Poland to Buy Kazak Oil

The president of Poland is expected to sign a contract allowing the Polish oil company Polski Koncern Naftowy Orlen to buy oil from Kazak fields in the Caspian when he visits Astana at the end of March. PKN Orlen is looking for alternative supplies to fuel its newly acquired Lithuanian oil refinery Mazeiku Nafta, which is not yet turning over the kind of profits it expected following a fire last year and a drop in Russian oil supplies.

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Learn About the Environmental Industry in Poland

DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c51353) has announced the addition of Country Industry Forecast - The Poland Environmental Industry to their offering.

The environmental industries of North America, western Europe and Japan, while continuing to account for the bulk of the global market, have already peaked and growth in these regions is now stagnant. As a result, the future of the global environment industry depends on the developing countries of eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. Moreover, environmental regulations, a vital growth factor in the industry, have become stringent in the European Union (EU). The industry growth is also heavily influenced by the integration of business decisions with environmental issues, decreasing global trade barriers as well as increasing globalisation, resulting in greater awareness of environmental issues and problems. Eastern European countries have already begun investing heavily in environmental technologies and cleaner production facilities in line with the greater integration of the EU economies with the global economy.

Despite having become a free market economy, Poland has had to work hard to nullify the environmental after-effects of the intense industrialisation of earlier communist eras. To become an economically powerful east European country with maximum participation in major environment protocols, Poland adopted a policy of economic growth with sustainable development. These moves saw Poland become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 and a member of the EU in 2004. Since its accession to the EU, there has been a sweeping trend of higher exports and greater integration with western European countries. A wave of privatisation has flooded the market with small- and medium-sized enterprises. Both exports and imports have risen tremendously and this excellent growth rate of the economy is likely to be sustained for several years.

By following a policy of economic liberalization since the 1990s, Poland has become one of the largest economies in the central and eastern European (CEE) region with a GDP (at market prices) of $291.7 billion in 2005. This study analyses the Polish environmental industry in the context of the prevalent political climate, related policy changes and shifting economic trends. It also includes in-depth assessments of specific industry segments as well as evaluations of growth patterns and prospects. The study also offers forecasts from 2006-2009 for major economic and environmental indicators.

For more information, visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c51353


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New Poland Energy Market Report Offers A Precise And Reliable Overview Of The Energy Sector In The Country

DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c51249) has announced the addition of Poland Energy Report to their offering.

This report provides updated facts and figures on the evolution of the national energy market. For the oil, gas, coal and power markets, the report details the market organisation, institutions regulating the market, and energy policy of the country. Energy companies active on the market are analysed. Domestic production, capacities, exchanges, consumption by sector and market shares are provided. Energy prices levels and taxes are described. Finally, the driving issues, and the market prospects are proposed.

Our Poland energy market report offers a precise and reliable overview of the energy sector in the country. With a focus on oil, gas, coal and power markets, the report provides a complete picture of the country situation, dynamics, current issues and future prospects. With timely updated market data and continuous follow-up of markets news, this report brings clear and concise insights, to help tackle national energy challenges and opportunities. We have published energy market reports for 20 years. With highly experienced energy experts, analysts and an active professional network, we are reckoned to be a trustworthy energy source for data, forecasts & analysis, globally.


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Finland demands that Poland revise claims concerning Finnish armoured vehicles

Finland has expressed concern about the reputation of Finland and the Finnish defence equipment manufacturer Patria Industries in Poland.
The Finnish Ambassador to Poland, Jan Store, expressed the government's concern to Defence Minister Aleksander Szczygło in Warsaw last Friday after the publication of a Polish report which criticises the armoured vehicles manufactured by Patria.
"The Ambassador brought out that the report contains misunderstandings, errors, and groundless claims that put both Patria and Finland into a negative light. The public report can be read all over the world and can make the activities of the company more difficult", said embassy official Arja Makkonen in Warsaw on Tuesday.
The Patria Group is 70 per cent state-owned.
One chapter in the nearly 400-page report is dedicated to the assessment of Patria vehicles. The official report was made public recently by Polish President Lech Kaczyński. According to Polish media reports on Tuesday, friction caused by the report has led to diplomatic tension between Finland and Poland.

The report was written by the head of Polish military counter-espionage, Antoni Macierewicz , and his aides. It describes the activities of the old military intelligence service WSI, which was disbanded in the autumn. Poland felt that the WSI represented Moscow's interests in Poland.
Eight pages in the report are dedicated to the vehicle that the Poles called Rosomak, or "Wolverine". Nearly four years ago Poland ordered 690 of the Finnish-made AMVs (armoured modular vehicles) for its armed forces, most of which were to be assembled at Polish factories. The deal, worth more than EUR 1 billion, was the largest single sale for the Finnish defence equipment industry in recent history.
The Polish armed forces already have about 130 of the vehicles in use. Some of them are to be sent to Afghanistan along with Polish NATO forces.

The Polish report calls into question the way that the deal between Finland and Poland emerged. It said that Patria did not adhere to its agreement to change the dimensions of the vehicles.
Contrary to claims in the report, Finland insists that none of the AMVs have sunk in any tests, and that nobody has suffered burns at a Polish factory during their assembly. Patria CEO Jorma Wiitakorpi launched an information campaign in Warsaw on Tuesday in the name of Patria and its Polish partners, aimed at "correcting the mistakes in the report".
"We are surprised that Antoni Macierewicz did not contact us when such an official report evaluating us was being written", Wiitakorpi noted.

At the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Undersecretary of State Markus Lyra denied that there were any diplomatic tensions between Finland and Poland.
On Thursday last week he discussed the Macierewicz report and Patria with Andrzej Szynka, the Polish Ambassador in Helsinki.
Lyra said that the report was not the main topic of their discussion. Szynka had come to the ministry to meet with another official.
"I expressed Finland's view that we feel that it is unfair and unfortunate that Patria's name should come forward in the report in such a negative connection", Lyra said.
Lyra did not say what Szynka's answer was, but he said that the discussion had been "constructive".

Lyra denied that ties between Finland and Poland would have been affected by Poland's use of its veto in the European Union against a partnership agreement between the EU and Russia. The veto came after Russia banned imports of Polish meat, after which Poland vetoed the PCA talks.

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Poland: NBP stays on hold - to nobody’s surprise

The Polish central bank’s Monetary Policy Council (RPP) yesterday decided in favour of unchanged interest rates, keeping its key policy rate at 4.00%.

Since the decision was completely in line with the market’s - and our own - expectations, it should not have any significant market impact. Furthermore, the Polish markets are likely to be driven more by global than by local factors in the current situation, with risk aversion and volatility on the increase.

The RPP’s press conference at 1600 CET today will give us further information on the outlook for Polish monetary policy.

We expect the RPP to turn a bit more hawkish in the coming period, and it will probably hike interest rates in April-May, as recent data have shown that inflationary pressures are on the rise and that inflation expectations are also mounting. Note also, though, that, since inflation in Poland is still remarkably low, the RPP is unlikely to turn very hawkish anytime soon.

Danske Bank
Holmens Kanal 2-12, DK-1092 Copenhagen

Source: By Lars Christensen, fxstreet.com

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Money sent from UK boosts Poland's embattled leaders

Despite a spate of scandals and ministerial departures, Poland's nationalist government has been saved by an economic boom helped by cash sent home by Poles working abroad.

Since the UK and Ireland opened their labour markets to Polish workers, the financial inflows to the country have grown to €6.4bn (£4.3bn) per annum.

Growing prosperity has rescued the accident-prone government, dominated by the twin brothers who hold the positions of President and Prime Minister.

Since entering office in 2005, the president Lech Kaczynski and his brother Jaroslaw have got through five finance ministers, two foreign ministers, two treasury ministers, one prime minister, a defence minister and an interior minister.

The deputy Prime Minister and populist maverick, Andrzej Lepper, quit after a row with the twins before being reinstated. The government also survived the exposure of taped conversations showing how a senior official offered an MP inducements to switch political affiliation.

The latest high-profile resignation was that of Radek Sikorski, the outspoken defence minister, who quit earlier this month after rumours of a clash over the behaviour of Antoni Macierewicz, chief of Poland's military secret service and a friend of the twins.

But the new ructions seem to have strengthened the twins' grip on power, which has been buoyed by economic growth.

Remittances from abroad are now worth almost 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product of €250bn.

Since the UK opened its labour market to Poles almost three years ago at least a quarter of a million Poles have settled in Britain.

Marcin Korolec, under-secretary at Poland's ministry of economics, said: "The statistics show that the transfer from Polish people working abroad is something like €6bn a year.

"Obviously this is a huge amount of capital, a huge amount of flow. It has an impact on internal consumption and internal growth."

Spurred by this financial stimulus and by the benefits of EU membership, the Polish economy has grown by an impressive rate of 5.8 per cent. This was helped by a boom in construction, which saw a 12 per cent increase in 2006.

According to an official economic report published this month, the growth for last year "was driven mainly by a rise in total consumption" with medium and larger firms reporting increases in retail sales of 11.9 per cent - as opposed to 1.5 per cent in 2005.

Key elements identified as prompting this include an improvement in the labour market, an increase in wages, the inflow of EU agricultural subsidies and "transfers of remittance".

It is unclear what proportion of the cash flowing into Poland originates in the UK. It is likely to be substantial, however, because official statistics last year showed that of 427,000 migrant workers from new EU countries that registered for work in Britain, 62 per cent were from Poland.

Unofficial estimates have suggested that many more, perhaps as many as a million, are actually working in the UK.

During elections in 2005, Jaroslaw Kaczynski promised not to put himself forward for the premiership if his brother became president. That pledge was broken when the government's first prime minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, resigned.

But the government has continued unabashed and claimed the credit for rising prosperity. Eugeniusz Smolar, president of Poland's Centre for International Relations, said that economic growth had been crucial for the Kaczynski twins. Despite early fears that the government would penalise foreign investors it is "not doing anything that would prevent Poland's economic growth", he said.

Source: By Stephen Castle,

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Poland, other new EU members, debate balance between development and preserving environment

ROSPUDA RIVER VALLEY, Poland: A sharp wind rustles the brittle wetland grasses, and the snow crunches underfoot — the only sounds in the Rospuda River valley, home to one of Europe's last and best preserved peat bogs.

The bog and surrounding pine forest — a home to eagles, wolves, lynx and wild orchids which survived a Communist regime notorious for its disregard for the environment — have become the center of a strident dispute between Poland and the EU over plans to build a highway there.

The road would relieve the heavy truck traffic clogging the nearby town of Augustow and provide a big economic boost to a rapidly developing region. But the EU says cutting across the habitat of rare plants and animals would wreak havoc with ecosystems and destroy the area's pristine beauty.

Similar debates are raging across the newer European Union member states, which are being forced to balance preservation of endangered environments against their desire to catch up economically with their richer western neighbors.

In Poland, which joined in 2004, national authorities are pushing for the construction of a €115 million (US$150 million) highway that is to slice across the wetlands — but the zone is protected by the European Union's habitat law NATURA 2000.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas has rejected the highway plan, and in a rare move underscoring the seriousness of the dispute said this week he would seek a court injunction to suspend construction.

Tucked away in a thick pine forest near the Lithuanian border, some 300 kilometers (190 miles) northeast of Warsaw, the Rospuda River valley survived the unrestrained industrial development of the 19th century and 45 years of communism untainted, professor Ludwik Tomialojc, head of the Committee on Nature Conservation at the Polish Academy of Science, told The Associated Press.

"It is a place that so far has been undisturbed by the economy," Tomialojc said. "It wasn't drained during communism when most everything was drained to mud. It lies in a forest and didn't attract anyone's special attention."

The bog was once a river-fed lake that over several thousand years turned into a peat bog. This winter, in temperatures of minus 15 Celsius (5 Fahrenheit), the frozen wetlands can be walked on, with their stumpy, twisted pines, slender birches and clumps of earth and brown grass poking out from beneath the snow.

In summer, the valley bursts into a lush green forest flecked with the white bark of birch trees. Kayakers paddle the river as the bog becomes impassable for humans.

The EU's two newest members — Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the bloc on Jan. 1 — are also struggling for ways to reconcile the needs of the environment and economic development.

In Bulgaria, landowners are pushing for looser limits on land protection in order to cash in on the country's booming real estate market, while environmentalists want more land protected under the NATURA 2000 program. In Romania, environmentalists and authorities in the Black Sea coast town of Constanta are wrestling over efforts to build a tourist resort — with discos and water skiing — on a lake island called Siutghiol, home to 45 species of birds.

Despite warnings from Brussels, Polish authorities on Feb. 9 approved plans to construct a 17-kilometer (10-mile) section of the Via Baltica highway, linking Poland to Finland, that for 500 meters (yards) would cut through the peat bog valley and bypass Augustow. Environmentalists argue that heavy construction equipment and support pillars will destroy rare species and want the road to circumvent the valley.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has warned that bowing to environmentalists would set a precedent that could threaten the entire plan to build some 7,000 kilometers (4,000 miles) of badly needed highways in Poland by the year 2020.

Kaczynski defended the highway by saying that if the valley was to remain intact, the road would have to go through other rare habitats, provoking different protests.

Augustow residents want the road, arguing that too many people having been run over by trucks driving through the town.

"We need this highway like we need air to breath. How many people have died!" said Irena Koprowicz, a 57-year-old flower vendor.

"Day and night, nonstop the trucks rumble through here. Nothing will happen to the frogs and flowers. This highway is absolutely necessary."

Some 100 environmental activists have set up treetop tents to prevent heavy machinery from entering the area. Already, dots of orange paint mark hundreds of trees that are to be cut down.

"We've never said that nature is more important that people," said Greenpeace spokesman Jacek Wisniarski, sitting at a small campfire at the protesters' forest camp. "We've always said this road should be built, just not here, not through the valley."


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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland in National Assembly

On February 26 Mr. Tigran Torosyan, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, received the delegation headed by Mrs. Anna Fotyga, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland. At the meeting the two ambassadors of both countries, Mr. Tomasz Knothe, Ambassador of Poland to Armenia and Ashot Galoyan, Ambassador of Armenia to Poland, were present.

Welcoming Mrs. Fotyga in the National Assembly, Mr. Torosyan expressed his satisfaction in the development of Polish-Armenian friendly relations and noted that Armenia and Poland have common features: both countries are member of the Council of Europe, relations are well developing with the European Union, to which Poland is a member. Mr. Torosyan considered Mrs. Fotyga’s visit symbolic, as February 26 is the day of the establishment of 15 years of diplomatic relations between two countries. The President of the Parliament noted that he is aware of Ms. Fotyga’s speeches, and it’s good that the friends are interested in the issues of the region and Armenia.

Mrs. Anna Fotyga, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland highly evaluating the bilateral relations and the current relations in international organizations, noted that a memorandum on Cooperation in the issues concerning European integration in 2007-2008 between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Poland has been signed with Mr. Vardan Oskanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, as a result of which the Polish-Armenian relations will deepen. Ms. Fotyga expressed readiness for the exchange of experience, noting that the experience includes also mistakes, and their study will help not to repeat them. She highlighted the European Union Action Plan, noting that there are sufficient legal-contractual grounds to deepen cooperation. As to the Minister, as an Eastern European country Poland’s aim is to achieve balance in the framework of the European Union Neighbourhood programme. She expressed readiness to promote the establishment of Turkish-Armenian relations, if the both sides express such a wish.

Upon her request Mr. Tigran Torosyan, President of the National Assembly informed about his observations on the regional issues and the Nagorno Karabakh issue. Mr. Tigran Torosyan emphasized the signing of the memorandum and the use of Poland’s educative experience. It was noted that by adopting constitutional amendments by a referendum, Armenia has a Constitution in compliance with European standards and has launched the third phase of the Euro-integration processes. Touching upon the Turkish-Armenian relations Mr. Torosyan highly evaluating Poland’s aspiration to support the regulation of relations and expressing his hope for the mission success, noted that Armenia, being unconditionally for the settlement of the regional issues and for cooperation, has repeatedly announced that it is ready for the establishment of diplomatic relations without any preconditions. Meanwhile the Turkish side finds it as a sign of weakness and offers preconditions. One of the principles is connected with the Nagorno Karabakh issue, and it’s not only inadmissible but also shows that Turkey, member of the Council of Europe, that strives for decades to join the European Union, not only does not want to have diplomatic relations with its neighbour, but also keeps its borders closed, which does not comply with any European principle and value.

In connection with Nagorno Karabkh issue Mr. Tigran Torosyan, President of the National Assembly, referred to the position allegedly ascribed to Mrs. Fotyga by the Azerbaijani Trend agency that she is allegedly for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and giving a broad autonomy to national minorities. Mr. Torosyan reminded that there is a second principle, that was adopted in the Helsinki Final Act: the right to self-determination, and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs comparing those principles, found the key for the settlement of the issue. In the negotiations for the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh issue Mr. Torosyan emphasized that approach, noting that in reality the country wishing to settle an issue should prepare its society for the settlement, but not to be engaged in deepening hatred and animosity, as does Azerbaijan, periodically threatening to restart the war.

Mrs. Fotyga clarified that her words were misinterpreted which is not the first case in her political career, and that she fully believes in the OSCE Minsk Group activity and hopes that the solution will be found. And in connection with Armenian-Turkish relations she noted that Poland has historically good relations with both countries, and is ready to contribute to the establishment of those relations. She hopes that as a result of Turkey-European Union negotiations democratic reforms will take place in Turkey.

During the meeting other issues were discussed too.

Source: parliament.am

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EU urges Poland to cut deficit

he European Union financial ministers on Tuesday renewed the call for Poland to bring down its budget deficit under the EU requirement.

"Poland should put an end to its excessive deficit situation," the financial ministers said in a recommendation, which sets the target for Poland to cut the deficit by at least 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) between 2006 and 2007.

The new recommendation also gave Poland six months to take effective action.

In its previous recommendation adopted in July 2004, the financial ministers urged Poland to bring down its deficit to 3.3 percent in 2006 and 1.5 percent in 2007 with spending on pension reform exempt from calculation.

Despite an improvement in Poland's fiscal position, the financial ministers' meeting last November found that action taken was proving to be inadequate.

According to their estimate then, the Poland's deficit for 2007 is expected to again exceed the maximum threshold of three percent of GDP once the budgetary costs of pension reform is taken into account.

The European Commission had warned the Polish deficit could hit 4.1 percent of GDP this year and 4.6 percent in 2006.

Poland has set the target for itself to lower the deficit to 3. 4 percent of GDP this year, bringing it down to 3.1 percent in 2008 and 2.9 percent in 2009.


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New airport in Poland

“Poland needs a new airport, located between Warsaw and Łódź, but accessible from all sides” The website airport-on-rails.org, proposes to build a new airport at an important railroad crossing.Income-Driven Demand for Air Travel. Analysis of GDP across Poland shows it is high for Mazovia and Upper Silesia plus Cracow province, whereas Łódź is not so affluent. Consequently, priority in easy access to new airport must go to Warsaw and nearby Łódź, but also to Katowice (Silesia) and Cracow regions, in the South.

Air/Rail Modal Split. Competition or Symbiosis? Success of high-speed (HS) railways generates ever more traffic and makes the train competitive against the airplane over distances of up to 500, or even 1000 km. As HS train stations are built under airports, competition can change into a symbiosis of Rail and Air, though terrorists will continue to threaten airliners above all.

EU Injections and Priorities. 2004–2006 allocation to Poland: €12.8bn. Only €1.5bn for transport, of which 25% for Road and 55% for Rail as the least energy-consuming and environment-polluting mode. Economists and EU statistics predict that by 2030 Poland will attain present GDP of West.

Could Backwardness Offer an Advantage? Poland is keen to catch up with the West, but should not so with its follies. Rather: turn retardation into an advantage by developing high-speed railways and building a brand-new airport fed by HS trains. A (potentially) high-speed railway from south crossing planned trans-European railway 36 km west of Warsaw plus east-west motorway under construction nearby, determine the location of the new airport.

An Interim Solution. Two existing railways, extending from Warsaw westwards at sharp angle, can branch off to an underground airport station, also providing transit to other destinations. Our diagrams show the proposed transport routes and airport approaches.

The International Dimension: East Europe’s Hub. HS railways from four sides and nearby A2 motorway, with contemplated great ring road around Warsaw, will make the airport accessible to passengers from major cities and conurbations of Poland and beyond, within a radius of 600 km (2-hour train ride, thanks to the flatness of Poland).

Funding. The airport is to be built by a consortium, to which the government might contribute the land. The existing railway infrastructure could remain state-owned, whereas the high-speed trains will be private. The new high-speed lines will be wholly owned by private companies.


Poland must set up a new central airport in the next 10 years. The present Warsaw airport, Okęcie, where a second terminal will be completed in 2006, is expected to reach its limit of 12m passengers per year in 2012.

Since Poland’s capital Warsaw lies on the eastern fringe of Central Poland, the new airport must be situated to the west of it, to avoid a convergence of the resulting traffic upon the capital itself. The latter circumstance weighs a lot more in Poland than in other European countries because, in terms of population, the Warsaw conurbation compares to Poland as 1:18, in contrast to what may be seen as the European ‘norm’ of 1:10.

In addition, only 120 km south-west of the capital, there is Poland’s second biggest city, Łódź. For this reason alone, the airport should be located between the two cities. The proposed site is exactly one third of the distance from Warsaw and two thirds from Łódź.

However, the airport should be easily accessible also from other parts of the country, where local airports do not generate enough traffic to justify separate long-haul flights.


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3M Poland to Acquire Interchemall Operations

3M Poland announced it has entered into a conditional agreement with Interchemall Sp. z o.o. to acquire its production operations related to household cleaning products. 3M purchased the sales and marketing operations, including the brands and intellectual property, from Interchemall Dom last year. The transaction is expected to close in April, subject to closing conditions, according to a 3M press release distributed through Business Wire.

The acquisition “builds on 3M’s activities in Poland to broaden its product portfolio for home care cleaning solutions in Eastern Europe,” Jose Del Solar, managing director, 3M Poland, said in the release.

The household cleaning products manufactured at the plant include bath sponges, kitchen scrubbers and sponges, and wipes and cloths.

Approximately 60 people at its production operations based in Grodzisk Mazowiecki near Warszawa, Poland, are affected by this transaction.

About 3M

St. Paul, MN-based 3M is a leader in the cleaning, office supply, and other professional- and consumer-product industries. For more information, visit www.3m.com.


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Poland intends to develop active cooperation with Armenia, Poland's Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga told a press conference in Yerevan.
According to her, Poland has wide and successful experience of cooperation with Armenia.
15 years ago on February 26 Poland recognized Armenia's independence, she said. "We welcome the adoption of the Armenia-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), Armenia' Euro integration process, Armenia's participation in the "New Neighborhood" European policy and we are ready to share our 12-year experience of Euro integration," Poland's Foreign Minister said.
Fotyga pointed out that Poland intends to develop economic, trade, cultural partnership with Armenia, as well as cooperation in the energy sector.
"Poland is interested in the sovereign and independent Caucasus," she said.
Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Fotyga arrived in Armenia on February 25 for a two-day visit. During her visit, she is to meet Armenia's President Robert Kocharian, the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin the Second, Armenia's Prime-Minister Andranik Margarian and Armenia's Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosian. The Polish delegation headed by Fotyga will visit the Matenadaran Armenian Depository of Ancient Manuscripts and will pay floral tribute to the Memorial of Armenian Genocide in Tsitsernakaberd.

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EU to seek court injunction against Poland in highway dispute

BRUSSELS, Belgium: The European Union's top environment official said Monday he would seek a court injunction to suspend construction of a highway in Poland, which is to run across a peat bog protected under EU habitat laws.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that the EU's executive office would have no other option but to sue Poland at the EU's highest court if it goes ahead with the project.

A court injunction is a rare measure in environmental issues, underlining the seriousness of the latest disagreement between Poland and the EU executive.

"We intend to send to Poland a second warning in the coming days and to bring the case to court to ask for suspension of the works before irreversible damage has been done," Dimas told reporters after meeting Poland's Environment Minister Jan Szyszko.

He said Szyszko indicated that Warsaw would go ahead with the project, which the Commission says ignores EU rules.

"It appears they will go ahead," Dimas said. "It is clear that fundamental requirements under EU legislation have not been respected."

Szyszko said Poland would stand its ground, adding that Warsaw was not afraid of being sued at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

"I am convinced that Poland has acted in accordance with laws and its interests," he said.

Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said Friday he was in favor of allowing local residents to decide in a referendum whether the controversial road project across the Rospuda River valley in northeastern Poland should go ahead.

Polish authorities have approved plans to construct the 17 kilometer (10 mile) section of the Via Baltica highway, linking Poland to Finland. For 500 meters (yards), the road would cut through a protected peat bog in an effort to bypass a nearby town.

The decision, approved Feb. 9, has provoked protests from environmentalists, who have camped in treetops in the valley.

Kaczynski said that bowing to environmentalists would threaten the entire plan to build some 7,000 kilometers (4,000 miles) of badly needed highways in Poland by the year 2020.

The Commission could impose a multimillion euro (dollar) fine on Poland if it gets the injunction and Warsaw still goes ahead with the project.


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Rospuda valley, Poland – Dozens of environmentalists have established a protest camp in the path of a section of the soon to be built Baltica Highway

Rospuda valley, Poland – Dozens of environmentalists have established a protest camp in the path of a section of the soon to be built Baltica Highway, linking Poland with Finland, which would destroy a protected nature reserve. Pollution and development that comes with the road along with the heavy construction equipment needed to construct it will drive dozens of rare plants and animals, found only in the bog, to extinction.

The decision to construct the highway violates a European program that protects rare ecological environments. The EU has demanded an explanation and threatened sanctions if the project goes ahead. After massive protests in numerous cities in the region even Poland's First Lady Maria Kaczyński has spoken out against the development.

Protesters have built a series of tree platforms in the threatened valley, 200 km north-east of Warsaw, in order better resist any attempts on the part of the police to forcibly remove them. The international conservationist organization Greenpeace has sent climbers to assist demonstrators.


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Housing poverty in Poland- a hidden problem…

Poland is going to celebrate it’s third year in the EU soon. The economy is much better, salaries are growing and real estate is getting more expensive. But after the publishing of annual the EU “Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2007” (http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/social_inclusion/jrep_en.htm) Poland doesn’t have too much to brag about…The unemployment rate is 17,7 %, the poverty rate is 21% -the worst in Europe.
Poland doesn’t have too much to brag about…The unemployment rate is 17,7 %, the poverty rate is 21% -the worst in Europe.
However, the one thing that the EU report doesn’t talk about is the gigantic housing problem in Poland. Over 6,5 mln Poles live in insufficient housing conditions (out of a nation of 38 mln, that’s a big number). One third of houses need immediate renovation. One of the major problems is overcrowding. In Poland we have one of the lowest numbers of dwellings per 1000 inhabitants ( 330 dwellings ) whereas countries like Luxemburg have over 500. This problem is due to several reasons.

Firstly, the real estate prices have gone up astronomically. Within the last 12 months the prices have gone up even over a 100% in Poland’s biggest cities ! In 2005 1 m² in Warsaw cost around 3 500 zl (around 1 150 US $), by the end of 2006 the same 1 m² costs 7 500 zl ( around 2 500 US $). Salaries have not experienced such a rise. This growth is due to several factors : the EU accession where the prices of land and homes are rising to the EU average, the availability of cheap credits and foreign investments in the building sector. The real estate boom made the rich developers even richer, but for the average Pole their own home became even more inaccessible.

Secondly, there is still a very big amount of people who don’t have access to cheap credits. Getting a credit in Poland isn’t an easy task. Even if we take a family of 6, with 4 children and both parents working full-time, they will not be eligible for credit because of the number of children. Banks often choose not to make risky deals if there is a slight suspicion that the family may have problems paying back the amount. However with such a price rise, getting a credit is often the only option.

Thirdly, lack of a good social housing policy. During the elections the present ruling party had a very catchy slogan – “We will build 3 million homes”. So far not a home has been built under this policy. The small amount of affordable and social homes only worsens the problem. One can be put on a 10 year waiting list with no real chances of getting a decent home, because the finally obtained home will need immediate renovation. The communes have no money neither for renovating or building homes. Families are often left with no choice but to live for years in overcrowded flats and wait for their turn to be allocated to a communal one.

Fourthly, the awareness of the housing problem in Poland is virtually non-existent. A few people know that the right to a safe and decent home is a human right. Families living in awful housing conditions are not part of the public debate. It’s a very hidden issue. The families are unaware that they have the right to a decent home and additionally they are often very ashamed of their situation. The wall of indifference concerning the housing poverty issue makes it only worse. Housing Ministers change constantly due to the fragile political situation so there is no chance of developing a substantial housing policy and changing the situation. The only NGO which families can turn to is Habitat for Humanity Poland which is part of the international organization Habitat for Humanity which deals with housing poverty. It offers help by building and renovating homes, additionally giving micro loans for renovation purposes (www.habitat.pl). But one NGO for 6,5 million people in need is not enough and one cannot have an NGO taking the role of the government.
Source:By Monika Figaj, turkishweekly.net

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Bush may visit Poland to calm fears over missile base

With unease growing in Poland over possible plans to site an American missile defence system there, US President George Bush said he may visit the country in June to assure Polish leaders and citizens the base is needed.

Poland’s Dziennik daily reported on February 21 that Poland is expected to respond within two weeks to a formal US request for negotiations on the installation of the bases on Polish soil.

Visiting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said in Warsaw both his country and Poland would likely respond positively to the US request. US plans reportedly call for the installation of missile shield radar bases in the Czech Republic and anti-ballistic missile silos in Poland.

Poland wanted the speedy conclusion of negotiations on the possible installation of the US anti- missile shield silos, but their outcome was still undetermined, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said on February 21.

“We’d like to end them quickly, because it is always good to end such matters quickly,” Kaczynski told reporters in Warsaw. He however also stressed it was equally impossible to predict their outcome at this time.

“We’ve been presented a proposal which is interesting from our point of view, but we obviously have our conditions - conditions which I hope will be accepted and which will be the subject of talks, but which from our point of view are very important,” Kaczynski said.

The Polish prime minister went on to say the security of EU and NATO member Poland could not suffer if the anti-missile shield silos were to be deployed on its territory.

Despite assurances by the US any possible anti-missile installations in Poland would serve exclusively to protect the US from attack by rogue states, Russia has slammed the US proposal as a threat to Russian national security.

Kaczynski insisted any eventual US missile shield bases in Poland would not be aimed against any “normal” state. “They would only safeguard against those states that don’t want to accept the rules of the modern world,” Kaczynski said.

Any suggestion that the shield will "change the order" in Europe is a misunderstanding, he stressed, addressing Russian and Western concerns that the proposed shield could prompt a new Cold War.

“We will try to convince the Russians about the obvious; this in no case is an installation directed against them - the technical parameters themselves prove this,” Kaczynski said.

Commenting on the issue of whether approval for the shield should be put to a public vote, Kaczynski said, “I see no need for a public referendum on this issue - this is not a matter for a referendum.”

Kaczynski said there was “no rush” to adopt any such EU-wide treaty and criticized an existing draft as “not the most fortunate,” but declined to specify an alternative proposal.

Czech Greens agreed at a party congress that its ministers would urge the government to secure “a binding guarantee from the US administration that its planned anti-missile shield be incorporated under the NATO command” in future.

According to Ondrej Liska, a Green MP and co-author of the adopted position, the unilateral US security doctrine goes “against our understanding of common security.”

“The only place where we could debate such defence is NATO,” Liska said, adding, “Only there it can become clear whether something like this is needed.” The congress agreed that their ministers would be urged to press the government to debate the issue at NATO and at the Council of the European Union.

Congress rejected proposals for six Green MPs and four ministers to push for a referendum on the US radar. According to Liska, it would have been populistic “to persist on a referendum that will never happen,” as the senior coalition Civic Democratic Party strongly opposes it.

The foreign minister for the Greens, Karel Schwarzenberg, who supports the US military installation, said he agrees with the position of congress. But he finds incorporating the US missile shield under NATO “hypothetical.”

“It was said in Riga that NATO should build its own anti-missile defence,” Schwarzenberg told Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa.) “But it will require some time. The European side is not that far. That is the problem.”


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Lithuania Considers Blocking Russia-EU Talks Along with Poland

Lithuania may join Poland in blocking talks on a new cooperation treaty between the EU and Russia unless the bloc acts to restore Russian oil supplies to the Baltic country, Lithuania Deputy Foreign Minister said on Friday, Feb. 23.

MosNews has reported last year that Russia’s oil pipeline monopoly Transneft shut down the Druzhba link to Mazeikiu Nafta —- the only refinery in the Baltic states —- following a reported leak last July, and has not restored it yet.

Analysts have said Moscow may be using the pipeline shutdown to reduce Mazeikiu’s value and thus encourage Poland’s PKN Orlen, which earlier beat Russian rivals to take over the plant, to abandon its acquisition.

“We would like the issue [of crude supply] to be discussed at the spring European Council” meeting of EU leaders, Lithuania’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zygimantas Pavilionis was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters.

The EU summit is scheduled for March 8 to 9.

“We think that the EU should influence the process. We have asked the [EU] presidency, but nothing has happened,” he added.

Pavilionis said unless the EU put pressure on Russia to reopen the Druzhba link, “There is an idea to block the mandate for talks with Russia.”

“We can become another Poland,” he said, referring to the Polish decision late last year to veto the launch of EU-Russia talks on a wide-ranging cooperation agreement.

Poland blocked the talks because Russia refused to lift its ban on Polish meat imports.

“The leak can be fixed in several weeks, but eight months have passed already and nothing has happened. It is a political act,” Pavilionis said.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said earlier last week it still expected Russia to provide a schedule for the pipeline repairs./money/2007/02/26/lithuaniablock.shtml

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3M Poland to Acquire Production Operations for Household Cleaning Products

3M Poland announced today ( February 23, 2007) that it has entered into a conditional agreement with Interchemall Sp. z o.o. to acquire its production operations related to household cleaning products. 3M purchased the sales and marketing operations, including the brands and intellectual property, from Interchemall Dom last year. The transaction is expected to close in April subject to closing conditions.

This acquisition builds on 3Ms activities in Poland to broaden its product portfolio for home care cleaning solutions in Eastern Europe, said, Jose Del Solar, managing director, 3M Poland.

The household cleaning products manufactured at the plant include bath sponges, kitchen scrubbers and sponges, and wipes and cloths. 3M delivers some of the worlds best-known home care products, such as Scotch-Brite(TM) and O-Cel-O(TM) brand scrub sponges and scouring pads, wipes and cloths, and a variety of mechanical cleaning tools to consumers around the world.

Approximately 60 people at its production operations based in Grodzisk Mazowiecki near Warszawa, Poland, are affected by this transaction.

About 3M -- A Global, Diversified Technology Company

Every day, 3M people find new ways to make amazing things happen. Wherever they are, whatever they do, the company's customers know they can rely on 3M to help make their lives better. 3M's brands include Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Vikuiti. Serving customers in more than 200 countries around the world, the people of 3M use their expertise, technologies and global strength to lead in major markets including consumer and office; display and graphics; electronics and telecommunications; safety, security and protection services; health care; industrial and transportation.

3M, Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command, O-Cel-O and Vikuiti are trademarks of 3M.


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Europe-Ukraine Forum gets underway in Poland

Nearly 200 politicians and experts from across Europe met in the south-western Polish city of Wroclaw Friday for a two-day Europe-Ukraine Forum, focusing on promoting democracy in Ukraine as well as its closer integration with the European Union.
The event is part of Poland's annual Krynica Economic Forum, itself focused on economic development in Central and Eastern Europe. Both are organised by Poland's non-profit Instytut Wschodni (Eastern Institute).

NATO and EU member Poland has long been a vocal advocate of Ukraine's integration with both western structures.

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Viasat Broadcasting Launches TV100 in Poland

Viasat Broadcasting is launching a dedicated TV1000 for Poland on the DTH platform Cyfrowy Polsat on March 5.

The first single-country TV1000 channel, TV1000 in Poland will broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will be part of Cyfrowy Polsat’s “Film” package. It is also being offered to the country’s main cable operators.

Fully versioned in Polish, TV1000 will launch with content from Warner Bros. International Television, with additional studios to follow. It will be a Hollywood studio-based service featuring movies for the whole family and across all genres including action, sci-fi, thrillers, comedies, romances and mysteries. The channel will also have theme weekends and nights, as well as popular movies and stars from the past 30 years.

TV1000, which was launched in Scandinavia more than 15 years ago, has since expanded into Central and Eastern Europe, with TV1000 East, TV1000 Russian Kino and TV1000 Balkan.

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