event while the contestants are in the country. Walesa, who led the Solidarity movement credited with bringing down the communist system throughout eastern Europe, is among the fans.

``The world is an open place right now,'' according to comments published on the official Miss World Web site. ``All you need to do is fill it -- and if you fill it with your beauty, with values, justice and order, it will be a better place.''

Source: By Katya Andrusz, bloomberg.com

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EasyJet plans to launch Northern Ireland-Poland service next year

LONDON (AFX) - No-frills airline easyJet PLC said it is launching a new route from Belfast to Krakow in Poland next April.

The Luton-based carrier said it will run three flights a week on the route, which is part of an expansion plan for Belfast International Airport that easyJet plans to announce in the coming weeks.
Source: By Philip Waller, hemscott.com

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Poland, Lithuania agree to hook up power grids

Poland and Lithuania on Friday formally agreed to build a strategic 'energy bridge' hooking up the electrical power grids of both countries for between 300 and 400 million euros.

Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and visiting Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus signed a joint declaration on the project in Warsaw.

Striving to ease its heavy reliance on Russian energy supplies, the Baltic state of Lithuania has been seeking the link with Poland for years.

It has also proposed that Poland become a partner in building a third reactor at Lithuania's Soviet-era Ignalina nuclear power station.

Fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia, also keen to diversify energy suppliers and ease energy reliance on Russia, have expressed interest in the project.

Lithuania also recently concluded agreements to hook up to the Swedish electrical power grid with a cable under the Baltic Sea. It is considering a similar link with Finland.

As a sign of more fusion between the Polish and Lithuanian energy sectors, Poland's major PKN Orlen oil refiner is also in the process of buying-out Mazeikiu Nafta, Lithuania's only oil refiner.

Source: news.monstersandcritics.com

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Taped bribe offer hits Poland PM

September 29, 2006

POLAND was plunged into political chaos yesterday after a secretly filmed videotape showed a member of the ruling party trying to buy the support of a woman politician.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was bombarded by opposition calls to resign and dissolve parliament because his main policy plank - to combat corruption - had effectively been destroyed.

"A government that attempts to corrupt parliament cannot rule any longer," said Donald Tusk, leader of the opposition centre-right Civic Platform (PO).

"Today, all decent people are demanding the immediate resignation of Jaroslaw Kaczynski."

An opinion poll published by the Rzeczpospolita daily, however, showed that new elections would merely reproduce the current stalemate, giving the PO (which has 223 seats) a definite edge over Mr Kaczynski's Law and Justice party.

But it would still be eight seats short of an absolute majority and would have no obvious coalition partner.

The alleged bribery case was an attempt by Mr Kaczynski's team to break out of this impasse.

Until last week it had formed a coalition with the Self-Defence Party, a radical farmers' grouping led by volatile pig-farmer Andrzej Lepper.

Mr Lepper, who was deputy prime minister, broke away from the governing coalition after refusing to approve Mr Kaczynski's draft budget, which included cuts in agricultural subsidies. Since then, the Prime Minister has been struggling to woo dissident members of the Self-Defence Party.

The covertly recorded film - broadcast on private channel TVN on Tuesday night local time - shows one of Mr Kaczynski's close confidants, Adam Lipinski, in a hotel room trying to persuade Renata Beger, the Self-Defence Party deputy, to stay with the Government.

Ms Beger admitted that she tipped off the television station.

Ms Beger was a vulnerable target - she was under investigation for faking voter signatures - but, aware of the hidden camera, she threw her weight about during the conversation.

In return for her defection, she demanded the post of deputy agriculture minister.

"That's no problem, we have many free positions," Mr Lipinski told her.

After consulting with his bosses, he had to backtrack. Instead, he offered her free legal advice - and financial help to pay off her debts to the Self-Defence Party. It was this financial offer that has been considered a bribe.

Mr Lepper has made every member of his party pledge E140,000 ($237,600) in return for help at elections. At the end of a legislative period, the politician gets back 80 per cent of this deposit. But if a politician defects, he or she forfeits the whole sum.

This legally dubious system has been enough to keep Mr Lepper's shambolic party together.

Mr Lipinski saw his offer not as a bribe but as a liberation for an unhappy politician.

"This was normal coalition-building," Mr Lipinski said.

"I take nothing back and intend to continue persuading deputies to join our parliamentary majority."

Mr Kaczynski's only chance of mustering a majority in parliament now is to strike a deal with a second farmers' party, the PSL. But it broke off all negotiations yesterday, expressing shock at the revelations.


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High definition television comes to Poland

Poland’s private broadcaster, the ITI group, is launching a high definition television platform in October. Currently Poland has two digital commercial TV platforms. Analysts wonder if there is room for yet another one.

The new high definition TV digital platform will simply be known as “N”. Polish commercial broadcaster the ITI group plans to launch the new HDTV platform next month. Artur Budzieszewski program director of Platform N says that the platform will offer a wide selection of film channels, on demand movies as well as sports in high definition..

'We can be proud, because we have something to everyone’s taste, the best of the market has to offer and more. We have lined up a package of new channels. It’s an offer which is a novelty in terms of format and content.’

On offer are channels for the entire family, including a channelfor toddlers. Currently Poland has two commercial digital platforms. Cyfra Plus offering Canal + and HBO prime movie channels, and Polsat. Both platforms offer several packages which have over 100 channels. Poland’s public broadcaster TVP plans on launching its own platform soon. Boguslaw Chrabota from Polsat says that, with tiny exceptions, “N” will offer the same channels which are already available in Poland.

'TVN’s offer is 50% of what we have, So I think that they need several years to be ready to compete with us.’

Broadcast analyst Stanislaw Piatek thinks that the time is ripe for a new offer. He does believe, however, that there is potential demand for high definition TV in Poland but, a varied new selection of channels are equally important.

‘I think there is some room for such offerings. Certainly they have to add something in terms of programming, completely new programmes to the market. Will it be enough, to attract the viewers, this is the big question.’

So far roughly 2 million Poles have subscribed to the other digital platform run by Polsat and Cyfra +. Analysts think that there’s enough ordinary Polish families, who only non have access to terrestrial TV, to form ‘N’s’ new subscriber base.
Source: By Bogdan Zaryn, polskieradio.pl

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Poland Faces Labor Shortage as Its Proverbial Plumbers Go West

Edward Suchan, the president of a construction company in Krakow, Poland, can't find enough bricklayers, carpenters and electricians to hire. So he has turned to the local jail, hiring 10 ex-convicts and awaiting the release of 20 more.

``Workers have vanished into thin air,'' Suchan said in an interview. ``More people have left this country than during martial law. We have to turn down contracts because we can barely meet deadlines.''

In Western Europe, the ``Polish plumber'' is a catchphrase for the flood of workers who've migrated since the expansion of the European Union in 2004, sparking resentment from London to Berlin and feeding a growing conviction the newcomers are taking jobs from natives. Less reported is what the migration is doing to the economies those workers left behind.

A World Bank report issued yesterday concluded that the impact is greater on nations losing craftsmen and laborers.

``Even though post-accession labor flows have been absorbed with little evidence of any negative impact on the receiving economies, they did have a significant impact on the sending countries'' the bank said in its quarterly report on the eight eastern states that joined the EU in 2004. ``Massive outflows of workers may lead to labor shortages, signs of which are already visible in the Baltic States and Poland.''

Latvia and Lithuania

Latvia, the EU's poorest nation per capita, says as many as 120,000 people, or 10 percent of the labor force, work abroad. Lithuania's Statistics Department says about 126,000 people emigrated between 2001 and 2005, accounting for 7.9 percent of the workforce.

In Poland, the Labor Ministry estimates more than 600,000 Poles have left. Krystyna Iglicka, an economist at the Warsaw- based Public Affairs Institute, says the real figure may be as high as 1.2 million. Some 228,000 long-term Polish workers are registered with the U.K. Home Office; Ireland has 105,000. Another 330,000 Poles are holding temporary seasonal jobs in Germany.

That number is likely to grow. Warsaw researcher PBS DGA in a telephone survey this month found half of Poles under 24 years of age expect to move away within the next two years.

For companies like Suchan's PBP Chemobudowa-Krakow SA, that means delays in projects and loss of revenue. The National Statistical Office says 45 percent of domestic builders are short of workers, almost triple last year's figure.

Closing Wards

Forty-three percent of domestic companies complain that the shortage of qualified workers is affecting their business, according to Lewiatan, the association for private employers. The Polish Health Ministry estimates about 5 percent of doctors have emigrated since EU membership, forcing some hospitals to ditch services and close down wards.

The EU's 2004 expansion, which created a single market of 450 million people and opened doors long denied to the citizens of former communist regimes, also aimed to bring down barriers to cross-border investment. In Poland's case, the government says that foreign companies are creating about 51,000 new jobs annually -- far fewer than those being lost to emigration. And foreign companies may run up against the same issues domestic employers are already dealing with.

Wroclaw, the fifth-largest Polish city, boasted about the country's annual economic growth rate of 5 percent and its educated and cheap labor force to lure foreign companies such as LG.Philips LCD Co., which will spend $550 million in the area by 2011.

`All for Nothing'

These employers are still waiting for enough local people to sign up for factory work, said Mayor Rafal Dutkiewicz.

``I promised 100,000 new jobs four years ago and will keep my word,'' said Rafal Dutkiewicz. ``But it seems all for nothing because these big foreign companies we invited, after hiring 40,000 local workers, now can't find enough hands.''

To counter the trend, the city of 670,000 began a campaign in the U.K. and Ireland, with billboards proclaiming, ``Come back Poles, we have work for you, Wroclaw loves you.''

The problem is the wage differential that exists even in foreign-owned Polish factories, said Ireneusz Jablonski, an analyst at the Adam Smith Center, a research group in Warsaw.

In Poland, the average monthly wage is $850, while in neighboring Germany, the average is more than $4,000.

``The government successfully tempted foreign investors with tax exemptions and low labor costs,'' said Jablonski. ``Poles, though, prefer emigration rather than humiliating salaries that are not enough to keep up even a basic standard of living.''

The central bank reported in August that 16.5 percent of domestic companies plan to raise wages in the third quarter, while the European Commission said on Sept. 6 that the shortage of employers in some industries will boost wages and spark inflation.

``Companies must pay more if they don't want to lose employees,'' said Deputy Labor Minister Boguslaw Socha. ``Otherwise, we won't stop that exodus.''

Source: By Monika Rozlal, bloomberg.com

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New flights link with Poland

POLISH low-cost airline Centralwings has announced the addition to three new direct flights from Cork and Shannon. In the new winter schedule, Centralwings will add direct flights from Cork to Krakow and Cork to Wroclaw, both starting on October 31, and a direct flight from Shannon to Gdansk beginning on October 30.

The Polish airline is celebrating having carried 57 per cent more passengers during from June to August 2006 than in the same period during 2005.

The three Munster flights are among eight new routes will be added in the winter schedule. Further information is available by logging on to www.centralwings.com.


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Direct Poland-NI routes announced

The first direct air routes between Poland and Northern Ireland have been announced by a low-cost carrier.

Wizz Air is set to begin flights between Warsaw and Katowice and Belfast International Airport.

There are an estimated 30,000 Polish people living, working and studying in Northern Ireland.

Wizz said both services would operate every other day. The Katowice route begins on 29 May next year and Warsaw on 28 July.

Wizz Chief Executive Jozsef Varadi said the carrier was "delighted to offer another new destination to our customers".

"Passengers from Poland are already familiar with Wizz Air, as the largest low cost carrier in the country.

"I am confident that all our new passengers from Belfast and the region will enjoy our low fares and excellent services when travelling to Poland for leisure or for business."

John Doran of Belfast International Airport said Eastern Europe represented a large growth market for direct air services from Northern Ireland.

"We are delighted to welcome this exciting new development in services from Belfast International Airport; a move which begins to open up this challenging market and we look forward to growing direct services to Eastern Europe over the coming months," he said.

The Polish community is the largest single Eastern European grouping in Northern Ireland.

A new monthly magazine, Glostik, catering for the community was launched recently.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk

Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland