Yushchenko to pay official visit to Poland

The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko plans to pay visit to Poland in March 2007.

Jacek Kluczkowski the Polish Ambassador to Ukraine told today at the briefing.

He noted that the objective if the visit will be to discuss question on energetic cooperation.

According to the Ambassador, “we would like to make clear some questions concerning Odessa-Brody, energetic and gas lines questions,” UNIAN informs.

Kluczkowski also reminded that Poland and Ukraine initiated to carry out energetic summit for some countries of the world. “Discussion will concern mainly it,” he added.


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Strides to move production from new Spanish JVC to Poland?

Strides Arcolab, an Indian drug maker, might be preparing to moving part of its production to its Polish factory. The company has just established a joint venture (JVC) with a Spanish firm Invent Farma Group to develop a range of speciality products mainly designed for hospitals in Spain and Portugal.
In August 2006 Pharma Poland News found out that Strides Arcolab was planning to move some of its production from two joint ventures in northern and southern Europe to the production facility it had acquired in Poland in the previous year, which would manufacture sterile medicines chiefly used in hospitals. It appears that one of these JVCs has just been created, and the move is to be implemented by the 50:50 JVC company Laboratorios DOMAC.
Andrzej Cieszkowski, Strides’ director in Poland, told Pharma Poland News that as yet he has no official knowledge of a production transfer because such decisions are taken by the management of Strides Arcolab. However, Strides’ factory in Poland is being restructuring at present. New production lines are being prepared for sterile forms, ampoules, phials and lyophilisation.

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Poland rebuked over budget deficit

The Commission has told Poland to make more effort to lower its budget deficit below 3%. Hungary also has "yet to travel the full length of the road".
he Commission formally recommended, on 7 February 2007, a reduction to Poland's budget deficit. Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said: "Thanks to higher-than-expected growth, Poland has a good opportunity to correct its excessive deficit in 2007, provided that an additional effort is made."

Upon accession, Poland was in excessive-deficit procedure and was given until 2007 to correct its deficit. According to the Polish projections, a deficit of 3.4% is expected for 2007.

However, the Commission expects the Polish deficit to be higher than this, and therefore recommended a "little extra effort" to correct the deficit, in order to put state finance on a "firmer footing".

The Polish government does not agree with the Commission. On 2 February 2007, Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska said that the EU was "painting Polish reality too darkly", Bloomberg reported.

Hungary was told to rigorously implement the budget for this year, as it is facing large adjustments - the country needs to reduce its deficit by 7.4%, bringing it down from 10% in 2006 to 2.7% of GDP by 2010. The Commission states that in order to achieve this, Hungary must rigorously implement the 2007 budget, curb public expenditure and improve budgetary control.

The EU executive has examined the second group of "stability and convergence programmes" of six countries (including Poland, Malta, Hungary, Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg). The programmes are budgetary projections that member states need to notify to the Commission each year, according to the Stability and Growth Pact.

On 14 February 2007, the last group of stability and convergence programmes will be assessed by the Commission.

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Brisk sale of new cars in Poland

A total of 22,717 new cars were sold in Poland in January, up 21.6 percent from the corresponding period of 2006 and up 5.4 percent from December, the Polish car market monitoring company Samar said on Thursday.

This is the best monthly result in 18 months.

Samar's experts attributed the brisk sale to successful promotion activities, and a wide range of loans and discounts.

Toyota was the best selling car in January with 3,170 cars sold, up nearly 25 percent from January 2006. Runner-up was Skoda with 2, 810 cars sold, up 17.7 percent compared with the same period of last year.


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Poland is European property boom leader

Despite fears of a slowdown within the European property market, house prices remained solid throughout the continent, with Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, leading the boom.

Statistics released by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors show a growth in house prices in Poland of 33 per cent for 2006, following on from 2005's growth of 28 per cent.

Scandinavia continued to show solid property-market growth, with house prices up 22 per cent in Denmark over the year, 17 per cent in Norway and 11 per cent in Sweden.

There had been fears of a considerable slowdown in prices, particularly within markets considered by some to be over-heated, including the UK, Spain and Ireland.

However, the RICS stated that these latest figures show such predictions to be "off the mark".

The author of the report for 2006, Professor Michael Ball, said: "In the main, Europe's housing markets had another strong year.

The long predicted soft-landings have yet to materialise, with the European Central Bank interest rate rises having little effect in the Euro-zone so far," he added.

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Poland: No. 2 Refiner Seeks North Sea Fields

Poland's second-largest oil refiner, Grupa Lotos, hopes to purchase oil fields in the North Sea and will begin to import North Sea crude in an effort to secure energy sources outside of Russia, Grupa Lotos chief executive Pawel Olechnowicz said Feb. 7. Olechnowicz said Kazakhstan and the North Sea are most appealing locations for the potential purchase of oil fields.
Source: stratfor.com

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Poland to back firms that seek energy

WARSAW, Poland, Feb. 7 Poland has said it will back those companies that are looking to secure their own crude oil resources.We declare our full support for activities by companies aimed at securing their own deposits, Economy Minister Piotr Wozniak told a news conference in Warsaw Tuesday. The comments were reported by the PAP news agency.

Wozniak said the ministry would present its own plans for the natural gas sector soon.Polish officials also said they hoped U.S. companies were interested in the planned Odessa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline.U.S. companies operate in the Caspian Sea basin, in Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation,. We want the companies present in that region to take interest in the Odessa-Brody-Plock pipeline project," said Piotr Naimski, deputy economy minister in charge of energy.

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Poland to uphold veto on EU-Russia talks: PM

Poland will uphold its veto of Russia-EU negotiations toward broader economic cooperation if Russia imposes sanctions against Poland in a meat export row, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski warned on Tuesday.

Poland, which joined the EU in 2004, vetoed the launch of talks on a broader economic cooperation agreement between the EU and Russia in November last year in protest against a year-old Russian ban on imports of meat from Poland.

"Under the currently operative Russia-EU agreement, Russia cannot use such methods towards Poland. Poland will in no circumstance withdraw from its veto should Russia use them," Kaczynski told a press conference.

Kaczynski said any economic sanctions against Poland would mean sanctions against the EU.

Poland will never agree to be treated like a country that is not a EU member, he added.

The prime minister's words followed a report on Tuesday by Russia's Kommersant daily saying that Moscow will impose restrictions on imports of various goods from Poland in retaliation for Poland's blocking of EU-Russia negotiations on the new agreement.

The planned restrictions will reduce the value of Poland's exports to Russia by between 1.5 billion and 2 billion U.S. dollars from the present 4 billion, the daily said.

Russia, which has been vigilant of its food safety after findings of Poland's falsified veterinary and sanitary certificates, responded with rhetoric.

"We believe the ball is in Poland's court. No one other than Poland can solve this problem," Sergei Yastrzhembsky, President Vladimir Putin's special representative on EU relations, said on Tuesday in Moscow.

The national elites of some recent EU entrants had "major hang-ups" about their "special relations" in the past with Russia, he said.

"(They) try in part to exorcise these hang-ups through their relations with contemporary Russia. These new entrants have to a certain extent influenced the atmosphere of relations between Russia and the EU," said Yastrzhembsky.

Russia urged Poland to put aside historical grievances and resolve a dispute over meat imports which is hindering the start of negotiations on the EU-Russia deal.

The EU said earlier that the restrictions should be lifted immediately, but agreed that Russia does have a right to send a team of experts into Poland to see for themselves.

According to the PAP news agency, Russian veterinary inspectors on Monday visited Poland to inspect selected meat plants accompanied by EU vets.


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Poland Could Adopt Euro By 2012-2013

Poland should meet conditions of joining eurozone by 2009.

Poland, the only EU newcomer yet to fix a target date for joining the eurozone, could adopt the single currency by 2012-2013, its central bank chief Slawomir Skrzypek said on Feb. 5. "The finance ministry forecasts that we will meet the convergence criteria, which are a condition for joining the eurozone, by 2009," said Skrzypek.

Of the 10 countries which joined the EU in 2004, most of which were formerly part of the communist bloc, only Slovenia has switched to the European single currency.

Last week, Skrzypek said the central bank would begin work in the first half of this year on a report that would analyze the potential impact of switching from the zloty to the euro.

Among the other EU newcomers, Cyprus and Malta are aiming to adopt the euro next year and Slovakia in 2009. The Czech Republic is planning to join the eurozone in 2012. Hungary has shifted its target to 2013, while Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have also been forced to postpone membership plans until the next decade.

EU nations not already using the euro are required in principle to prepare for membership of the eurozone and must satisfy performance targets regarding public finances, inflation, interest rates and exchange rates.

Slovenia's accession to the eurozone on January 1 this year increased its membership to 13 states.


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Iran threat behind Poland's interest in missile defense

Poland may agree to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system on its territory because it perceives a threat from Iran, not Russia or Belarus, Polish military attache Andrzej Lewandowski said Tuesday.

Washington officially proposed January 20 placing a radar network in the Czech Republic, and two days later announced plans to begin formal talks with Poland on the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems on its territory.

"A threat from Iran will appear in five to six years," he told journalists in Moscow.

Lewandowski said many experts think Iran will have ballistic missiles with a range of over 6,000 kilometers (3,730 miles) by 2010-2013. A missile defense base in Poland, if any, would be built in 2011-2012, he said.

"We are not looking at Russia or Belarus as our enemies," Lewandowski said.

The military attache said the missile defense bases would not be able to counter Russia's military might.

He said his country's leadership supports the plan to deploy the base, whereas polls indicate that 45% of the population is against the deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Poland, and 38% back such developments.

The Polish ambassador in Russia, Jerzy Bahr, also refuted statements that a deployment of American missile defense elements in Poland would be aimed against Russia.

"I can't imagine that the policy Poland conducts could be anti-Russian. It's in our interests to have good relations with our neighbors," he said.

On February 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an annual news conference with Russian and foreign journalists, televised live from the Kremlin, that Washington's arguments were not convincing and that Russia considered Washington's plans to be a threat to its national security.

He said that should the U.S. proceed with its intentions, Russia would respond decisively.

"We must think, and are thinking, of ways to ensure our national security," Putin said. "All our responses will be asymmetric but highly effective."

Source: en.rian.ru

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Property boom hits Poland as European investors go east

Poland has jumped to the top of the European house price growth league table after property values there soared 33% last year, according to a study published yesterday.

Locals and foreign investors who were smart enough to buy property in Krakow, Poland's ancient royal capital, are toasting a 58% rise. That makes the medieval city Europe's top-performing location. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors looked at the rates of house price growth in 26 European countries, and named other star performers as Denmark, Bulgaria and Estonia. Most countries saw solid house price inflation in 2006, with European markets failing to follow the lead from across the Atlantic, where the US property market ground to a halt. Last year was supposed to be the year when housing markets in Europe cooled, dampened down by interest rate rises, increasingly stretched affordability and a supply increase in many markets, said the report's author, Michael Ball, a professor in the department of real estate and planning at Reading University. But in the main, Europe's housing markets had „another strong year,” with several countries, including Britain, enjoying significant increases in their rates of price growth.

The only country to experience a slight fall in prices last year was Portugal, while Germany continued its poor run with zero growth. Professor Ball's report suggests that 2006 was very much Poland's year. While the influx of Polish plumbers and other workers into the UK has grabbed headlines it would appear that the traffic has been two-way, with growing numbers of British and Irish investors snapping up apartments in Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk. Added to that, Poland now boasts one of the fastest economic growth rates in Europe, and that means growing numbers of Poles can now afford to buy. „People are desperate to move from the communist, drab apartment buildings,” said Henry Wilkes, head of central and eastern European investment at estate agent Savills. Another factor is the relaxation of lending rules which has led to more competitively priced mortgages. Such high demand is outstripping supply, and the result has been an acceleration in the rate of house price growth in Warsaw - from 28% in 2005 to 33% in 2006. Krakow's 58% price growth has been partly attributed to the fact that a number of British and US companies have decided to open offices there, and to its burgeoning tourism industry; the city has been dubbed „the new Prague”.

The Scandinavian countries continued their impressive growth. In Denmark, prices jumped by 22% last year following a similar rise in 2005, while Norway's annual rate of growth more than doubled to hit 17%, and Sweden also made it into double figures with an 11% rise. „Something is clearly afoot in northern Europe,” said Professor Ball. He added that some experts had suggested that high price expectations in an era of relaxed mortgage lending were driving up inflation. Of the „big four”, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, only the UK outstripped its 2005 performance, with house prices rising 10%, partly reflecting the lack of housing supply. The medieval city of Krakow has seen prices rise by up 58% and by 100% in the sought-after centre, which miraculously escaped destruction during the second world war. „I expect this market to at least double over the next five years,” says John Naughton, who runs TNIproperties.com from Krakow. The city is a three-hour flight from London. One-bed city centre flats start at £60,000 (€91100) and rise to £110,000 (€167000). A three-bed luxury apartment on the main square has a price tag of £650,000, but prices drop to £30,000 a half-hour walk from the centre. (The Guardian)


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Poland to demand EU sanctions if Russia expands trade ban - PM Kaczynski

The Polish government will demand European Union sanctions against Russia should Russia impose new tariffs on goods imported from Poland, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski told a press conference Tuesday.
"If Russia expands the trade ban, Poland will not drop the veto [of EU-Russian partnership negotiations] and will demand European Union sanctions against Russia," Kaczynski said.

The Russian daily Kommersant reported Tuesday that Moscow has decided to impose tariffs that would cut the value of Polish exports to Russia, currently valued at more than USD 4 bln, by nearly half in response to Poland's continued veto of the new partnership agreement negotiations between Russia and the EU.
Source: wiadomosci.onet.pl

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Poland: Loyalty Over Experience in the Cabinet


Aleksander Szczyglo will be nominated to become Poland's new defense minister, filling the spot recently resigned by Radoslaw Sikorski, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Feb. 6. Kaczynski is replacing a highly experienced and capable defense minister with a party loyalist, further consolidating the grip on top government posts enjoyed by the prime minister and his twin brother, Polish President Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The move also deprives Poland of its best and toughest negotiator with the United States as large deals with Washington loom.


Aleksander Szczyglo will be nominated to be Poland's defense minister, replacing Radoslaw Sikorski, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Feb. 6 in an interview with Polish Radio. Szczyglo is chief of staff to Polish President Lech Kaczynski, the prime minister's twin brother.

Though he lacks much experience in defense matters, Szczyglo is a longtime Kaczynski loyalist, offering the brothers control over defense matters they did not enjoy with Sikorski. The move also eliminates yet another roadblock to the Kaczynskis' consolidation of power, even if it eliminates their best and toughest negotiator with the United States.

Though he only held the post of defense minister for a little more than a year, Sikorski butted heads with both the prime minister and the president over most defense measures, from staff reform to international defense deals. Sikorski did not fear criticizing either Kaczynski regarding defense strategies or their purges of Communist-linked government officials, dubbed a witch hunt by the Polish press.

Government-sponsored Polish daily Nasz Dziennik reported that Sikorski has mishandled military contracts and that the government is investigating Sikorski's immigration status as well. In mid-2006, the prime minister and president made Antoni Macierewicz deputy of defense, responsible for the military's counterintelligence agency. Macierewicz reportedly worked around Sikorski, reporting only to the twins. Sikorski requested that Macierewicz be replaced -- finally rupturing his own relationship with the brothers Kaczynski. Sikorski resigned Feb. 5, citing too many obstacles to conduct his job as he saw fit.

His replacement, Szczyglo, moonlighted in the defense arena for just a few months when he served as deputy secretary of defense under Sikorski. Szczyglo has been close with the government leaders for more than 20 years. He has held two terms in parliament, representing Kaczynski's nationalistic Law and Justice Party (PiS) and has served as the president's chief of staff for the past six months. Szczyglo is the twins' yes-man.

This is not the first time the Kaczynskis have replaced an experienced government minister with a loyalist. At the prime minister's request, Jaroslaw removed Deputy Prime Minster and Agriculture Minister Andrzej Lepper over a long-brewing dispute about agricultural spending and the future of Polish-Russian relations. Lepper belongs to the Self-Defense Party, the PiS' coalition partner; his dismissal caused the government to collapse. To the Kaczynskis' chagrin, no other party was willing to form a coalition government with the PiS, so Lepper was grudgingly reinstated to prevent fresh elections and Self-Defense was reinstated as coalition partner.

This coalition is far from stable, and both the president's and the prime minister's popularity is declining. The Kaczynski brothers' stubborn ways regularly prevent them from resolving issues within the coalition government or with opposition parties. Also to their detriment, they depend on each other's opinions above anything else, and reward those loyal to them.

The replacement of the defense minister with a loyalist comes as some tough decisions are arriving for the ministry. Poland is considering increasing its troop level in Afghanistan from 100 to 1,000, an idea that has not met with much enthusiasm among the Polish public. The U.S. proposal to establish a ballistic missile defense base in Poland also has proved controversial. Potentially contentious negotiations will begin in the coming weeks, during which Poland will be represented by its defense minister.

Sikorski would have been an excellent choice to represent Poland given his long history in dealing with the United States in both foreign policy and defense matters. Sikorski was deputy defense minister in 1992 and foreign minister in 1998, and worked at the American Enterprise Institute until being named defense minister in 2005. Though he is pro-U.S., he has been known to be a tough negotiator with Washington. Unlike the Kaczynskis, Sikorski said he only would allow the United States to build the base if it could guarantee Poland's future security -- especially since Russia is condemning the idea of the base.

If Szczyglo is approved for the post, which requires his own party's approval, along with the approval of one the PiS' coalition members, he will most likely bow to the United States in negotiations in an attempt to show that the Kaczynskis are Washington's best friend. The question remains whether the Kaczynskis and the PiS can survive betting their declining approval rating against keeping Washington happy./products/premium/read_article.php?id=283986

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The Golden Terraces - Grand opening in Warsaw

The Golden Terraces in Warsaw - Grand opening - Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Złote Tarasy mean trade, entertainment, services and offices, right in the heart of Warsaw. This modern multifunctional complex stands between Złota Street, Emilia Plater Street, the Central Railway Station, and Jana Pawła II Ave. It is easily accessible by any public transport method or by rail. Guests can drive from an international airport and reach the centre in approx. 20 minutes.

The Golden Terraces (Złote Tarasy) name refers to Złota (Golden) Street and the architecture of the building. The cascading terraces cover two plazas – an internal plaza with fountains and an external one, surrounded by restaurants. Alleys and passages with stores and a main avenue for pedestrians leading from the railways station to Złota Street create a very urban atmosphere for the interior of Złote Tarasy. Sandstones, granites, a lot of greenery and water elements create an internal environment that is close to nature. All of this is contained under a folding glass roof, with over a hectare in surface area.

You can do much more than just shop in Złote Tarasy – you can meet your friends, go to a concert, or just stop for a few moments to rest from the bustle of the city. Clients of the commercial and entertainment section of the Złote Tarasy can choose from over 200 stores. Several dozen restaurants and cafes, music clubs and a fitness club will also be functioning inside the centre. Two modern office buildings will be provided to office tenants – an oval Lumen with three separate entrances, and a representative office tower entered from Emilia Plater Street.

The employees and guests to the shopping centre have a multi-level parking lot at their disposal. The parking lot is open 7 days a week. There are three driveways leading to the parking lot – from Jan Paweł II Avenue, E. Plater Street and Złota Street.

Złote Tarasy is an exceptional place on the map of Warsaw, and the map of Poland. The design and functionality of the complex has already been applauded by international experts. Złote Tarasy has achieved the title of the best commercial project in the world*.

Złote Tarasy will be open, seven days a week, from 10:00 to 22:00 (10:00 to 20:00 on Sundays).


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Crime rate down in Poland

...but some crimes in Poland are still higher than many realize.

Interior Minister Ludwik Dorn announced on Friday that the overall crime rate fell by 10.7% in 2006. Theft fell by 13.5%. More importantly, theft related killings were down by 8 percent.

Corruption detection – a central plank of the government’s domestic policy – was up 6.4%.

Crime in much of the western world – UK and the US for instance – is also on the way down, but, crucially, the number of people in the main age category most associated with crime – the 16 – 25 year olds – is falling in those countries. So the sub-population where the criminals originate is falling.

Poland, however, has seen a bulge in 16 – 25 year olds, following the Polish ‘baby boom’ of the 1980s. So crime is falling at a time when the criminal sub-population is growing.

So these figures are a major success. How much of this is due to the government, however, is less clear.

But how criminal is Poland?
Crime in general has risen since the introduction of capitalism. Capitalism in a sense is crimogenic.

But what worries Poles the most is that Poland has become a more dangerous place to live. But is it any more or less dangerous than the average western society?

Well, the bad news is that Poland has a higher murder rate, per capita, than does the United States!

Poland has a murder rate of 0.0562789 per 1,000 people … America has a rate of 0.042802 per 1,000 people. Those stats will come as a bit of a surprise to both Americans and Poles, no doubt.

The country where you are most likely to get murdered in the world, by the way, is – no surprise – Columbia. The safest country in the world is Qatar.

Luckily for Poles, however, most murders appear to be gang related – one criminal killing another.

(Perhaps there is a kind of Darwinian thing going on, and in a few years time all the weaker thugs will have become extinct, and we will be left with a handful of Superthings… )

But the news that the murder rate is falling in Poland is going to go down very well here, and not just with the government’s supporters.

I don’t suppose gang related criminals are too disappointed about it, either.

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Poland sees potato prices rising

The high potato price forecasts for the 2006/07 season are coming true. Potatoes are becoming expensive not only in Poland but also in the other European markets. Bad crops in Poland (9 million MT, which is 13,6% less than during 2005 season), cause difficulties both for processors and consumers and potatoes became much desired product almost everywhere.

At the end of January, wholesale prices in Poland came to around 0,26-0,33 €/kg (around 50% more than at the same time of previous year) and retail prices often exceed 0,5 €/kg. And everything shows that this is not the end. According to experts by the end of spring 2007 potatoes in Poland can be as expensive as oranges – 0,77-1,0 €/kg.

Additional problems were caused by warm winter – potatoes started to loose quality in storage facilities, mainly due to pathogen infestation during growing season. Most of the potato varieties grown in Poland are modern varieties with better resistance to late blight, viruses other diseases and pests. In 2006, 132 potato varieties were registered in Poland. Only in 2006, 15 new varieties – 7 domestic and 8 from Netherlands and Germany - were registered. 13 of them are intended for the fresh market and only 2 for processing. But according to consumers those varieties have a worse taste than older ones. That is why Polish breeders are trying to find varieties with improved taste.

Source: freshplaza.com

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Ukraine official criticizes U.S. plan to deploy missile defense system in Poland, Czech Republic

A senior Ukrainian official criticized U.S. plans to deploy its missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic in comments released Monday.

"First of all missiles deployed near our territory are objects for attack by any sides. So it is a threat to involve Ukraine in a direct conflict," First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said according to his office.

Washington announced last month that it wants to put a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor site in Poland.

Last week, a top U.S. general in charge of developing U.S. missile defenses said that the United States was looking for ways to involve Ukraine in its plans to develop such a system in Europe. But the Ukrainian government said that it had no plans to deploy the U.S. missile defense system in its country.

Russia, meanwhile, has harshly criticized the U.S. plans to build missile defense sites in Central Europe, shrugging off U.S. assurances that the installations would be meant to deal with a potential threat from Iran and calling them an effort to strengthen U.S. military might in the region.

Azarov said that the issue will not help supporters of NATO membership for Ukraine to achieve their aim.

Ukraine has been divided over the issue of possible NATO membership, with Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko backing the move and pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych opposing it.

Most Ukrainians, particularly in the largely Russian-speaking east and south, remain deeply skeptical of the alliance.

Source: kyivpost.com

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Poland Obstructs Russia and European Union

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov met with EU three in Moscow yesterday (Feb. 05, 2007). The talks went without journalists. The key issues were Kosovo, and Russia-EU relations. It turned out that Poland’s stand hampers Moscow and Brussels in reaching complete understanding.
EU three and Minister Lavrov discussed mainly two issues: Kosovo, and the possibility of making a new Russia-EU agreement on cooperation and partnership. Brussels is particularly interested in Moscow’s stand on Kosovo, since China made it clear it will vote in the same way as Russia.

Moscow showed its decision concerning Kosovo will depend on the EU’s readiness to take into account Russia’s interests in other issues. One of them is the new Russia-EU partnership and cooperation treaty. For more than two months already, Poland has been blocking the beginning of Russia-EU talks, demanding that Russia lift the ban on importing Poland’s agricultural products.

By the way, the EU suddenly faced Poland’s obstruction on Kosovo issue as well. Polish President Lech Kaczynski said recently that Warsaw is for Kosovo’s broad autonomy within Serbia.

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Poland's PKN Orlen Taps CBX for New C-Store Prototype and Branding Work

PKN Orlen, Poland's largest petroleum retailer with more than 1,900 dealer-operated stations across the country, has selected the retail division of CBX (Colemanbrandworx), the strategic branding, design, and consultancy agency based here, to develop a new convenience store concept that will be utilized in newly built locations and retrofits of existing units.Under the assignment, CBX will handle brand strategy, identity and naming of the new c-store concept, as well as layout, fixturing, lighting, and interior and exterior graphic communications. Additionally, the firm's merchandising and operations consulting team will assist PKN Orlen in defining the store's key destination categories.

Joseph Bona, president of CBX's retail division and a veteran consultant to c-store operators across the globe, noted that assignment comes at a time when Orlen's existing stores in Poland are increasingly competing with multi-nationals who are entering the market with their latest western formats."Moreover, Poland's economy is producing a growing middle class with two- income wage earners," added Ralph Sloan, CBX senior partner/retail. "With that, Polish shoppers are facing the same time pressures as everyone else in the world. Though the need for convenience wasn't there a few years ago, there's a strong opportunity now and an opportunity to raise the bar on current design and merchandising standards."Plans call for the new concept to initially be deployed in Poland before being rolled out to the company's c-stores in other countries. All told, the company and its affiliates operate over 2,700 fuel centers in central Europe, most of which also include c-stores.

About PKN OrlenPKN Orlen is Poland and central Europe's largest publicly traded firm, with major operations in Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and the Baltic States. The merger of Poland's C.P.N. and PKN in 1999 created PKN Orlen headquartered near Warsaw in Plock. Together with its joint ventures, the company generates annual sales of approximately $10 billion (USD).

About CBX
CBX (Colemanbrandworx) is a fully integrated global creative agency specializing in brand and corporate identity development, packaging, research, motion branding, as well as retail design, merchandising and operations. The company maintains offices in New York City, Minneapolis and San Francisco. Overseas, through the CBX Worldwide Partnership, the firm additionally has operating offices in Santiago, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Melbourne, Shanghai, London and Amsterdam.


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Slovakia raises stink with Poland over bid to register brand of cheese

A smoked cheese made for centuries in the Tatra mountains between Poland and Slovakia is at the centre of a dispute between the two new European Union neighbours, EU officials said Monday.

Slovakia has objected to Poland's bid to register oscypek cheese on the EU's list of protected traditional products - a move that would mean only producers on the Polish side of the border would be able to use the oscypek label.

The Slovak move has prevented Poland from adding the cheese to a list of hundreds of EU protected food products that includes cheeses such as France's Roquefort as well delicacies ranging from Scotch lamb to four varieties of Portuguese chestnut.

EU agriculture spokesman Michael Mann said Poland and Slovakia now have six months to resolve their cheese dispute. If they do not, the EU's Executive Commission will rule on who has rights to the name.

The EU has a history of disputes over traditional foods. A battle to keep feta cheese an exclusively Greek product raged for almost 20 years before the EU's court threw out complaints from German and Danish producers in 2005.

Poland, Sweden and other countries around the Baltic Sea are battling with Britain, the Netherlands and others about what constitutes vodka. EU trade negotiators have frequently become embroiled in disputes with wine producers over who can use such labels as champagne, port or sherry.

Oscypek is traditionally made from ewe's milk, soaked in brine and smoked. Poland had hoped it would have been added to the EU's protected list this month. It would have become only the second listed product from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.

The first was Budejovicke beer from the Czech Republic, which is at the centre of a long-running trademark dispute with Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., the American brewers of Budweiser.


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Most priests in Poland want to marry

Sixty percent of Roman Catholic priests in Poland want the right to marry and have families, according to a survey published by Poland`s respected Tygodnik Powszechny (TP) weekly, which caters to Poland`s Catholic intelligentsia. According to an as yet unpublished study, however, only a third of young priests who quit the priesthood do so for the sake of women, IANS reported Monday.

'The main reason (for quitting the priesthood ) are existential problems and ideals,' says the study`s author Jozef Baniak of Poznan`s Adam Mickiewicz university. 'A woman, if she appears, is in the background.'

'First there is a crisis of the priest`s identity and then he looks for someone in whom he can confide his problem,' says Baniak.

Jesuit Father and psychologist Jacek Prusak told TP more and more priests consider leaving the priesthood because they feel lonely, isolated and misunderstood. 'Not everyone can cope with the fact that at the beginning of the 21st century priests are no longer regarded as the priest they knew in their youth,' he said.

Poland is one of the world`s most staunchly Roman Catholic countries with more than 90 per cent of its people calling themselves Catholic.


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ROUNDUP: Poland's Sikorski Quits Over Afghanistan Risks

Poland's Defence Minister Radoslaw Sikorski quit Monday over what he termed "difficulties" in reducing the risk for 1,000 Polish troops soon to be deployed in a dangerous NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.

Sikorski, said he quit because he "lacked the instruments" to minimize the grave risks the troops would faced in what he called Poland's "most dangerous mission since WWII."

According to an unconfirmed Monday report in Poland's Dziennik daily, the 44-year old had been unhappy with Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's choice of long-time fellow Law and Justice (PiS) party member Antoni Macierewicz as head of Poland's military counter- intelligence services.

Macierewicz has been roundly criticized for doing a sloppy job of reforming Poland's military spy agency. The move was taken by the Kaczynski government in a bid to update and "de-communise" the organization, which had not been overhauled since the 1989 fall of communism.

Analysts in Warsaw suggested Sikorski had quit over difficulties in obtaining accurate intelligence from Afghanistan while preparing the troop deployment.

Sikorski's resignation also comes as Poland is preparing to open controversial talks with the United States on the possible stationing of US anti-missile bases on Polish soil.

It remained unclear Monday who Kaczynski would name to replace Sikorski, widely seen as a highly competent minister of defence.

Aleksander Szczyglo, chief of the chancellery of the president, was seen Monday evening as possible successor and could be nominated for the position as soon as Wednesday TVN 24 reported.

Having worked in conservative think-tanks in Washington DC between 2002-05, Sikorski is regarded as having good contacts at the White House.

He began his career as a Solidarity student activist in communist Poland, which led him into exile as a political refugee and into studies at Oxford University in Britain in the early 1980s.

Sikorski is well aware of the risks troops face on the ground in Afghanistan as he reported on the Soviet invasion of that country during the latter part of the 1980s.

One thousand Polish troops are due to be deployed in coming weeks as part of the 30,000-troop UN-mandated NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.


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Sikorski resigns from government

Defence Minister Radosław Sikorski has resigned from the government and this has been accepted by Polish Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński.

According to some sources, the Defence Minister resigned because of a conflict with intelligence chief Antoni Macierewicz. Several days ago, minister Sikorski allegedly officially requested the dismissal of Macierewicz.

It has also been suggested that the defence minister was openly critical of Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński and President Lech Kaczyński.

Commentators also say that Radosław Sikorski had been in conflict with head of the President's office Aleksander Szczygło.

Source: polskieradio.p

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Poland's Ski Jumping Champion Wins Big In Perfect Form

Adam Malysz
flies over

Warsaw, Poland 4 February, 2007 Poland's champion Adam Malysz was in perfect form and had a record setting day that set Polish people ablaze once again with hopes of him returning to first place in the World Cup Ski Jumping Tournament.

His first jump of the series yesterday was 138 meters. He landed with a perfect telemark. His point scores ranged between 19.0 and 19.5.

His second jump was a sight to see. He flew a record setting 145 meters at the jump in Titisee-Neustad. He started his run down the jump with a calm look of confidence and just flew like only Adam Malysz flies. He actually looked like he pulled the jump up short as he approached the flat part of the course.

He said that wind conditions were perfect for him. That is definitely different than the conditions that he faced early in the season.

Malysz is currently third in World Cup point standings.

His former trainer, Apoloniusz Tajner, says that his form is perfect and he should hold that form for the rest of the season. He does not believe that those ahead of him in the standings will hold their forms and Malysz can finish number one.


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German Travel Agency Helps People Unearth Roots in Poland

Germany and Poland have had a tumultuous relationship for many years. Now, a unique travel agency aims to improve ties between the neighbors.

Julia Gerstenberg and Jacqueline Nießer have their work cut out for them.

Sitting in a little office in Frankfurt on the Oder River in eastern Germany, which should not to be confused with the financial hub Frankfurt on the Main River in the west, the pair is surround by maps of Poland, history books and dictionaries. The scent of freshly brewed coffee and Polish waffles wafts through the air.

Gerstenberg is trying to decipher an old map, while Nießer answers questions on the telephone.

Researching roots

HeimatReise's founders graduated from Viadrina University

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: HeimatReise's founders graduated from Viadrina University

Each day, their small agency HeimatReise, roughly translated as "Trip Home," receives dozens of calls. Gerstenberg and Nießer have made it their job to research family histories and organize trips for ethnic Germans, and their descendents, who were expelled from Poland at the end of World War II and beyond.

Eight German and eight Polish students attending the city's Europa University Viadrina founded the travel agency in 2002.

Nießer said HeimatReise was established when relations between Germany and Poland were particularly tense.

"We wondered what we in Frankfurt/Oder, on the German-Polish border, could do on a small scale to ease the tensions on a human level," she said.

A look back

At the time of HeimatReise's founding, the Prussian Trust organization, which represents the families of expropriated and resettled Germans, had been launching lawsuits in Poland for the return of lost property.

At the end of World War II, some 12 million Germans were killed or expelled from central Europe as the German and Polish borders were being redrawn by the Allies.

Some 12 million Germans were expelled from central Europe after WWII

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Some 12 million Germans were expelled from central Europe after WWII

Some expelled Germans and their descendents want Poland to admit to wrongdoings at the end of the war, while others want to reclaim their former homes.

Many Poles, for their part, are resentful of the demands in light of the Nazi invasion in 1939 and the millions' of deaths that ensued.

Bridging the gap

That's where HeimatReise's work comes in: to bridge the gap in a very sensitive area. All of the agency's workers volunteer their time and have so far organized around 10 trips to Pomerania, the area surrounding Lebus and the Neumark.

Some people book trips to celebrate a significant birthday. Sons and daughters often want to treat their parents to a trip "back home" and choose to accompany them.

"That's important because we don't want to stir up history, but rather, use to as a point of departure to talk about modern Poland and its people," said Nießer.

Detective work

HeimatReise workers also said they see themselves as travel guides and detectives in one.

Often they have only a few clues to get started with when trying to track down a family's history.

Before the war, mainly Germans lived in Gdansk in northern Poland

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Before the war, mainly Germans lived in Gdansk in northern Poland

Detlef Mielke showed up at the agency with just a few yellowed photographs and a vague notion of significant family dates and a few stories he remembered hearing from his father.

"I wanted to go and see where my family's from," he said. "Everyone wants to know where they come from."

But the meager information turned out to be enough for the agency's workers and a trip was booked for the 69-year-old to visit his ancestors former home.

Nießer, however, warns of having high expectations. Reality is not always as colorful as the pictures parents or grandparents may have painted of their origins.

Across borders and generations

Dialogue and exchange occur not just between two cultures but also between generations.

Mielke said he now visits the HeimatReise office regularly because it's like a "shot of energy" for him.

He's also started learning Polish and is planning more trips to the other side of the Oder.

Source: dw-world.de

Etykiety: , ,

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Germany beats Poland to win handball world champs

Poland lost 29-24 to Germany in the final of the men's handball world championship on Sunday in Cologne.

The Poles, who never came so far in the competition before, were behind 13-17 by halftime.

Polish president Lech Kaczynski, in Germany specially for the game, said before the match that he had "deep faith" in the Poles' success.

Asked if Poland's victory would harm Polish-German relations, Kaczynski said he was "convinced" this would not happen, the PAP news agency reported.

Kaczynski watched the game together with German president Horst Koehler.

Source: news.xinhuanet.com

Etykiety: ,

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Polish Hospital Crisis Hurts Children In Poland With Cancer

Warsaw, Poland 4 February, 2007 - Poland has money to pay for pigs and to build a church but it does not have money to treat Polish children with cancer. The Polish Government now must fix in five days what it has not been able to fix in the past year.

The Polish Hospital system was shocked when the courts ruled that hospitals had to pay their debts and an executor attached the bank accounts of a hospital that treats children with cancer.

The Government now must get money to the hospital to keep it operating. But that is difficult.

The Government recently donated 40 million zloty from the ZUS social insurance fund to help build the large church in Wilanow, Poland.

The Government has started to increase its reserves of pork by buying up to 80 thousand tons of pig meat. That money is not in the budget but will come out of a special reserve fund.

But, as of this writing, there is not enough money to get money to the hospital and to solve the hospital debt crisis. The Minister of Health, Zbigniew Religa, has, however, given his "word of honor" that everyone will be treated.

The crisis is getting huge media attention in Poland. People are responding and are making cash payments to help the cancer hospital.

The Catholic Church charity Caritas will donate. But they will only donate by making a bank transfer. Unfortunately, the executor has the hospital bank account attached and Caritas will not transfer until he releases his hold on it

So the priorities are important.

The donation to build the Church is important to the image of the Government. It needs a good image to maintain its popularity with its voter base.

Buying pigs is important because if they are not bought the Government coalition will fail and the ruling political party Law and Justice may lose control.

The excutor must be satisfied before the Church will help.

The Health Care system must be reformed, sometime, and preferably within the next five days, so that the hospital crisis can at least be reduced in scope.

Update 5 February, 2007

The debts of the hospital in question are over 300 million zloty. That is about 100 million dollars.

Because of press coverage such as this, foreign money is pouring into Poland to help the children. Thanks to anyone who has helped. And please spread the word.


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Australia's Ansell secures Poland's Unimil for 40.5 mln usd

Ansell Ltd, the world's largest manufacturer of protective gloves and a leading condom maker, said it has secured Polish company Unimil SA for 40.5 mln usd after receiving approximately 83 pct of the shares as of Friday.

Unimil is a maker and seller of condoms, with a 50 pct share of the Polish retail condom market and

8 pct of the German market through its Condomi unit.

The Australian company said the acquisition is anticipated to be neutral to its earnings per share in

the fiscal years to June 2007 and 2008, while increasing Ansell's global market share of the retail condom market to around 13 pct.

Ansell's successful takeover followed an earlier bid in mid-August 2006 which it withdrew later after the offer failed to reach the 80 pct acceptance condition.

Unimil is expected to remain listed on the Polish Stock Exchange until Ansell acquires 100 pct of the company's shares.


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Did Poland Export Its Criminals?

Poland has exported its unemployed. Has it also exported its criminals?

The Polish migration to the European Union has exceeded most people's expectations and surprised many. The exodus has removed many people from the job market, some say up to 2 million, in Poland and, as such, helped drop the unemployment rate.

It is not likely that the emigration was limited only to the pillars of the Polish community. It is more likely that the numbers leaving the country also included those prone to get into trouble or commit crimes.

Last year anecdotal evidence indicated that crime rates were down due to emigration.

Further anecdotal evidence shows that some streets are bare of the people who stood around and caused trouble.

The Polish Press Agency reports now that Ludwik Dorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Of Interior, announced that, in the largest drop since 1989, the crime rate in Poland fell by 10.7 percent during the past year.

Thefts fell 13.5 percent, general crimes 2.5 percent, and robbery-related killings almost 8 percent.

Now what caused that drop?

Have all the criminals been put in jail?

Did a moral revolution in Poland occur in Poland and people stop stealing?

Are there more Police on the streets deterring crime?

Or did the young and frustrated people who might commit crimes leave this country of no opportunity for young people and go West?


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Poland reports significant drop in crime

The crime rate in Poland fell by 10.7 percent in 2006 over the previous year, the largest drop since 1989, the government said Friday.

The detection of crimes rose by more than 3.3 percent to 47.5 percent. General crime detection including road offences rose by 4 percent to 62.4 percent, the PAP news agency quoted Ludwik Dorn, deputy prime minister and interior minister, as saying.

The number of thefts fell by 13.5 percent, general crimes by 2.5 percent, and robbery-related killings by nearly 8 percent, he said

Dorn added that drug-related crime detection rose by 3.9 percent, while corruption detection rose by 6.4 percent.


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US wants to put 10 missile shield bases in Poland

The United States intends to propose locating 10 so-called missile shield bases in EU and NATO member Poland and an unspecified number of radar stations in fellow member the Czech Republic, Poland’s TOK FM commercial news radio station reported Jan. 30, quoting a senior US Pentagon official.

According to TOK FM, talks with the US on the stationing of National Missile Defence (NMD) bases in Poland are to begin within weeks.

Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga confirmed Polish experts were currently analysing a US proposal to install US National Missile Defence (NMD) bases in Poland, but insisted “we are not ready to make any decision.”

Official bilateral talks on NMD are to begin in Washington in mid-February, Poland’s broadsheet Rzeczpospolita daily reported, quoting two unnamed senior Polish officials.

Unofficial consultations were conducted over the last year, according to the daily, which also reports Polish experts are currently analysing a written proposal recently forwarded by the US.

Unconfirmed reports last year alleged Pentagon officials had already been scouting the Tatra Mountains skirting the Polish-Czech border for possible missile base sites.

Poland’s Minister of Defence Radoslaw Sikorski recently said Poland would not turn down any US request for negotiations regarding the stationing of National Missile Defence (NMD) anti-missile shield bases in Poland, but the outcome of any such talks is still an open matter.

Last year, Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski expressed doubt over giving the US full sovereignty and diplomatic and legal jurisdiction over any eventual base locations in Poland. Sikorski previously insisted the US would have to give Poland security guarantees before stationing any NMD bases on its soil.

Polish media have suggested this means Poland will be demanding the installation of US Patriot anti-rocket missiles in order to protect its own territory from possible attack.

Last March, 2006, Polish media reported that Pentagon experts favoured Poland as a potential location for the overseas portion of the NMD missile shield project, dubbed "Son of Star Wars" by critics.

A senior Polish official on Feb. 1 cast additional doubt on US hopes to base anti-missile defences in the country, saying Warsaw had not given its final approval of the plan, and suggesting a national referendum on the proposal.

Andrzej Lepper, Polish deputy prime minister, made the remarks during a live interview with the Ukrainian Channel 5 television. He was in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on a private visit, the news channel reported.

“There is the general opinion that Poland has given its approval,” Lepper said. “But Poland has not officially agreed.”

“It (the US plan) should be decided on in a national referendum,” he said.

The US-based NMD plan is designed to protect it and fellow NATO defence alliance members, plus, Japan from a potential nuclear missile attack by rogue states.

The idea first emerged in the US under Republican President Ronald Reagan during the Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union. His Strategic Defence Initiative, was popularly dubbed "Star Wars."

Since shedding communism in 1989, Poland has been among the closest US allies in Europe. A NATO member since 1999, it was an ardent supporter of the US-led 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

A 53-per-cent majority of Poles oppose the possible installation of US missile shield bases on Polish soil, while only 34 per cent support the idea, according to a survey published in the Zycie Warszawy daily.

The independent Warsaw-based pollsters Pentor found an additional 19 percent of respondents said they were “rather” opposed to the possible installation of such US bases, while 13 percent had no opinion on the matter.


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Poland's Malysz wins ski jumping World Cup with a hill record

Adam Malysz of Poland equalled the hill record on his second leap Saturday to win a World Cup event at Titisee-Neustadt, Germany.

Malysz took his second World Cup victory in eight days and 31st of his career with the 145.0-metre jump, matching the mark held by Germany's Sven Hannavald.

Combined with a first jump of 138.5, the Pole finished with 293.8 points.

Andreas Kofler of Austria was second with 285.3, followed by World Cup leader Anders Jacobsen of Norway with 278.9.

Jacobsen built out his lead in the World Cup standings with 937 points after 14 of 23 events this season, with Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer at 715 after a 10th-place finish. Malysz is third with 657.


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Poland may join Ignalina replacement project

Lithuania and her immediate neighbors - Latvia and Estonia - are in the market for a new nuclear nuclear power station. These Baltic states are trying to replace the electricity supply that is scheduled to be removed from the grid when Unit 2 of the Ignalina nuclear power station shuts down because of an agreement made when Lithuania joined the European Union.

That shutdown is supposed to happen in 2009, though I have not yet given up hope that sanity will rein, even in the EU, and the plant will be allowed to remain in operation until a replacement power plant is completed.

The new development in the saga is that Poland has decided that it might join its Baltic Sea neighbors in the project. According to a 1 February 2007 article in World Nuclear News titled Poland to join new Ignalina project "as soon as possible"
"Poland hopes that, in cooperation with the Lithuanian government, this deal will be finalised and signed as soon as possible. We are very interested in this project," said Anna Fotyga, Poland's foreign minister. Reportedly, a deal could be signed in December.

Jonas Gilinas of Kaunas University of Technology said last year: "The construction of a new power plant on the Ignalina site, as well as the integration of electricity and gas networks into the European energy system is the most attractive way of solving problems of secure supply, energy independence and reduction of contamination of the environment."


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Poland's Minister Of Agriculture Should Know Polish Pig's Reproductive Cycle

Warsaw, Poland 2 February, 2007 The Polish Minister of Finance is not happy that Poland has started making purchases of pork that Minister of Agriculture Andrej Lepper had demanded. They have had words and their spat has gone public.

Lepper had demanded a purchase of 80 thousand tons be made or he would bring down the Government coalition. He got his way.

The Government is starting with a purchase of 10 thousand tons.

The Government will make gradual purchases throughout the spring up to the 80 thousand ton mark.

There is not enough money in the budget to complete the purchase. So there will be a special committee meeting in the Polish Parliament to allocate another 100 million zloty from a reserve fund to the budget to complete the purchase.

But the Finance Minister, Zita Gilowska, is not happy with Lepper. She said that the pig's reproductive cycle is well known and you can predict it with one weeks accuracy. Lepper should have reacted earlier, He should have known that there will be a problem

Lepper said that Gilowska should take care of public finance reform and not interfere in agriculture. She is trying to break the coalition by criticising Lepper and his political party Samoobrona. She is showing that they are incompetent.

He will be talking with the Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. He does not want Gilowska to be dismissed. He wants her to only to take care of finances.

The EU has told Poland that public support of the meat prices is contrary to EU rules.

Poland says that it is just increasing Poland's meat reserves.

The EU is looking into the matter.

Source: masterpage.com.pl

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Poland: the changes in apple production structure

Poland is the largest apple producer in Europe. The Central Statistic Committee of Poland has published the results of the final survey conducted in 2004 (the previous survey was carried out in 1998). The results witness the changes occurred in the variety structure of Polish apple orchards in the period 1998 to 2004. Cortland, Lobo and Jonatan varieties have become less popular; they have been replaced by Jonagold, Champion, Ligol and Gala varieties. The information is provided by FreshPlaza site.

The out-of-date Idared variety still occupies the largest acreage of apple orchards (19%); Jonagold variety has the second place (12%), Champion variety is on the third place with 9% of the total acreage of apple orchards. Lobo variety has the forth place (5.5%), Cortland variety is on the fifth place as for its popularity. The most part of apple harvest in Poland (36.9%) is produced in 5-9 years old orchards. (10-14 years-old - 31.7%, up to four years 8,8%, older than 25 years - 7,1%).

Talking about the most important Jonagold and Champion varieties, 80% of trees are younger than 10 years. 56.4% of apple trees were grown on the semi-dwarf rootstocks (almost 70% of 5-9 years-old trees are produced by this method). The dwarf rootstock amounted to 17.4% of all plantings; it was the most popular production method for young orchards (41% of the trees up to 4 years old) during the mentioned period of time.


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Poland Faces New EU Warning on Deficit-Cutting Moves (Update2)

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Poland faces a new showdown with the European Union after failing to cut government spending enough to bring its budget deficit under the EU limit this year, according to a draft EU ruling.

The European Commission, the EU's executive body, will tell Poland next week that ``additional measures, especially on the expenditure side,'' are needed to bring its deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product by a 2007 deadline, according to the ruling, which will be released Feb. 7. Poland wanted until 2009 to narrow its deficit to the EU limit.

A separate ruling warns Hungary that slower-than-expected growth after 2008 may hurt that country's deficit-cutting plans. The two draft reports were obtained by Bloomberg News.

Poland, the largest of the 10 mainly eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004, has flouted deficit rules since its accession. The country is expected to stay above the limit through 2008 after an EU ruling to take effect this year bans the government from classifying payments to private pension funds as state revenue. Poland estimates the accounting-rule change will add 1.9 percentage points to the budget shortfall.

The commission ruling will say the ``action taken so far does not appear adequate and the planned measures appear insufficient'' to bring Poland's deficit into line with EU rules by the deadline, according to the draft. The Polish government does not agree.

`Too Darkly'

``I've heard that the commission thinks our economic forecasts are too optimistic,'' Polish Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska said at a press conference in Warsaw today. ``But I think it is painting Polish reality too darkly.''

The Polish zloty declined against the dollar after the report of the draft ruling and was trading at 3.008 at 4:25 p.m. in Warsaw, compared with 2.997 yesterday. The yield on the benchmark five-year bond rose 4.3 basis points to 4.923, while the price fell to 97.43 as of 3:20 p.m. in Warsaw.

Polish Central Bank Deputy Governor Krzysztof Rybinski urged the government on Jan. 17 to cut the fiscal deficit and improve banking supervision and labor-market flexibility in order to adopt the euro. Poland is the only one of the 2004 EU entrants not to have set any date for euro adoption.

Poland's Deficit

Poland's deficit was 3.9 percent of GDP in 2006, and will be 3.4 percent in 2007 and 3.1 percent in 2008 if revenue from pension funds are excluded, according to the draft.

The Polish government has predicted the budget deficit will be lower after economic growth soared to the fastest rate in 9 years in 2006. The economy will expand as fast as 5.7 percent this year and will grow in the coming years at about 5 percent a year, the central bank said yesterday.

Economists including former central bank Governor Leszek Balcerowicz have said Poland should use its expanding economy to cut budget spending, while the government has pledged to increase expenditure on groups such as farmers, teachers and families this year.

The commission will warn Hungary that while its deficit- reduction plan ``appears to be broadly plausible'' through 2008, there is a risk of economic growth being slower than forecast in later years, according to the draft ruling on that country. Such a slowdown may make it more difficult for the government to meet its target of cutting the shortfall to 3.2 percent of GDP by 2009.

`Worse Than Targeted'

``The budgetary outcomes could be worse than targeted in the program, especially from 2008,'' according to the draft. ``Lower-than-projected GDP growth in the outer years could lead to a higher deficit.''

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's government raised taxes and cut subsidies to reduce the EU's widest budget deficit from about 10 percent of GDP last year. Hungary's plan to reach 3.2 percent by 2009 counts on the economy growing 4.1 percent that year, after 2.2 percent this year and 2.6 percent in 2008.

The EU also will warn that the risk of spending overruns remains after Hungary missed its deficit targets every year since 2001, while the government has to do more to overhaul its economy to prevent deficits growing again after 2008.

The government needs to ``rigorously implement the 2007 budget and take adequate action to ensure the correction of the excessive deficit by 2009, if necessary through additional measures,'' according to the draft. Hungary must ``improve budgetary control by enhancing fiscal rules.''

In addition to the reports on Poland and Hungary, the commission on Feb. 7 also will issue rulings on Finland, Luxembourg, Malta and Ireland.

Source:By Meera Louis and Katya Andrusz, bloomberg.com

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Poland: fresh produce situation (apples from conventional storage almost sold out)

According to Polish growers, current season is very bad for fruits and vegetable storing. At the beginning of February, apples from conventional storage facilities in Poland were almost sold out, and growers have started offering apples from cold storage facilities. Even some owners of CA storage already decided to open their facilities, though they used to start selling apples much later during past seasons.

The main reasons are exceptionally good apple prices, specially for varieties as ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Jonagold’, ‘Ligol’ or ‘Rubin’. In spite of the Russian ban on Polish fresh produce, most of the foreign buyers are Russian. They deliver Polish products through Lithuania and Ukraine, which is completely legal. Apple trade in Polish wholesale markets is also pretty good, despite snowy conditions during the last days.

At the same time, there are almost no deliveries of processing apples, because processing plants have bought enough products already and growers prefer to sell lower quality apples as table fruits, because of the good market demand. In the middle of this week, processing plants in Poland paid: 0,08-0,11 €/kg for carrots, 0,34-0,38 €/kg for peeled onions, 0,21-0,22 €/kg for unpeeled onions, 0,06 €/kg for beet roots and 0,10-13 €/kg for processing apples.

Some prices from wholesale markets: white cabbage 0,05-0,12 €/kg, onion 0,21-0,51 €/kg, root parsley 0,36-0,51 €/kg, leek 0,38-0,74 €/kg, celeriac 0,25-0,46 €/kg. Fruit prices from Warsaw wholesale market on Februari 1: ‘Golden Delicious’ apples 0,43 €/kg, ‘Jonagold’ and ‘Gala’ apples 0,34 €/kg, ‘Ligol’ apples 0,43 €/kg, ‘Conference’ pears 1,03 €/kg. ‘Lucas’ pears 0,77 €/kg.

^^^ 0,43 €/kg was the average price of Polish ‘Golden Delicious’ apples in Warsaw wholesale market on 1 February 2007


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Poland struggles to keep indebted hospitals afloat

WARSAW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Poland announced a plan on Friday to save its health sector from bankruptcy after a dramatic appeal by parents of sick children at a hospital that may be forced to close its doors. Up to 30 Polish hospitals are in danger of closure, Polish media say, after a court ruled this week that lenders could sue hospitals to collect 100 percent of their debts. The healthcare sector in ex-communist Poland is saddled with 6 billion zlotys ($2 billion) in debt. The ruling conservatives promised in 2006 to overhaul the sector to make it solvent. But little has been changed so far. "The government will present a programme to convert the debt of hospitals of strategic importance from short-term to long-term," Health Minister Zbigniew Religa said. Religa told a news conference he would present details of the government's debt restructuring plan next week and it would be "implemented at lightning speed". A major hospital in Wroclaw, Poland's fourth largest city, lost its main source of cash this week after its creditors began seizing money earmarked for the hospital by a state health fund. Parents of children treated by the hospital for cancer appeared on TV for the second day in a row on Friday. One of them accused the state and creditors of dooming their children to a slow death, Dziennik daily reported. "Creditors have passed a death sentence on our children," said Wioletta Wojcik, whose seven-year-old daughter has leukaemia. "I beg the government to do something." The hospital's director later said he had enough reserve funds for eight more weeks and that no sick children would be turned away, PAP news agency reported. Poland's opposition parties have called Religa's debt plan a quick fix and urged the government to introduce a free market into the sector, which is state-run, in order to make it viable. Poland spent 8.7 billion euros ($11.33 billion) on healthcare in 2004, or 4.3 percent of GDP, the sixth lowest level in the European Union, according to EU data. Poland spends about an eighth as much on health care as Spain, which has roughly the same population.
Source: By Marynia Kruk, alertnet.org

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ROUNDUP: Germany, Poland Meet In Worlds Final After Dramatic Wins

Hosts Germany rode a wave of national euphoria to beat European champions France 32-31 in a double overtime thriller on Thursday for a place in the world handball championships final.

Carried by the 19,000-strong partizan crowd in Cologne, captain Markus Baur got the winner with a penalty shot in the final minute and superb goalkeeper Henning Fritz saved a last-gasp French effort.

In Sunday's final they will be in a revenge mission against surprise team Poland, who beat Germany in the preliminary round (27-25) and in the other semi-final Thursday also required double extra time to outlast Denmark, 36-33, in Hamburg.

Germany are bidding for their third world title, following trophies at the inaugural edition 1938 and in 1978. Poland have never gone that far at the worlds, their best result being third place at the 1982 edition also played in Germany.

"I really cherish this win because I couldn't imagine this to happen two weeks ago. You can't say that we were better than the French. Maybe we had the advantage that we had this fantastic crowd behind us," said Germany coach Heiner Brand.

Polish coach Bogdan Wenta (also a club trainer at German first division side Magdeburg) said: "This is unbelievable. It was our aim to finish in the top seven. Now we are in the final."

In Cologne, France overcame an early 5-3 deficit and never looked back until the final 10 minutes of regulation, when Holger Glandorf brought the crowd back on their feet by giving Germany the lead again at 18-17 en route to extra time at 21-21.

The score was still locked at 27-27 after the first 10 minutes of extra time before Baur's penalty shot for 32-31 settled the affair even though teammate Andrej Klimovets was serving a two-minute penalty.

France thought they had levelled from Michael Giugiu seconds later, but the referees had blown the whistle before for a free throw and the Germans held on for a dramatic win.

French player Joel Abati partly blamed the referees, like other German opponents had done before in the tournament, for their second loss against the Germans following a 29-26 score in the main round. But he also said: "Compliments to the German team which played well."

Baur and Glandorf led German scoring with five goals each, Daniel Narcisse had eight for France.

In Hamburg, Poland looked fresher than the Danes for a long period, but threw away an 18-15 lead as Denmark forced extra time at 26-26 in front of a capacity crowd of 12,500.

The score remained locked, at 30-30, after the first round of extra-time before the Poles decided the match in the final five minutes, breaking a 31-31 tie for a 34-31 lead from two strikes by youngster Michal Jurecki and one by Grzegorz Tkaczyk.

Karol Bielecki led Polish scoring with eight goals while Lasse Boesen had seven for the Danes.

Wenta said that the earlier win against Germany meant nothing on Sunday and that his team had nothing to lose.

"The first result means nothing. The German team has improved and we will be playing against a very motivated team. We have no more pressure now that we are in the final, but we will be looking for our chance," Wenta said.

Earlier Thursday, Olympic champions Croatia beat dethroned title holders Spain 35-27 to reach the match for fifth place. There they meet Russia, 28-25 winners over Iceland, who play Spain for seventh place.


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OECD Issues Report On Poland's Progress To Eliminate Corporate Bribes To Foreign Officials

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Thursday released a recommendation calling for Poland to take action to curb bribery by Polish companies of foreign public officials. The OECD Working Group on Bribery issued the report.

This was a phase two report on what Poland was doing to implement recommendations to combat bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.

Bribery of foreign public officials in international business deals is of huge concern globally.

Businesses with headquarters in countries with tough anti-bribery laws complain they are at a disadvantage when competing for markets against companies that do bribe foreign public officials. The resulting loss of business in another country can cost jobs for the company that is not bribing foreign officials to gain market entry into that country.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery was formed to attempt to level the international business playing field for all companies by eliminating bribery to do business.

The report noted that although "the issue of domestic corruption is at the center of public attention in Poland, awareness of the offense of bribery of foreign public officials is generally low among both the public and private sector."

Among the Working Group's recommendations to Poland was to "strengthen its corporate liability laws and close a significant loophole that makes it difficult to prosecute companies that bribe foreign public officials."

Specifically mentioned was re-wording Poland's corporate tax deduction to make it impossible to deduct the cost of bribes of foreign officials.

"With respect to the non-tax deductibility of bribes, the Working Group recommends that Poland amend its legislation to clearly confirm that bribes are not tax deductible," the report stated.

Current Polish law allows company officials to avoid prosecution for bribery if they tell authorities that they have bribed a foreign public official. The OECD Working Group asked Poland to change that law. It also is asking Poland to be more aggressive about investigating and prosecuting bribery cases.

The report noted that so far the Polish government has neither prosecuted nor investigated any foreign bribery cases.

However, it did give credit to Poland for taking several key actions. Specifically it credited Poland with declaring that it intended to address deficiencies in its laws on corporate liability. Among other important actions Poland has already taken was putting "responsive systems" in place to "provide information, evidence and other forms of mutual legal assistance to law enforcement agencies in other countries," the report said.

The Working Group's other key suggestion was to "raise awareness of foreign bribery in both the public and private sector," the report stated.

Poland will submit a written report on its progress in combating bribery to the Working Group in two years.

Source:By Linda Young, allheadlinenews.com,

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