Poland compelled launching of the antidumping duties on the frozen strawberry from China

November 8th, 2006

On the 10th of October the European Commission took a decision to accede to the request of Union of Polish Deep Frozen Products’ Producers and to clap temporary antidumping duties on import of frozen strawberries to EU countries. So, starting from the 18th of October frozen strawberry suppliers from China will pay 34.2% of antidumping duty in addition to the standard duty on import of frozen strawberry. The antidumping duty has been launched for 5 years.

Polish farmers, dealing with commercial cultivation of strawberry, felt serious business competition with China suppliers in 2004 for the first time. At that time, during the strawberry harvesting time in Poland the price on the frozen Chinese strawberry, delivered to EU, was about 0.6 EUR per kilo, when the production cost on strawberry cultivation in Poland at the same time was on about 0.55 EUR per kilo level, as estimated by analysts. Taking into account charges for freezing and delivery to EU, to compete with China, Polish producers had to sell strawberry with great losses for themselves. For example, in 2004 Polish exporters of frozen strawberry could not propose it to customers in the EU countries cheaper, than for 1 EUR per kilo.

The situation went worse in 2005, when Chinese suppliers began to supply frozen strawberry for 0.46 EUR per kilo already, herein that expenses for strawberry production in Poland grew highly. That situation led to substantial reduction of strawberry areas in Poland, which were traditionally the main strawberry supplies to the EU markets. With launching of the antidumping duties Polish producers hope to recapture the production profitability of this traditional for Poland berry and to increase its export to the markets of European Union.

This article shows how countries, in this case Poland, deal with China undercutting farmers. This can possibly lead to countries farmers’ demise. China was delivering frozen strawberries to the EU for a price that Poland could not compete with after taking into account charges for freezing and delivery to EU. Suppliers from China will now pay an antidumping duty in addition to the standard duty on import of frozen strawberry. Poland was the main supplier to the EU and was threatened and now hopes to recapture their profits as they regain their exports to the EU markets. This is happening not only within the strawberry market. China is undercutting many countries in various industries. China also does not allow many imports, except for necessities, and exports a lot.

Here are some questions to reflect on, respond to, or debate my opinons on them.

1. Is it fair to limit the trade of Chinese strawberries if they are the most efficient producer?
a. I feel it is not fair in the slightest bit because they are not creating a fair trade envirionment, as they do not have a “perfect” environment for strawberry growth and are exporting using a different tactic.

2. Who will be hurt by the tariff onf Chinese strawberries?
a. European consumers because of a more expensive product
b. Chinese producers because an increased quantity at a lower price
c. The international strawberry industry because of redirected trade flow from China. As of now they do not allow us to import to China becuase we have “harsh chemicals and pests”, even though they have said “our strawberries are larger and taste better”.

3. Is China fully representing all the costs of production?
a. No, they have communist land practices.
b. It appears China has non transparent agricultural subsidies by the government, allowing them to gain international market share and show that their contry is rising. The speaker today showed us how China used to pull into ports with luxurious ships and trade, even thought they didn’t need the goods, to show they were back and ready to be in charge.

4. Is China practicing a predatory strategy in agricultural commodities?
a. Potentially they are and it is apparent in other commodities they export.

Submitted by: Victoria Whelan

1. Chris Carr | November 8th, 2006 at 2:51 pm

Good post. Amazing — once again the Europeans have a hard time stomaching this thing called competition. To be fair to them, though, we have our own skeletons in this closet. Exhibit A – the “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy” book that many of you already indicated you plan to read, and what the cottom farmers/industry in the US do to protect their turf and avoid labor markets. This makes the Poles and their protectionism look like small timers! And yes, you are right in that the Chinese play their own protectionism games on certain commodities and consumer goods. Markets and the “invisible hand” that Adam Smith wrote about are interesting – most folks believe in them …. until they apply to them! As an example, most Americans feel that the Chinese should let their yuan/renminbi “float”, but be careful what you wish for – if they do that the cost of any MBA trip to China goes up!


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Poland wants more EU cooperation with Baltic states

All three Baltic presidents and Polish president Lech Kaczynski, meeting in Vilnius on Nov. 6, agreed that they must strengthen cooperation and jointly pursue EU interests as one voice. “Closer cooperation between the three Baltic states and the Visegrad Four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) would benefit all participating countries,” the three Baltic presidents highlighted in a statement released after the meeting.

However, during a briefing later that day, it became clear that the four leaders’ stance on EU involvement differed slightly.
Poland’s president argued for strengthening regional collaboration between the Baltic states and Poland.
“Cooperation between the Baltic states and Poland in NATO and the EU – particularly in the EU – can bring significant results,” Kaczynski said.
Meanwhile, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves prioritized the need for cooperation between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, leaving Poland on the sideline.

“I hope that the three Baltic countries can move even closer and adopt common policies like, for example, the Benelux countries have done. We [need to] develop a common position in the European Union,” Ilves said.
But all four presidents were unanimous on other issues, such as NATO enlargement, the European Union’s Neighborhood Policy, and energy security.
Latvia and Poland’s presidents stressed that, during the upcoming NATO summit in Riga, alliance members should promote NATO’s open-door policy and discuss what can be done to help aspiring member countries meet accession standards.
“All four countries represented here today feel very strongly that the Riga summit should provide signs of encouragement,” Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said at the briefing.

However, Kaczynski’s comments somewhat differed.
“Unfortunately, the NATO summit in Riga will not be an enlargement summit,” he said. “But some message, some signal must be sent during the conference.”
The Polish president supported his Baltic counterparts in their call for a tighter EU neighborhood policy, especially with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

“Ukraine and Georgia must be given clear prospects on their future in the EU, even if accession is still far away,” Kaczynski said.
Speaking on the same subject, Ilves asked the EU to consider closer economic relations with potential new members.
“The EU must pay more attention to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova and maybe offer them better trade conditions. This is especially important for Georgia, which is cut off from normal trade connections. We, the Baltic countries, know well what that means,” the Estonian president said.
Georgia is currently in a heated row with Russia, which has imposed economic sanctions on the former Soviet republic. Like Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also suffered an economic blockade after they restored their independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

During the meeting, the presidents also discussed joint infrastructure projects and unanimously stated their support for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania (see story Page 12), despite dissent from Kaczynski.
“I can not make any commitments on behalf of Poland,” he replied when asked whether Poland plans to take part in the project.
The new nuclear facility, which will replace Lithuania’s Ignalina power plant once it shuts down in 2009, is set for completion in 2015, and will contribute to the entire Baltic region’s energy supply. The project has eased Baltic fears that Ignalina’s closure will increase their dependency on oil and gas supplies from Russia.

Although Kaczynski had doubts about building a new power plant, the president reiterated his support for an “energy bridge” between Poland and Lithuania, saying that discussion over the project was “moving in the right direction.”
Surprisingly the topic of Russia, usually always brought up at such meetings, was nearly ignored. Except for a call to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, an agreement on the terms of energy supply from Russia to EU members, the Baltic’s eastern neighbor was not mentioned during the meeting. Nor was Russia discussed in the briefing.

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Poland's President in the UK

Poland’s President Lech Kaczyński closes his two-day official visit to the UK.

Today, President Kaczyński was in Edinburgh. At a meeting with the expatriate Polish community he said that he hoped the young people who had gone to look for work in Britain will return home, because Poland shall need them.

Mr.Kaczyński held talks with Scottish Prime Minister Jack McConnell, who complimented the Poles working there and said Scotland tried to be a second home to them.

During yesterday’s trip to London, President Kaczyński met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Presidential couple were also received by the Queen.

Today’s visit to Edinburgh went in the company of a protest of a group of young Poles who claimed they did not want to return to a country which did not teach the theory of evolution and the President claims monopoly to morality and truth.

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Poland shows interest in oil and gas cooperation with Azerbaijan

Polish Senate Marshal Bogdan Borusewicz said his country shows interest in cooperating with Azerbaijan in the oil and gas sector.

In his meeting with Azerbaijani speaker Artur Rasi-zade on Wednesday, Borusewicz said Poland seeks “to involve Azerbaijan in the Odessa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline project.”

In his view, the creation of the Central Asia-Caucasus-Europe energy corridor will help ensure Poland’s energy security. In addition, the Polish Senate marshal thinks that Polish companies may take an active part in developing Caspian deposits by rendering services to oil companies, which work there.

At the same time, Borusewicz noted, “Poland considers Azerbaijan an energy source and a promising partner in other fields of economy.”

Poland’s possibilities of machine-building, manufacturing construction materials, machinery and household appliances, the food and light industries are presented at the Poland Expo exhibition currently under way in Baku.

Economics Deputy Minister Andrzej Koczmarek told a press conference that every fifth company maintains partnership with Azerbaijan. In his words, the development of bilateral trade and economic relations pins hopes. Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Poland may double in the near future and reach 100 million U.S. dollars, the deputy minister stressed.

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Railway in Poland: Hupac opens agency in Poland

Middle and East Europe countries gradually start playing a meaningful role in international freight transport. In 2005 Swiss company Hupac put first connection between Antwerp and Poland in combine transport into operation. In June 2006 Hucad opened its agency in Warsaw.
“Every week we set three trains between Antwerp and Polish terminals (in Kobylnica, Warsaw and Sławków) in motion – says Peter Howald, the intermodal service director in Hupac. “The grade of exploiting the trains is satisfying for now but the demand on such connections is rising, especially on the West-East direction. The agency in Warsaw opening is a logic step of development in our transport network”

Opening the bureau in Warsaw, Hupac can see other possibilities for further company’s development in the East of Europe. “Together with our partners we are working on new connections. They will fulfill the quickly rising demand of freight transport.”

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Polish drivers get crash course

For the trainee bus drivers of Lublin it is an unusual introduction to their profession - episodes of Only Fools and Horses and copies of the Stoke Sentinel - but it has helped overcome a staff drought at Britain's biggest bus company.

FirstGroup revealed today that it employs 1,000 Polish drivers across its network and has set up a training base in the Lublin, south-east Poland.

Prospective employees take a crash course in regional dialects, with screenings of Only Fools and Horses for anyone taking charge of a London bus and Billy Connolly concerts for Glasgow-bound drivers.
Regional newspapers are also mandatory for getting to grip with UK postings: the Stoke Sentinel was the set text for two Polish drivers posted to the Potteries recently, with a DVD interview of Port Vale fan Robbie Williams thrown in to help master the local accent.

Alongside English lessons, drivers are also trained in the basics of "bus speak" so they are not thrown by typical questions such as "can I bring my dog on board?" or "how much is a return to the shops?"

A red double decker has been sent to Lublin to complete the authentic British driving experience under the supervision of a FirstGroup training team based in the city, although trainees have to drive on the right hand side of the road.

The Polish intake has helped tackle a staffing problem at FirstGroup because very few of the eastern European drivers quit within a year of joining - until recently a common problem across the bus industry.

Since the first Polish employee arrived in May 2004, the churn rate among the company's 20,000 drivers has fallen from 30% to 25%, which has helped inspire a turnaround at FirstGroup's British bus operation.

A recent report by MPs into privatisation of the bus industry warned that deregulation had failed, amid dwindling bus use outside of London.

FirstGroup revealed this morning that revenues at its UK bus operations rose 6% to £522m in the first half of the year thanks to a rise in customer numbers.

FirstGroup chief executive Moir Lockhead said the company would welcome more Polish staff: "I don't see why not. It is filling a gap. "They are good workers, there is no doubt about that. We have also got some good Polish technicians because we were finding it very difficult to recruit and train apprentices, so the top-up from Europe has been really good."

According to official statistics, 228,000 Poles have registered to live and work in Britain since Poland joined the EU two years ago, helping the Polish plumber pass into legend.

Other estimates suggest the real figure is closer 500,000, while Polish news magazine Polityka estimates that 1 million Poles have moved to the UK. Eight out of ten British-based Poles are under 34 years old.

Mr Lockhead said he was open to recruiting drivers from Romania and Bulgaria, which join the EU next year.

However, there is less likelihood of Del Boy appearing on TV screens at bus depots in Bucharest and Sofia after the government revealed plans to restrict Romanian and Bulgarian access to the British labour market.

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Poland pulls drug after potentially deadly mix up

Poland's health ministry ordered the immediate withdrawal of an anti-allergy drug, Corhydron, after a consignment was found to contain a potentially deadly substance.

Prosecutors said that they had begun investigating why thousands of packs of what was purportedly Corhydron in fact contained suxamethonium chloride, which is normally used to cause muscle paralysis during emergency surgery.

The health ministry called on patients to return any Corhydron in their possession.

The problem emerged after two patients at a hospital in Siedlce, in eastern Poland, lost consciousness following routine injections of Corhydron, a hydrocortisone which is used to treat allergies and inflammation.

Laboratory analysis revealed that the packs used had in fact contained suxamethonium chloride.

The health ministry said that the consignment had been produced in 2005 by the Jelfa pharmaceuticals firm, which is based in Jelenia Gora in southwest Poland and belongs to the Lithuanian group AB Sanitas.

Of the 6,609 packs produced, some 5,000 were still in the hands of patients and medical services, the ministry said. AFP

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Poland pulls drug after potentially deadly mix up

Poland's health ministry ordered the immediate withdrawal of an anti-allergy drug, Corhydron, after a consignment was found to contain a potentially deadly substance.

Prosecutors said that they had begun investigating why thousands of packs of what was purportedly Corhydron in fact contained suxamethonium chloride, which is normally used to cause muscle paralysis during emergency surgery.

The health ministry called on patients to return any Corhydron in their possession.

The problem emerged after two patients at a hospital in Siedlce, in eastern Poland, lost consciousness following routine injections of Corhydron, a hydrocortisone which is used to treat allergies and inflammation.

Laboratory analysis revealed that the packs used had in fact contained suxamethonium chloride.

The health ministry said that the consignment had been produced in 2005 by the Jelfa pharmaceuticals firm, which is based in Jelenia Gora in southwest Poland and belongs to the Lithuanian group AB Sanitas.

Of the 6,609 packs produced, some 5,000 were still in the hands of patients and medical services, the ministry said. AFP

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Poland Asks Russia to Be Honest

Russia must be honest in its energy negotiations with European Union nations, Poland's president insisted Tuesday, saying Moscow had worked in the past on the basis of fiction rather than fact.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said energy security was a key focus of their talks at Blair's No. 10 Downing Street office during Kaczynski's first visit to Britain since becoming president in December.

Kaczynski said his country had much experience in dealing with Moscow and accused Russia of not always playing straight. He warned that Russia's talks with Europe over energy could be difficult.

"Finding our common value set will not be simple, but our starting point must be the facts," he said at a news conference with Blair.

"One should talk to Russia [in a way] which is firm, resolved and strong."

Poland is heavily dependent on oil and gas from Russia, and its supplies were hit when Moscow briefly cut gas deliveries to Ukraine in January.

Warsaw is seeking to broaden its energy sources and is a strong advocate of a joint European energy security policy, something Blair agreed was important.

"It is massively to our benefit that Europe takes a common line on energy policy," Blair said.

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Poland's GDP to grow 5.2 pct in 2006: EC

Poland's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 5.2 percent in 2006, the European Commission predicted in its Autumn Economic Forecast for the European Union published on Monday.

It meant that the commission revised upward its September forecast for the country's economic growth by 0.2 percent and the forecast made in last Spring by 0.5 percent, the PAP news agency reported.

The main reason for the optimism is climbing domestic demand, the European Commission said. The upward trend of home demand in Poland is expected to continue in the coming years, the commission forecast.

According to the European Commission, Poland's economy is expected to grow by 4.7 percent in 2007 and by 4.8 percent in 2008.

Source: english.people.com.cn

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EU regulators clear takeover of Lithuania's Mazeikiu refinery by Poland's PKN Orlen

European Union regulators on Tuesday approved the acquisition of the Lithuanian oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta by Polish oil company PKN Orlen, saying the takeover would not hurt competition in European markets.

PKN agreed in May to pay US$2.3 billion (€1.81 billion) for a 83 percent stake in Mazeikiu Nafta, but a fire at the refinery and the rupturing of the main crude oil supply pipeline have fueled speculation that the Polish company may pull out.

On a visit to Lithuania on Monday, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said PKN would not renege on the deal.

In a statement, the European Commission said the companies did overlap in some markets for sales of gasoline and diesel, but judged that these "would not give rise to competition concerns."

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Poland shares close higher, led by financial stocks

Polish shares closed higher led by financial stocks, with shares in PKO BP reaching record highs, the Puls Biznesu news agency reported.

The main WIG20 index rose 1.81 pct to close at 3,251.01 points.

PKO BP rose 5.4 pct to close at its all-time record of 41.95 zloty.

Other financials also finished higher, with BZ WBK adding 3.91 pct to close at 215 zloty and Bank BPH PLN closing 2.7 pct stronger at 950 zloty.

Telcoms stock TP also finished higher, up 3.49 pct at 24.3 zloty, along with Agora media group, up 7.1 pct to 31.6 zloty following its results.

Amongst fallers, PKN Orlen shed 1.1 pct to close at 47.20 zloty, while Lotos fell 1.9 pct to 46.1 zloty.

Oil and gas company PGNiG shed 0.9 pct to 3.19 zloty.

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Poland's unemployment falls to 14.9 percent in October, preliminary figures show

Poland: Poland's unemployment rate fell to 14.9 percent in October from 15.2 percent in September in continued improvement amid strong economic growth, the Labor Ministry said Tuesday.

The jobless rate compares with 17.3 for the same month a year ago and was brought down partially by the economy's approximately 5 percent annual growth.

The Central Statistical Office will issue official October unemployment data in late November. However, those data seldom diverge by more than one-tenth of a percentage point from the preliminary Labor Ministry figures.

Poland's unemployment rate has gradually declined since reaching a post-communist peak of 20.7 percent in February 2003.
Since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, hundreds of thousands of Poles have emigrated to Britain, Ireland and other Western countries to seek higher paying jobs — an exodus also believed to be easing the unemployment crisis at home.

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U.S. spokesman refuses to discuss brouhaha in Poland over U.S. diplomat's comment

The State Department's spokesman refused on Tuesday to discuss whether a U.S. diplomat in Poland overstepped his position by complaining about the deputy Polish prime minister's position on Iraq.

"We don't comment on leaked memos or confidential conversations," spokesman Sean McCormack said.

He said the events in Warsaw became known because of the leak to a newspaper of an account of a conversation between the U.S. Embassy's deputy chief of mission, Kenneth Hillas, and an aide to Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

A statement by Hillas was interpreted to have been a suggestion that Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych should be fired for promoting a parliamentary debate about civilian casualties of the Iraq war. Poland has about 900 troops in Iraq and commands an international contingent, and Giertych, also the education minister, is a longtime critic of the war.
"We were a bit surprised by the minister of education's comments," McCormack said, "but it's not for us to pick and choose or even comment publicly on the composition of the Polish government."

That was as near as the State Department spokesman came to criticizing Hillas' actions in the episode.

The newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza published a partial transcript of the meeting two weeks ago that quoted Hillas as saying about Giertych's position on an inquiry: "If the deputy prime minister of a country like Germany, France or Denmark made such comments, he would be dismissed."

Embassy spokesman Andrew Schilling denied that implied that Giertych should be fired.

Tuesday night in Warsaw, Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga called U.S. Ambassador Victor Ashe to her office to clarify Hillas' comments. Schilling gave no details of their meeting.

"Poland is a good friend and ally; very close friend and ally," the State Department's McCormack said. "As a matter of fact, Iraq was a very small portion of this conversation as I understand it. And we're going to move forward and work together with the Polish government, this Polish government, all members of the Polish government, on issues of mutual concern."

As for the composition of the Polish government, he said, "that's for the Polish political leadership and the Polish people to decide, not for us to decide."

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Members of the European Council human rights watchdog's special committee investigating alleged CIA prisons in Poland were due to arrive in the country on Tuesday for a three-day stay, the Polish Press Agency reported. The delegation had hoped to interview Polish citizens, however prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has said the committee had no right to summon Polish citizens.

The Polish authorities deny that such such secret CIA jails where terrorist suspects have allegedly been interrogated. Poland is one of several east European countries fingered by reports earlier this year from European Council and from the European Parliament for allegedly hosting such facilities.

Swiss lawyer Dick Marty, a member of the European Council's parliamentary assembly, said in his July report in July that 14 European nations including Italy and Poland had agreed that CIA could transfer terrorist suspects or operate secret jails within their territories. All the countries named have denied wrongdoing.

Marty's report incriminated Germany, Turkey, Spain and Cyprus for being "staging points" for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees; and Ireland, Britain, Portugal, Greece, as well as Italy, for being "stopovers" for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees.

The report levels the most serious charges at Poland and Romania, where Marty says there is enough evidence to support suspicions that CIA secret prisons were established. Britain, Bosnia, Sweden, Macedonia, Germany and Turkey, besides Italy, were cited in relation to cases involving specific individuals.

A parallel report by a committee of MEPs is due in January to submit its final report on the alleged extra-judical abductions by CIA agents of terror suspects on European soil and their detention in secret prisons in European and other countries including Afghanistan and Thailand.

An interim report released in late April by MEP Claudio Fava who has been heading the European Parliament probe claimed the CIA has operated more than a thousand secret flights in and out of European airports since 2001, about which the local authorities did not request information. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's legal advisor, John Bellinger brushed off Fava's claim as "simply absurd".

Presenting his report, Fava suggested that flight plans and airport logs made it hard to believe that many of the stopovers were simple refuelling missions. He also said it was improbable that several European governments, including Italy's, were "unaware" of the extraordinary renditions occurring "on their territory, in their airspace and in their airports."

IInvestigators have used data from Eurocontrol, the EU's air safety agency to examine thousands of flight records, and have interviewed top EU officials, magistrates, human rights activists and people who said they were abducted by the CIA.

Media allegations on CIA jails broke in November 2005, when the Washington Post newspaper said the intelligence agency had flown more than 100 people to facilities known as "black sites" that were allegedly set up around the word - in Asia as well as Europe - following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. Islamist terror suspects are alleged to have been mistreated and tortured at such prisons.

Commenting on the reports last November, Rice said only that while rendition is a useful tool, the US does not practice or condone torture.

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Political crisis in Poland: the twists and turns of the Kaczynski government

All across Europe, the bourgeoisie is brutally intensifying its exploitation of the working class and attacking longstanding democratic rights. In Poland, a country of 40 million people that joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, this process and the resulting social crisis have assumed explosive proportions.

Ever since the parliamentary elections of September 2005, in which the right-wing, nationalistic Law and Justice party (PiS) won just over a third of the vote, in an election in which only 40 percent of Poles participated, Polish politics have been characterised by a previously unseen scale of degeneracy and corruption.

The PiS won a plurality largely on the basis of populist promises that it has failed to fulfil. Having fallen far short of a majority in the Polish Parliament (Sejm), the PiS led a minority government for eight months. During this period, it attempted to form something of a grand coalition with the second-largest political grouping in the Sejm, the adamantly pro-European Union Citizens’ Platform (PO), led by Donald Tusk.

The PiS failed at this endeavour, largely due to the PO’s insistence on radical social welfare cuts in line with the EU requirements for economic “competitiveness.” The PiS was apprehensive of the popular backlash that would result in its so quickly repudiating its demagogic election promises. Accordingly, it turned to a strategy of holding onto power by outmanoeuvring its parliamentary opposition.

The populist and chauvinist Farmers’ Self-Defence Party, led by Andrzej Lepper, which obtained 12 percent of the vote in the September 2005 Sejm elections, and the rabidly nationalistic and hyper-religious League of Polish Families (LPR), led by Roman Giertych, which won 7 percent of the vote, soon emerged as the sole backers of the PiS minority government. After a few months of support for the PiS, the LPR and Farmers’ Self-Defence grew dissatisfied with their role in providing parliamentary votes for the PiS, and began to demand a higher price for their continued backing.

Both parties had previously been largely disregarded by the official parties. There was widespread apprehension within ruling circles that the LPR and Self-Defence, with their nationalist-populist rhetoric, would scare off international capital and threaten Poland’s entry into the EU.

Self-Defence up until then was known for staging spectacular protest actions against privatisations and austerity measures. The major parties considered it an unreliable partner in carrying through further pro-business attacks on the social conditions of the working class. The party’s penchant for protest actions, capitalising on the anger of workers and sections of the middle class and peasantry, were considered to carry the danger of sparking social conflagrations that would prove difficult to control.

The PiS, seeking to avoid a new election, signed a coalition deal with the two political organisations in early May of 2006. This in the face of opinion polls showing that approximately 64 percent of the Polish public opposed a government that included the LPR and Self-Defence.

PiS European parliamentarian Konrad Szymanski tried to assuage the fears of international capital, writing in Gazeta Wyborcza, “I can understand that a lot of people are distrustful of politicians like Lepper and Giertych. We in the PiS weren’t so trustful of them either, but I’m sure that they will do their best to prove that they are responsible pro-European politicians, who will cooperate with other governments in the EU.”

The two parties tried their best to do precisely that. Radio Polonia reported immediately after the formation of the coalition that Lepper and Giertych had already “toned down their opposition” and “EU scepticism.” Such a turn was, for all intents and purposes, an economic necessity. Poland depends heavily on the EU, and especially its largest economy, Germany. Some 75 percent of Poland’s exports go to EU countries, while 60 percent of imported goods come from Germany.

Lepper, the new deputy prime minister for agriculture and labour, assured Brussels that he would not fight for a renegotiation of Poland’s Accession Treaty to the EU, despite his election campaign promises to the contrary. “It is crucial to fight for the best possible terms for Polish farmers,” Radio Polonia quoted Lepper as saying after a meeting with the EU parliamentary farm commission in May. “But the interest of the EU 25 must also be taken into consideration.”

The PiS, led by identical twins Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski (who are, respectively, the president and prime minister of Poland), is a nationalist bourgeois party that sees it as its most important duty the implementation of the austerity measures dictated by the EU’s economic and financial elite in Brussels. For 2007 to 2013, the EU is dangling the carrot of approximately €60 billion in return for an improvement in Poland’s investment climate.

This was underlined by Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s prime ministerial inauguration speech in July, in which he declared a reduction in the 30 billion zloty (US$10 billion) budget deficit to be one of the central tasks of his government. (See: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/aug2006/pola-a09.shtml.) This is one of the conditions that must be met if Poland is to join the euro currency union sometime in the future, though Poland is the only 2004 EU entry country that has yet to set an official date.

President Lech Kaczynski revealed the role of the Polish state in the era of capitalist globalisation quite clearly in a letter to the jubilee edition of Polish Market, a prominent Polish business journal. He wrote, “Poland is a nation with a large economic potential. Numerous entrepreneurs from the EU and other countries have noted the opportunities to be realised by investing in Poland. An economic policy friendly to domestic and foreign investors is a priority of the present authorities. Building a favourable international image for Poland and encouraging investment is the state’s obligation.”

Poland has topped the short list of new EU member states in foreign direct investment (FDI), and, according to the international consulting company A.T. Kearney, is the fifth nation state in the world in terms of “investor-friendliness.” Poland has been achieving an increase in FDI of 9.8 percent per year, with €9 billion already recorded for 2006 as compared to €6 billion in 2005.

Under these circumstances, it is all but impossible to keep the demagogic election campaign promises made by the PiS last year. As a sop to the electorate, the PiS introduced a single payment of 1,000 zloty (US$330) for new parents in late 2005.

Since then, however, every proposal to ease the social misery that has gripped the majority of the Polish population has been brushed off, on the grounds that the budget deficit must be slashed in order to attract ever more private capital to the EU’s new star economy—something that would be impeded by investor concerns about taxes to support what is left of Poland’s social programmes. The Polish state is retreating daily from its prior social balancing act between the rich and the poor segments of the population, in order to ensure greater profits for the capitalist elite.

A troubled coalition

The coalition, however, was never stable, and its problems began to mount on September 2.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski on that day stated to the press that he would not give in to pressure from Deputy Prime Minister Lepper, who was reportedly asking for increased social spending in the budget for 2007, namely for higher pay for employees in the health and education sectors, indexation of old-age and disability pensions, compulsory insurance for Poland’s farmers, and subsidies for agricultural fuel.

Lepper also argued that his party had not received the strategic government posts it had been promised upon entering the PiS-led coalition. The deputy prime minister warned that if the demands put forward by Self-Defence were not met, his party would not support the draft budget for 2007. Without the support of its largest coalition partner, the PiS would find itself in a political dead end.

The situation intensified when Second Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych of the LPR demanded a 7 percent pay raise in teachers’ salaries for 2007, warning that if the raise (the cost of which is estimated at more than US$500 million) was not provided, his LPR would leave the government coalition and Giertych would step down.

The PiS responded on September 12 that if the budget were not passed by the end of the month, the coalition would simply cease to exist. For the benefit of the EU’s financial watchdog, the European Commission, government leaders declared that there could be no widening of the projected 2007 deficit of 30 billion zloty (US$10 billion), and that the government could envisage only 240 billion zloty (US$78 billion) in expenditures for the next year.

Lepper also disapproved of the PiS’s decision on September 15 to send a further 1,000 Polish soldiers to participate in the NATO intervention in Afghanistan. These new troops are slated to come to the assistance of the American, British and Canadian forces in February 2007. In a radio interview, Lepper said: “[This deployment] will cost us 340 million zloty (US$110 million), money which we today lack for pensioners, unemployed, health care.”

The minister of defence, Radoslaw Sikorski, ordered the deployment without even consulting his coalition partners in order to forestall any public discussion of the move. “We have been among the decision-makers to send NATO forces to Afghanistan,” he told Radio Polonia, “so we feel responsible for the success of this operation. It is in Poland’s interest to make all potential enemies of the Alliance aware that when NATO goes to war, it goes through with it to a successful conclusion.”

Lech Kaczynski boasted of Poland’s growing imperialist credentials, saying, “We’ve been in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are and will be present in even greater numbers in Lebanon. Polish soldiers are in Congo, the Golan Heights, and the Balkans. Such is Poland’s policy. It did not start with my term in office. This is a continuation of earlier policies.”

Nevertheless, the Polish role in Afghanistan marks the first time Polish troops will be engaged in direct combat since the Second World War, and opinion polls show broad opposition within the Polish public.

Lepper’s stance is not a genuine expression of the opposition amongst working people to the Polish government’s anti-democratic policies. Rather, he fears he would lose credibility among his voters if he supported the anti-social government course without any resistance. His party could rapidly decline into insignificance.

A brief meeting of government coalition leaders held September 19 did nothing to resolve the internal conflicts. The meeting was organised after a number of press revelations concerning Lepper, which culminated in his official statement on September 18 that an early election should be held November 26.

The crisis within the government coalition reached a new stage the next day when Lepper accused the PiS of attempting to convince Self-Defence members of parliament (MPs) to switch their allegiance. Marek Kuchinski, the head of the PiS parliamentary faction, provocatively responded with an appeal to Self-Defence MPs to join the PiS majority, or else face new elections in the near future.

On September 22, Lepper was finally dismissed from his agriculture and labour cabinet post and from his position as deputy prime minister. Ending the coalition formed in May between the PiS and Self-Defence, Prime Minister Kaczynski told Rzeczpospolita that having received a chance to “participate in a good government, Mr. Lepper failed to use this chance and returned [instead] to trouble-making.” The LPR remained in the coalition.

The following day saw the prime minister declare that his PiS government had taken steps to secure a parliamentary majority after the ditching of Self-Defence. He stressed that he would not retreat from pledges to “reform state structures” while forming a government alliance with any other political party. “Retaining power is not a goal in itself for the PiS,” he said. “We want to govern in order to change Polish reality.” He further declared that should majority backing in the Sejm prove impossible to attain, early elections would be announced.

But on September 25, Radio Polonia reported that “following the sacking of Deputy Prime Minister Lepper of Self-Defence, the PiS-led government is pulling out all the stops to ward off early elections.” It was revealed that the right-wing Polish Peasant Party (PSL), with only 25 seats, was likely to join the coalition, once again giving the PiS majority support in the Sejm.

It was further disclosed that the PiS was considering introducing a new electoral law which would award an automatic majority to the party that wins the most seats, “counteracting the tendency towards unstable coalition governments arising from Poland’s multi-party system,” according to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

“It’s a total mess,” said political analyst Bartosz Weglarczyk of Gazeta Wyborcza. “Poles are totally fed up with the [political] process. If we have new elections in November or December, I would expect no more than 20 percent of the voters to actually go vote.”

The PiS’s prospects for enticing the PSL to join its coalition were jeopardised when startling revelations of PiS corruption surfaced in the media on September 27. Poland’s TVN channel aired secret tapes showing leading PiS politician Adam Lipinski asking Self-Defence MP Renata Beger her price for jumping to the PiS. No apologies were forthcoming from the highest ranks of the PiS, which indignantly brushed the incident aside, declaring it merely a case of politics as usual.

As a result, leading PSL figure Jaroslaw Kalinowski said that negotiations with the PiS on a coalition agreement had been suspended. In his opinion, the “Beger Tapes” were a provocative action that showed Polish politics in a very bad light. This did not prevent him, however, from raising the prospect of further negotiations in the future.

On October 3, Prime Minister Kaczynski further jeopardised his government’s chances for a coalition. Speaking at the Gdansk Stocznia shipyard, he declared, “You are either with us or you are in the ZOMO.” The ZOMO was the notorious Stalinist-era paramilitary riot police.

The prime minister then stressed in several interviews on October 11 that early elections “would not be a good solution at the moment,” saying they would “derail the government’s efforts to clean up public life.” This statement was made in the face of opinion polls across the board showing that the vast majority of Poles supported early elections.

Two days later, the Sejm voted to suspend debate on a motion to shorten its term. It was announced that the PiS was seeking to rebuild the coalition with Self-Defence in order to avoid new elections.

On October 17, the Sejm rejected a motion to dissolve itself by 242 votes to 180. This time, however, the ruling PiS reached a deal with Self-Defence, reappointing Lepper to the post of deputy prime minister and agriculture minister three weeks after he had been unceremoniously removed.

The move re-launched the three-party coalition, accounting for 230 seats, just one seat shy of a parliamentary majority. If Lepper hadn’t been brought back, polls widely showed that the PiS would have stumbled to a distant second place behind the PO in new elections. Thus, while the possibility of a snap general election in late November has been averted, the coalition is more unstable than ever.

Prime Minister Kaczynski declared on Radio Polonia that the return of Self-Defence to the coalition was the best solution for Poland. He said that he had analyzed all possible alternatives, and, in quasi-Orwellian fashion, concluded that this was the best means of ensuring the stability of the Polish government. Otherwise, he said, the only way out of the crisis would have been a coalition of the PO and the post-Stalinist Alliance of the Democratic Left (SLD). That, he declared, would mean a return to the unwanted past.

The coalition does not have even a semblance of broad popular support. The ruling PiS has less than 30 percent support, and Self-Defence less than 10 percent. The LPR, meanwhile, wouldn’t even achieve the 5 percent threshold required for representation in the Sejm if elections were held this month, underscoring the fact that its primary social base consists of little more than fascists and the most backward workers. The PO, on the other hand, represents the most concentrated sections of capital, and was largely behind the initiative for early elections.

Creeping authoritarianism of the Polish state

The social and political crisis in Poland is bound up with the economic crisis of European and world capitalism. It should come as no surprise that most of the criticism of Poland by the European Union is directed not against the Polish state’s creeping authoritarianism, but rather against the “sluggish” pace of economic “reform.”

The underlying contradiction between a globalised economy and the nation-state finds a stark expression in the case of Poland. In the name of competition for international capital, the European Union is grooming its new member states in the art of imperialist-style Realpolitik.

There were no significant protests from Brussels when Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro created the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA). It was said that the new institution would “enjoy a wide range of powers to fight corruption” and “crimes against Poland’s economic interests.” According to Radio Polonia, “Its officers will have the powers of secret services,” including a mandate to monitor bank accounts and transactions as well as telephone conversations. They will also be allowed to spy on corporate and private premises and vehicles. All that is required is suspicion of a crime of “corruption.”

PO leader Jan Rokita made a mild criticism of the programme, even though his party voted for its creation in the Sejm. “They are above the prosecutors, the police, and the state financial inspectorate,” he told Radio Polonia. He continued: “I had been a proponent of establishing a Central Anti-Corruption Bureau in the past, but in a form that limited operations to a legal framework guaranteeing the rights of individual citizens. Extra care should have been given to this.”

The EU chooses to criticise and pressure Warsaw to intensify its “reform” programme in the interest of international capital. From the anti-terrorism laws passed in Britain to the ruthless actions of the French police, the European bourgeoisie has demonstrated its own turn towards authoritarian methods of rule.

According to the European Commission, Poland is “lagging behind” all other member states because of long-term unemployment, which is still at 16 percent (approximately 2.5 million people), as well as protectionism, an aversion to foreign investment, and “complicated” business regulations. Brussels asserts that the overcoming of these hurdles will decrease the 18.4 percent poverty rate in Poland.

The EU on October 2 criticised Poland’s slow rate of privatisation, after the Polish Treasury announced that revenue from privatisation in the first three quarters of the year had reached only €128 million (US$162 million). The targeted figure had been €1.42 billion (US$1.79 billion).

For the past 17 years, the members of the new ruling elite that emerged from the collapse of the Stalinist regime, including significant sections of the old state and party bureaucracy, have amassed their personal fortunes from the plunder of denationalised enterprises and the country’s resources as a whole. They have transformed Poland into a paradise for capitalists.

The richest Pole, the owner of the Polsat television network, Zygmunt Solorz, has a personal fortune of US$2 billion, which places him at 282 on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the wealthiest individuals in the world. Other social parasites such as Leszek Czarnecki, president of Gettin Holding, and Jan Kulczyk, head of Kulczyk Holding, also personify this elite.

Meanwhile, large parts of the population lack even the most elementary requirements of civilised life.

This elite is facing a new period of social and political instability. Not one Polish government has survived an entire legislative term. Right-wing and “left-wing” governments have alternately held majorities in the Sejm, but without any significant change in the general political course. Only one constant has remained over the years—the fleecing of Poland’s workers and farmers.
Source:By By Tadeusz Sikorski and Cezar Komorovsky, freemarketnews.com

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HCL BPO likely to open next centre in Poland

HCL Technologies BPO Services, a subsidiary of HCL Technologies, is planning the next delivery centre in 2007 in eastern Europe and Poland seems to be the most probable choice because of the high availability of resources and support from the local government, according to its CEO Ranjit Narasimhan.

Representatives from HCL’s BPO, software services and infrastructure division were back last month after exploring three countries, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, to identify a location.

“Primarily, Poland seems to be most suitable choice because of considerations of low-cost of operations, availability of manpower, technological support, low cost of transport and last but not the least, government support, which includes fiscal incentives,” said Narasimhan.

He declined to give out details of investment or the number of people to be hired in the new location.

Narasimhan said that encouraged by its Ireland experience, where it is the largest BPO in the entire island of Ireland with a workforce consisting of more than 1,640 employees, most of whom are British, the eastern Europe centre is aimed to serve clients looking for multi-lingual, nearshore BPO services.

Near-shoring has become a viable solution for many companies because near-shore locations offer several advantages like similar time zones, ease of travel and potentially greater control due to familiar, physical and cultural proximity to the customer.

Organisations that want to hedge their bets and curb the inherent risks of off-shoring have an option closer to home.

Going forward, in the next two years, HCL BPO aims to move up the value chain and get 50% revenues from non-voice services.

Currently, it gets only 30% revenue from non-voice services.

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FFW moves into Poland with Laszczuk & Wspólnicy tie-up

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has boosted its presence in Eastern Europe, signing up five-partner Polish firm Laszczuk & Wspólnicy to its European Legal Alliance (ELA).

Laszczuk specialises in corporate, IP/IT, real estate and finance, fitting in with FFW's practice focus.
Mark Abell, FFW head of IP/IT and chairman of the ELA, said: "They're very international, all polyglots and sophisticated people. They have exactly the capabilities in terms of practice areas that we require."

Abell said client demand had led the charge into Poland. "Poland's a key market for investment for our client base. It has a strong economy with a lot of potential growth," he said.

Laszczuk joins as an associate member, meaning it does not have a place on the ELA board. The firm could become a full member if it proves to be a successful addition to the alliance.

Laszczuk becomes the eighth member of FFW's alliance. Abell said he had no plans to expand further and will concentrate now on consolidating existing ELA relationships.

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Poland Can Mediate between Armenia and Turkey

Today Armenian National Assembly Speaker Tigran Torosian met with Polish Senate Marshal Bogdan Borusewicz, members of the Seym, Senate committees, political factions and deputy groups reported the RA NA press office. Tigran Torosian thanked Bogdan Borusewicz for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Polish Seym and stressed the importance of this step for prevention of similar tragedies in future. Confirming Poland’s interest in the development of Armenia and the whole region Bogdan Borusewicz pointed out to centuries-old Armenian-Polish cooperation. He informed that the Polish Foreign Ministry offered the RA MFA to mediate between Armenia and Turkey for establishment of relations between the two states. In this view Tigran Torosian reiterated that Armenia is ready to hold a dialogue without pre-conditions. The RA NA Speaker also reminded that Turkey still keeps on imposing a blockade on Armenia and assessed Turkey’s aspirations for the EU as inadmissible under the circumstances.

Bogdan Borusewicz offered the RA NA chairman to pay a formal visit to Poland describing mutual visits as a serious stimulus for strengthening relations.

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Poland pushes for EU-NATO army

Polish President Lech Kaczynski is trying to drum up support for a multinational EU army of 100,000 troops to support NATO missions.

In an interview, Kaczynski told the Financial Times he would take the matter to London Monday for a 2-day meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He said he had floated the idea to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and Kaczynski's twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, had made the suggestion to German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week.

"At the moment we have the situation where the EU needs about 8,000 troops in Lebanon and there is a problem where to find them," Kaczynski told the newspaper.

The proposal would build on the existing European Rapid Reaction Force, which was created in 2004 and deployed in the former Yugoslavia, but not outside Europe, the report said.

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Baltic states, Poland discuss energy cooperation, NATO

The presidents of the Baltic countries and Poland discussed energy cooperation and the upcoming NATO summit in Riga.

The energy sector is “an important area” of regional cooperation for the Baltic countries and Poland,” a joint statement said.

The leaders called for “a concerted position” on the implementation of joint energy projects in order to accelerate the integration of the Baltic countries’ energy markets into the EU energy market, the document said.

The presidents also noted the importance of the project to build a high-speed railway line between Warsaw and Tallinn and supported the idea of building a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania.

The presidents also believe that NATO should continue “the open door policy” with regard to countries that want to join the Alliance and are ready to assume relevant obligations.

They noted the commitment of Ukraine and Georgia to joining NATO.

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EU lawmakers set to go to Poland for investigating CIA charges

European lawmakers probing alleged US secret service activities in Europe are about to leave for Poland to find out whether the country has hosted clandestine US-run detention centres, the European Parliament said Monday. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are currently scrutinizing charges that the CIA ran secret camps on European soil to question terror suspects abetted by national governments.

The EU delegation is scheduled to meet with government officials, journalists and representatives of non-governmental organizations on November 8-10.

Talks would be held with Undersecretary of State in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister Marek Pasionek and with Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, head of Poland's Foreign Intelligence Agency (AW) between 2002 and 2004.

US President George W Bush in September for the first time acknowledged that the CIA was running secret prisons for holding and interrogating high-level al-Qaeda figures that have been captured since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US.

But he did not give in to European calls to make the location of the camps public. EU lawmakers also pressed national governments to come clean about the extent of their involvement in the issue.

Clandestine detention centres, secret flights via or from Europe to countries where suspects could face torture, or extraordinary renditions would all breach the continent's human-rights conventions.

Following a fact-finding mission to Romania last month, MEPs said the country continued to be suspected of having hosted clandestine CIA camps.

Europe's top human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, earlier this year charged that Romania and Poland had hosted clandestine CIA camps. Bucharest and Warsaw, however, deny the allegation.

The 46-member council, which is independent from the EU, is conducting a separate inquiry into the CIA charges.

Its final report on a six-month-long inquiry into the allegations against the CIA said that several European states had helped the US carrying out "extraordinary rendition" flights, the US practice of transporting detainees to other states for interrogation.

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Poland proposes an EU army tied to Nato

Poland has proposed the creation of 100,000-strong European Union army tied to Nato for use in global trouble spots or for European defence, according to Lech Kaczynski, the country's president.

"At the moment we have the situation where the EU needs about 8,000 troops in Lebanon and there is a problem where to find them," Mr Kaczynski told the Financial Times in a rare foreign media interview.
"Forces are needed which would not replace the armies of individual states, but which could be gathered without a problem when not just 8,000 but as many as 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers are needed."

Mr Kaczynski said that he hoped to raise the issue with Tony Blair, the British prime minister, in the course of a two-day visit to the UK which begins on Monday.

The Polish president said he had discussed the idea twice with José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, and that his twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland's prime minister, had raised the matter with the German chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to Berlin last week.

Poland's proposals could build upon the existing European Rapid Reaction Force, created in 2004, which has been deployed in the former Yugoslavia but not outside Europe.

However, Warsaw does not seem to have prepared the ground well for its initiative, because German officials said they were surprised by the Polish prime minister's proposal the last week.

They were particularly concerned about suggestions that an EU force could operate within Nato, which raised issues over whether it would be under European or US control.

The concept has also sparked off confusion within Poland. On Friday, Jaroslaw Kaczynski denied ever having mentioned the idea to Ms Merkel, calling it "strange information".

In his FT interview, President Kaczynski sought to clarify Poland's EU policies, which have developed a eurosceptic tone since he won office last year and his Law and Justice party triumphed in parliamentary elections. The president said the EU should remain a union of states, not a federation. "I think the nation state has still not ended its mission," he said. He was robust in defending Warsaw's new-found assertiveness with EU partners, arguing that, if pushed, Poland would not hesitate to stand alone against other EU members to defend its interests. "I know that it is very uncomfortable in the Union to be alone but that does not mean we are afraid of that."

Mr Kaczynski said that, even though Warsaw was a net financial beneficiary of the EU, Poland did not need to feel grateful about its membership.

It had earned its place by participating in the victorious coalition in the second world war. It was later left under communist rule "thanks to decisions over which we had no influence".

Speaking about plans for a new constitutional treaty, now under debate in the EU, Mr Kaczynski said some sort of new fundamental pact was required to steer a union of 27 states.

Polish proposals were likely to be ready in the first quarter of next year and "would be much more compact than the current constitutional treaty". Mr Kaczynski said Warsaw hoped for more "European solidarity" in dealing with Russia.

While acknowledging that Russia did not pose an immediate military threat, Mr Kaczynski was worried about the dependence on Russian energy and foreign investments by state-owned Russian companies, as well as Moscow's "continuing powerful military".

He criticised Germany over the planned German-Russian natural gas pipeline under the Baltic, which would skirt Poland and potentially give Moscow more leverage over Warsaw in future energy disputes.

"We understand the need for compromise but in this area it cannot be that a single European country, even a very powerful one, decides on a particular solution, almost as if it had stepped momentarily outside of the Union, and then says it will not change even if that solution contradicts the interests of other EU countries."

The president said that Poland would never agree to simply following along with the priorities of larger EU countries.
Source:By Jan Cienski and Stefan Wagstyl,msnbc.msn.com

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French lifestyles at 4th Poland-France Fair

French lifestyles will be in the centre of this year’s Poland-France Fair organized by the French Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Poland (CCIFP). On display will be interior decoration, furniture and housing construction technology as well as related consulting, financial, insurance, transport and logistic services. The fair, to open on November 17 in the Murator Expo Centre in Warsaw’s Blue City shopping complex, will also be an excellent occasion for striking up business contacts and will offer an overview of latest living trends in France and Poland.

The modern, one-day fair will be divided into two parts. The morning part consisting of conferences and presentations will be mainly addressed to enterprisers seeking details about the French market and European consumer trends. In the afternoon the fair will be open to the public, offering the latest in French and Polish interior decoration.

Accompanying the fair will be a series of CCIFP-hosted meetings of enterprisers, distributors, producers, interior decorators, media and potential buyers and clients. These session will give Polish operators a chance to seek partnerships in France, the biggest investor on the Polish market and third-largest buyer of Polish goods. Also planned are animations and other events showing French lifestyles.

The French Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Poland (CCIFP) is an employer association currently grouping more than 300 French and Polish firms. For the past 12 years CCIFP has striven to expand French-Polish commercial partnership. The CCIFP companies are not only valuable investors but also offer enormous reserves on knowledge and experience regarding commercial realities in Europe and Poland. Every year 150 French firms turn to CCIFP for help in seeking Polish business partners. CCIFP is a member of the Assembly of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACFCI) and the Union of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry Overseas (UCCIFE), through which it maintains contacts with close to 2 million companies in 80 countries.

Fair date: Friday, November 17, 2006
Site: Murator Expo Centre, Blue City Trade Centre, Warsaw, 179 Jerozolimskie Ave.
Host: French Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Poland
Marta Oświecińska
phone (+48 22) 696 75 99
More information: www.ccifp.pl
Communication, PR:
Aneta Bassa, CCIFP
phone (+48 22) 696 75 91
0 507 121 269
e-mail: aneta.bassa@ccifp.pl
Małgorzata Zys, CCIFP
phone (+48 22) 696 75 80
email: malgorzata.zys@ccifp.pl


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Ranking of Polish private hospitals

Increasingly long waiting times for appointments with specialists, irregularities in the distribution of medicines, the chronic financial inefficiency of a major part of public health care establishments, the shockingly low wages of the medical and auxiliary personnel, and increasingly frequent instances of well-qualified medical staff taking up jobs abroad – these are only some of the items on the long list of problems faced by the Polish health service. Problems of this kind are shared by other countries as well. However, the situation in Poland is particularly difficult because Poland is one of the poorest European countries. One cannot expect any major injection of finance. As a result reform attempts are limited to the transfer of money from one pocket to another.

In this situation, the proposal to liberalise the market for medical services is raised increasingly often. At present only 500,000 of the 38 million Polish people use private medical services on a regular basis, although around 70 per cent of Poles have used such services on some occasion. Most of the non-public medical centres derive a major part of their income by selling services to the public National Health Fund (NFZ). Another important item in their revenues are receipts from monthly subscription cards purchased by companies for their employees.

On commission from the popular “Wprost” weekly, Termedia Agency prepared a ranking of private hospitals in Poland. This is a very useful source of information for prospective patients. But looking at the tables presented below, one can see that private medical centres – which offer a hope for saving the Polish health care system - provide services of very varied standards and are distributed quite randomly on the map of the country. Two conclusions can be drawn from this. Firstly, that the road to a privatised market for medical services in Poland will be long and difficult. Secondly, that another sphere of opportunities is opening up for business.

Source:By Andrzej Jodłowski, polishmarket.com.p

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Kubica the Pride of Poland

Since making his debut in Formula One at the Hungaroring earlier this year Robert Kubica's has become one of Poland's favourite sons and his popularity shows no signs of waning any time soon.

The 21-year-old became the first Polish driver in F1 in Hungary and a couple of good performances saw the test driver confirmed as a permanent race driver for the 2007 season.

According to BMW team boss Mario Theissen, Kubica's success has had a remarkable affect in his home country and motorsport as a whole is benefiting.

"Currently the Polish scene is exploding," said Theissen.

"Motorsport pratically didn't exist there before and had very little public attention. Now everything has changed. Robert has become a national hero overnight."

Naturally the young man Krakow is not taking it too seriously at the moment and is looking to simply concentrating on performing for BMW and is not concerned with anything going on off the track.

"I don't want to be popular - I don't like that at all," he said.

"Of course I'm happy, but I prefer to keep both my feet firmly on the ground."

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Azerbaijan and Poland to sign documents at Polish National Economic Exhibition

Polish National Economic Exhibition will be organized in ABU ARENA salon in Baku between November 8 and 10.

Over 40 Polish building, furniture and food companies will attend the show, Polish Assistance Center Bojena Vrublevska stated at press conference, APA reports.

He said the exhibition will be supported by Polish Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz and Milli Majlis Speaker Ogtay Asadov, Polish Economics Minister Peter Voznyak and Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Heydar Babayev.

Bogdan Borusewicz will also attend the show during his visit. Polish companies intending to cooperate with Azerbaijan plan to sign documents during the exhibition.

Bojena Vrublevska said Polish businessmen want not only to export goods from Azerbaijan but also to make investment and produce goods under Polish technologies in Azerbaijan. Two building companies are expected to be presented in the show.


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Finnair to Launch Flights to Gdansk

Gdansk is to become Finnair’s third destination in Poland, adding to services to Warsaw and Krakow. As of April 2007, Finnair will start flights four times a week to the Baltic port city, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, using new Embraer 170 jet aircraft.

- The new route serves both Finnish and Polish business and leisure travelers,” says Finnair’s country sales director Juhani Nuoramo.

- The flights also offer good connections with Finnair’s Asian and New York arrivals and departures. Economic growth in the Gdansk region is among the fastest in Poland, as is reflected in the number of Polish and foreign companies in the area as well as the income level of inhabitants, which is among the highest in the country.”

Gdansk, situated at the mouth of the River Vistula on the southern coast of the Baltic, is the timeless treasure of the historical Pomerania region, with over a millennium of history behind it.

This vibrant city, also known during the days of the Prussian era as Danzig, has a reputation for its status as a Hanseatic League centre with brilliant period architecture.

These days, along with its neighbouring towns of Gdynia and Sopot, it forms part of a conurbation populated by more than a million residents. Sopot is known to Finns, for example, as the venue for a hit music competition, as well as an affordable spa and beach resort.

Flights to Gdansk get under way on 11 April 2007. Departures on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are at 9.30 from Helsinki, arriving at Gdansk at 10.00. Return flights on those days are at 10.45, for a 13.15 Helsinki arrival. Saturday flights depart from Helsinki at 15.55, arriving at Gdansk at 16.20. Returns depart at 17.00, landing at Helsinki at 19.25.

Finnair doubled its flights to Poland last summer with the launch of the Krakow service and added frequencies to Warsaw, and is now only the third foreign airline serving three destinations in the country.

The popular Krakow flights continue next summer, and business class was reintroduced on Warsaw flights at the beginning of November in response to customer demand.

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New flights link Poland with Cork and Shannon

POLISH low-cost airline Centralwings will be welcoming Kerry commuters to its inaugural flights on new routes between Cork, Shannon and Poland later this month.

As part of the winter expansion of its network, the airline is offering twice weekly flights from Shannon to Gdansk, and two twice weekly flights from its new base in Cork to Krakow and Wroclaw starting this weekend.

The airline is also launching its first scheduled flights between London Gatwick and Wroclaw and will commence flights from a new base at London Stansted to Warsaw on December 15.

Centralwings has been operating flights into Ireland since October 2005. The airline also already operates routes into London Gatwick from Warsaw and Krakow; Edinburgh from Warsaw, Gdansk and Katowice; Shannon from Warsaw; and Dublin from Wroclaw, Gdansk and Katowice.

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Poland’s Casey Jones

Howard Jones is to be awarded an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen for services to British – Polish cultural exchange and for the preservation of Poland’s industrial heritage. Jones runs a steam train drivers’ center in western Poland which has become major tourist attraction.

If you are an enthusiast of steam-hauled trains, a place to come is the small town of Wolsztyn in western Poland. It is the centre of steam rail operations conducted by the PKP, the national railway company of Poland. One of those who turned Wolsztyn into a major tourist attraction is Howard Jones. Later this month he will travel to London to be decorated with the Order of the Member of the British Empire.

It was about ten years ago that Howard Jones decided to escape the stresses of running his own tour business in the UK. With financial support from a group of fellow steam locomotive enthusiasts, he signed an agreement with the Polish state railway company, bought a house in Wolsztyn and set up a company which offers driver training for visitors from around the world.

‘At first it was difficult because I don’t think Poland quite recognized what it had in industrial heritage. Wolsztyn, to me, is the equivalent to the Acropolis in Athens or the Coloseum in Rome. It’s something very special. I have to say that now, since the split of PKP (Polish Railways), the approach is totally different. PKP Cargo fully understands what they have but 8 or 9 years ago no one knew what it was all about. Even so, sadly, there’s a degree of ignorance in Poland that they have a treasure because far more people could come here’.

What is important, Wolsztyn is not a preserved railway but a scheduled mainline service. Those who’ve been there say this is a unique experience - undergoing on-the-job training sitting in the engine’s right-hand seat under the careful guidance of the engineer. Thanks to Howard Jones, Wolsztyn has attracted thousands of enthusiasts from places as far away as Japan, including those who’ve made fifty visits in several years. The Member of the British Empire is in recognition of his work in Wolsztyn and efforts to promote Polish-British contacts. Howard Jones describes his time in Poland as the happiest period in his life.

‘In England we are a charitable trust which means we’re non-profit making, and all the money goes into sponsoring things in conjuction with PKP Cargo and helping to maintain the scheduled services. I’ve done this more for love than money, but it’s been the happiest period in my life. I’ve had many years in the travel industry, many stresses and strains, although now there are also stresses and strains I’m much happier, much more relaxed than I’ve ever been. Life here is very good to me.’

The ceremony of presenting the medals is scheduled for November 17. Howard Jones is looking forward to it, though he’s not particularly delighted with the prospect of flying to London. After all, he’s a steam-hauled trains enthusiast.
Source:ByMichal Kubicki, polskieradio.pl

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No verdict in Poland-Eureko dispute

Contrary to expectations, a Belgian court has not announced its verdict concerning a dispute between Poland and the Eureko cosortium today. It was expected to declare whether a judge of an international tribunal of arbitration was partial, as Poland had claimed.
Both sides hope that the verdict will be announced before the end of the year.
Last year the international tribunal ruled that the Polish government violated the terms of a Polish-Dutch agreement, preventing the privatization of the Polish insurance company PZU. Poland refused to accept this verdict, arguing that one of the judges was partial. If the Brussels court accepts Poland’s arguments, the international tribunal of arbitration would end its procedures. Otherwise, the way would be opened for the Dutch side to pursue its claims. It estimated its losses recently at almost 8 billion zlotys.

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Baku to host the Polish National Exhibition - Poland Expo

A Polish national exhibition Poland Expo will be held in Baku on November 8-10, 2006. The Azerbaijani Fund to Promote Export and Investments (AZPROMO) informed Trend that the Expo is organized by the government of Poland, the Polish Economy Chamber, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Economic development and AZPROMO and will bring together Polish

and Azerbaijani businessmen, as well as senior ranking official of the two countries. The Polish businessmen were invited during the business workshop on investments of Azerbaijan which was held in Warsaw on 11-12 September 2006.

Representatives from 45 companies specialized in food industry, construction, production of plastic cards, excise stamps, bottles, machinery and equipment for civil industry, helicopters, furniture, services in the sphere of oil, gas, and water.

During the meeting of the intergovernmental commission Poland voiced its readiness to consider the opportunities for issue of credit for financing import of Polish goods and services by Azerbaijan.
Source:By I.Khalilova, Trend

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Finnair to launch direct flights to Gdansk, Poland in spring 2007

Finnair Oyj said it will begin direct flights from Helsinki to Gdansk in Poland as of April next year, operating the route with its new Embraer 170 jet aircraft.

The Finnish airline said it will fly to the Baltic port city four times a week.

Finnair already offers regular flights to Warsaw and Krakow in Poland.

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