EU, Poland in new standoff over cod overfishing

The European Commission threatened Poland on Thursday with legal action for failing to clamp down on cod overfishing as a new standoff between Brussels and Warsaw erupted.

Despite warnings from the European Commission that Poland has already filled its cod quota in the Baltic Sea for this year, Polish authorities said Wednesday they had no immediate plans to punish fishermen who catch cod there.

In reaction, EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said: "We expect Poland to honour the closure (of the cod fishery) and primarily that its fishermen respect that closure."

"We will look at what can be done," he said, noting that "we have the power of (launching) an infringement proceeding" against Poland before an EU court.

In the meantime the Commission could ask for "interim measures" from the tribunal.

The Commission has repeatedly told Warsaw that Poland's trawlers have exhausted their quota, warning that continued fishing would add more pressure to a fish stock already facing collapse.

Brussels has threatened to deduct any overcatch from next year's quota -- compounding the anger of Polish fisherman, who were already protesting against a decision by the Commission to slash their 2008 allowance by almost a quarter.

The Polish government considers that cod stocks are not as weak in the Baltic as the Commission's scientists say they are.

The Commission, which frequently voices concern about the state of stocks in the Baltic, has proposed cutting quotas next year by 23 percent in the eastern Baltic and by 33 percent in the west.

Although other big fishing countries sometimes doubt the Commission's analyses of stock levels, Poland's strident attitude is without precedent, according to one EU official.

A spokesman for the Polish Fisheries Ministry said that the minister would meet soon with Baltic counterparts and "if there is an agreement at the ministerial level, there will be no need for sanctions."

Under the leadership of the deeply conservative Kaczynski twins, Warsaw has frequently clashed with its EU partners on numerous points ranging from aid to struggling shipyards to the drafting of the bloc's new reform treaty.

Some Polish media suggested that the new standoff over cod could be attributed to the approaching legislative elections due on October 21.

Some 430 Polish trawlers fish for cod in the Baltic, employing a total of 5,000 people on board and in the onshore processing industry.


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Poland's central bank focuses on fuel, food, wage risks to inflation for 2008

Poland's central bank highlighted risks of higher price pressure from jumps in food and fuel prices as well as expected rises in unit labour costs next year in its annual monetary policy guidelines published today.

The bank's policy council also reiterated its commitment to bringing Poland into the euro 'as soon as possible', a stronger line than that taken by the conservative government and bank governor Slawomir Skrzypek.

The guidelines emphasised that the bank would aim to keep inflation as close to the central 2.5 pct target as possible, and not just within the wider 1.5-3.5 pct range.

They also pointed to the labour market and public finances as the key to monetary policy over the last year, adding to the council's recent warnings over rises in long-term public spending commitments ahead of elections.

'It is expected that in 2008 we will see a further rise in unit labour costs, leading to a rise in inflation pressure,' the council said in the guidelines.

Source:By Patrick Grahamforbes.com

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Polish press review 27/09/2007 - Government & Economy

POLITICS: Largest Opposition Party May Change Leader if Loses Elections - The largest opposition party, the centre-right Civic Platform (PO), may change its replace party leader Donald Tusk if Tusk fails to lead his party to winning the elections. Tusk allegedly said he will resign if PO fails at the polls. PO representatives did not comment the information. [Rzeczpospolita]

EU: Polish Foreign Minister to Meet with OSCE Head - Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga will meet with Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) head Angel Moratinos to discuss early parliamentary elections in Poland, as well as the possibility of allowing OSCE observers monitor the event. [Rzeczpospolita]

EU: European Court of Justice Spokesperson Could be Polish if Poland Agrees to Compromises - A Polish diplomat could become one of European Court of Justice's spokespeople if Poland agrees to accept the new EU Treaty and presumably drop the fight for implementing the so-called Ioannina compromise. [Rzeczpospolita]
EU: Polish Politicians Criticize Chairman of the Socialist Group at European Parliament Bashing Poland - Polish politicians jointly criticized Chairman of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, who earlier this week called for Poland to be isolated within in the European Union. Conservative, right wing and populist politicians felt most offended by German MEP's opinions. [Rzeczpospolita]

INFLATION: Central Banks' Monetary Policy Council Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged - The Central Bank's Monetary Policy Council (MPC) Wednesday kept Poland's official interest rates on hold, with the key reference rate staying at 4.75%, in line with expectations. The council wants to screen the influence of its earlier decisions on the economy and will probably raise interest rates in November. The decision is connected with Poland's political situation, as early parliamentary elections are to take place within less than a month, BZ WBK analyst Piotr Bielski said. [Parkiet]

DOMESTIC: Justice Minister Diminishes Notarial Acts Fees by Half - Justice Minister Zbigniews Ziobro announced that Notarial act fees will be diminished by half. Media estimate that the new regulation will come into life before early elections. Currently the price on compulsory notarial act, produced by a notary after buying a flat worth PLN 200.000 was PLN 1710, after the ruling the fee will diminish to PLN 785. [Rzeczpospolita]

ENVIRONMENT: Poland Could Implement EU Large Combustion Plants Directive Ahead of Due Date - Poland could implement the Large Combustion Plants Directive January 1 2008. The directive is aimed at reducing emissions of acidifying pollutants. [Rzeczpospolita]

INFRASTRUCTURE: Regional Development Minister Denies EC Data on Infrastructure Spending in Poland - Regional Development Minister Grazyna Gesicka said Poland spent about 32% of EU subsidies for infrastructure until August 2007, and denied the data of European Commission who published information this week saying that Poland spent only 16%, that is EUR 676 mln on infrastructure development until August 2007, out of the EUR 4.18 bln earmarked for the purpose. Gesicka said the information could be simply a mistake and the EC may have published old data. [Rzeczpospolita]

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Poland opposition Civic Platform leads ruling party by 2 pct

PolyOne Corporation , a leading global provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions, today dedicated a new color concentrates manufacturing facility in Kutno, Poland, to serve rapidly growing regional markets in Eastern Europe.

The new plant is centrally located in Poland, with easy access to all major industrial regions and proximity to the main Berlin-to-Moscow transportation route. It is PolyOne's second manufacturing facility in Eastern Europe. The Company opened its first facility in Gyor, Hungary, in 1998.

Approximately 100 invited guests attended the dedication ceremony, among them customers, suppliers, regional and national dignitaries, and PolyOne employees. At the ceremony, PolyOne Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen D. Newlin cited the new plant as another example of PolyOne's specialization and globalization strategy.

"Today's dedication reaffirms PolyOne's commitment to specialization and globalization in support of our customers worldwide," Newlin said. "Our new state-of-the-art Kutno facility expands our capacity to offer quick, convenient access to specialized materials, services and solutions for both locally based and multinational customers who are establishing manufacturing sites in this rapidly growing region."

The plant is designed for PolyOne's color products, but can be expanded to handle other PolyOne products. The facility will include a laboratory to develop and test products to customer specifications, and meets the strictest safety and environmental standards, including food contact and health care applications.

About PolyOne

PolyOne Corporation, with 2006 annual revenues of approximately $2.6 billion, is a leading global provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions. Headquartered in northeast Ohio, PolyOne has operations in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and joint ventures in North America and South America. See www.polyone.com for additional information on PolyOne.


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S. Khonkaen using Poland plant to expand sales in EU

S. Khonkaen Food Industry Plc, a major producer of Thai-style sausages and dried, shredded pork, plans to use a processing plant in Poland as a springboard to expand sales in the European Union in the face of increasingly tough food standards.

Charoen Rujirasopon, the SET-listed company's chief executive officer, said the move would also help the company reduce foreign-exchange risk.

He noted that the EU market was a challenging one because of non-tariff barriers related to food safety and sanitary standards, as well as concerns about foot-and-mouth disease.

The Thai company has hired Paruzel of Poland, the country's leading food processor, to produce all kinds of S. Khonkaen products for distribution in 16 EU markets as well as for export to other countries including Australia and New Zealand.

The company will pay 10 million baht to hire the Polish firm under an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement for three years, while both firms will share in marketing costs.

''The products will be made at the Poland factory but the technology, know how, product quality inspection and marketing will be under the control of the S. Khonkaen team from Thailand,'' said Mr Charoen.

In the first stage, capacity of 50 tonnes per month will be dedicated to two brands: S. Khonkaen for sales to consumers in supermarkets by December, and Winner brand products sold to restaurants at prices about 15% cheaper than for other premium meat brands in Europe.

The company expects to gain about 60 million baht in sales from the Poland factory in the first year.

Mr Charoen said demand for Asian-style processed meat in the EU market was high among the roughly 10 million Asian people living there. The company will have competition in the market from Taiwanese and Vietnamese companies.

According to Mr Charoen, concern about foot-and-mouth disease has barred Thai manufacturer from exporting meat-related products to the EU.

He expressed confidence that the expansion would lift sales to international markets to 15% of revenues this year, up from 10% last year, and to 40% by 2010.Since the company's main consumers are aged above 40 years, he said the company planned to enlarge its market to appeal to younger consumer groups. It will introduce seafood snack products in November and ready-to-heat pork and barbecued meat in the first quarter of next year.

Sales of its processed pork and seafood products this year are expected to grow by 6% to 740 million baht, below the earlier expectation of 8%, as a result of declining consumption.

The company also plans to spend 30 million to 50 million baht next year on new machinery and a chilling room.

Share of S. Khonkaen (SORKON) closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 14.70 baht, down 30 stang in trade worth 227,000 baht.

Source: bangkokpost.com

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There are 1,000 Biedronka supermarkets in Poland

The retailer keeps growing. In three years, it plans to launch operations in Romania and Ukraine. IPO is considered as well.

Biedronka discount shops developed in Poland by Portuguese Jeronimo Martins (JM), is celebrating the launch of its 1,000th shop. In the first half of the year, sales grew over 30 percent to PLN 4.1 billion (EUR 1.1 billion) against the same period of 2006.

“In the years 2007, 2008 and 2009, we want to launch 120 Biedronka shops annually and invest nearly EUR 500m in Poland”, Pedro Pereira da Silva, Jeronimo Martins Dystrybucja general director said.

The company will build its seventh distribution center as well.

“In 2010 we will probably launch operations in Romania and Ukraine”, E. Alexandre Soares dos Santos, Jeronimo Martins CEO said.

Expansion abroad will be supported by Polish staff. It is also possible that JM will look for capital on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

“We have other things to do now but in due time we will discuss it”, E. Alexandre Soares dos Santos said.

JM estimates that it has nearly 75 percent in retail market in Western Europe and 50 percent in Poland.

(PLN 1 = EUR 0.265)

Source: pulsbiznesu.pl


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Poland Approves 2008 Budget Draft

Poland's conservative government approved a 2008 draft budget Tuesday, which includes taking steps to trim the deficit to meet EU requirements, the finance minister said.

The spending plan foresees a deficit of 28.6 billion zlotys ($10.6 billion; 7.5 billion euros) and spending of 310.4 billion zlotys ($115 billion; 82 billion euros). Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski's Cabinet approved the plan, Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska said after a weekly government session.

The planned deficit is 1.4 billion zlotys ($51 million; 37 million euros) lower than the 30 billion zlotys ($11 billion; 7.8 billion euros) planned for this year.

The proposed budget still has to pass the nation's parliament, which will take up the issue following Oct. 21 elections. It will also need approval from President Lech Kaczynski, the premier's twin brother.

The draft pegs state income from tax and European Union funds at 281.8 billion zlotys ($104 billion, 74 billion euros), economic growth at 5.5 percent and inflation at 2.3 percent.

Unemployment is predicted to drop to 9.9 percent, compared with 12 percent at the end of August.

Poland is taking steps to curb the deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product to meet EU requirements for the adoption of the euro, sometime in the next decade.

Source: forbes.com

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Poland unsure if PKN or Lotos would lead merger

Sept 26 (Reuters) - Poland's treasury minister said on Wednesday it remained unclear whether the country's biggest oil group PKN (PKNA.WA: Quote, Profile, Research) or Lotos (LTOS.WA: Quote, Profile, Research) would lead a possible merger between the two state-controlled companies.

"Right now the way this would be conducted is not decided yet. I personally ... like the idea that it would be led by Orlen," Wojciech Jasinski told reporters.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, whose government faces an early election on Oct. 21, recently said a decision on an eventual merger would probably be made only in 10-11 months' time and that Lotos was best suited to lead the merger.


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No plans to punish fishermen who defy EU cod ban: Poland

Polish authorities said Wednesday they had no immediate plans to punish fishermen who are catching cod in the Baltic Sea and defying a European Union freeze imposed to preserve the species.

"On the one hand, we don't support the fishermen who are breaking the law. But on the other hand, given the situation they're in, we don't currently plan to resort to the punitive measures that they fear, such as fines or withdrawing their licences," fisheries ministry spokesman Krzysztof Gogol told AFP.

Gogol said Polish inspectors have so far identified six trawlers which have been catching cod in the Baltic despite a ruling by the EU's executive European Commission that Poland has used up its quotas for catching the threatened fish.

Poland's fisheries minister Marek Grobarczyk was Wednesday due to present Joe Borg, the Commission member responsible for the fishing industry, with an "alternative programme" for protecting Baltic cod without an outright ban, Gogol said.

Some 430 Polish trawlers fish for cod in the Baltic, employing a total of 5,000 people on board and in the onshore processing industry.

The Commission has repeatedly told Warsaw that Poland's trawlers have exhausted their quota, warning that continued fishing would add more pressure to a fish stock already facing collapse.

Brussels has threatened to deduct any overcatch from next year's quota -- compounding the anger of Polish fisherman, who were already protesting against a decision by the Commission to slash their 2008 allowance by almost a quarter.

Source: afp.google.com

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Poland, Russia Sales May Lift Sagging UniCredit, Italian Stocks

Italian banks and exporters are profiting from booming economies in eastern Europe. Their lagging shares won't catch up until investors notice the return from almost $10 billion of acquisitions in the past year alone.

``The growth is there,'' said Felix Schnella, who helps manage the equivalent of $600 million in European equities at Allianz Global Investors in Frankfurt. ``The question is how fast the market will realize this.''

Germany's DAX Index has risen 18 percent this year and the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 Index is up 3.1 percent. Italy's benchmark S&P/MIB Index, the worst performer in Europe this year after Ireland's market, is down 3.5 percent.

Higher interest rates and contagion from the subprime- mortgage crisis in the U.S. hit the shares of Italian banks and insurers, which account for more than half of Milan's MIB Index.

At the same time, UniCredit SpA, Italy's largest bank, is merging its two Polish banks to create the No. 1 in the region. It now gets about 20 percent of its revenue from east European markets, twice the share of 1999. The three largest financial institutions in Italy have 40 million customers in the east.

Schnella bought Buzzi Unicem SpA in June. The Casale Monferrato, Italy-based cement company in January completed the acquisition of Germany's Dyckerhoff AG to tap demand for new buildings in countries including Russia and the Czech Republic.

Austrian and German companies began investing in former communist countries when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. German businesses spent $13.3 billion in eastern Europe between 1990 and 2005 compared with $6.5 billion by their Italian peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Finding Growth

The Italians are now catching up. Italian companies announced $9.7 billion of acquisitions in the region in the past year, about the same as for Germany and France combined.

Italy's shipments to the 35 countries that make up Europe's emerging markets, including Russia, Poland and Turkey, have more than doubled in six years to $59.2 billion.

The exports accounted for more than 14 percent of total goods sent abroad last year, up from 9.7 percent in 2000, International Monetary Fund data show. The number of Italian companies with investments in eastern Europe jumped 18 percent to 3,011 in 2005 from 2,546 in 2001, says the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade.

``These are big numbers and they're surprising because people had been looking to other countries for eastern Europe exposure, like Austria and Germany,'' said Nikolaus Poehlmann, who manages the $190 million DWS Italian equities fund in Frankfurt.

New Consumers

Last month he added to his holdings in UniCredit. The bank has 24 million customers throughout eastern Europe. It spent $4.3 billion in June to buy banks in Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Italy's biggest bank by branches, has 7 million customers through 1,200 outlets across eastern Europe. Assicurazioni Generali SpA, the country's biggest insurer, has more than 10 percent of the life and non-life insurance markets in Hungary and Serbia as well as elsewhere in the region, for a total of 9 million customers.

Marazzi Group SpA, Europe's largest maker of ceramic tiles, and Indesit Co. SpA, its third-largest home-appliances maker, are among exporters that boosted profit by shifting production to lower-cost countries like Russia and Poland. They also lifted sales in those markets as local consumers became more affluent.

Profit Jump

East European economies will expand by 5.7 percent this year, more than twice the 2.6 percent expected rate for the 13 countries using the euro, according to IMF forecasts.

Indesit, based in Fabriano, Italy, gets about a third of its revenue from eastern Europe and has a 30 percent market share in Russia, according to UBS AG. The maker of washing machines and fridges reported a 48 percent jump in second-quarter profit.

The company is building a third plant in Lodz, central Poland, and expects to have 60 percent of production in low-cost countries by 2008. Its shares have gained 4.3 percent this year.

Marazzi's first-half pretax earnings climbed 12 percent, bolstered by a 35 percent jump in sales in Russia, where the company bought a rival in 2005 and built a plant near Moscow. Marazzi's shares have fallen 7 percent this year.

The potential growth is already factored into share prices of exporters, says Giulio Baresani Varini, who oversees the equivalent of about $613 million at Banca MB SpA in Milan.

Priced In?

Indesit trades at 13.5 times estimated earnings, while for Marazzi the multiple is 12.6. The S&P/MIB Index on average trades at 13.2 times future profit, the lowest ratio for two years.

``The emerging market boost has been largely priced in, especially for small-growth stocks,'' said Baresani Varini.

Baresani Varini holds UniCredit, which he says is ``cheap'' compared with future earnings potential.

UniCredit, whose shares have declined 9.6 percent this year, trades at 10.1 times estimated earnings versus a multiple of 11.6 for the MSCI World Bank Index.

The bank posted a record second-quarter profit, as operating income grew 17 percent in Poland and 20 percent in other east European countries, compared with a 4.2 percent growth for the bank's Italian, German and Austrian retail businesses.

UBS wrote in a note to clients in June that Italy was one of the ``better-placed economies'' to benefit from growing links to Europe's emerging markets.

Fabio Paolini, who manages about $4 billion in global stocks at Pictet Asset Management in London, bought more Marazzi shares last month as indexes tumbled. ``The market hasn't discounted the growth potential yet,'' he said.

Source:By Marco Bertacche, bloomberg.com

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Poland's Petrolinvest targets 1000 barrels per day production from start of 2008

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Polish oil exploration venture Petrolinvest hopes to produce at least 1,000 barrels of oil per day from the start of 2008 after striking oil in its Kazakhstan test sites, the company said today.

'Today's historic event does not bring us close to break even,' said company chief executive Pawel Gricuk.

'We still face very serious investment, but if our estimates of 200-250 barrels per day from each of five Kazakh sites are correct, at the beginning of 2008 our production should be 1000-1250 barrels per day.'

To date Petrolinvest, launched on the Warsaw stock exchange in July, has ploughed 85 mln usd into investment in the Kazakh sites to which it has bought rights. Gricuk said they would invest another 70 mln by the end of the year.

'We plan to sell our oil to local traders in Kazakhstan at 35 usd per barrel, which includes a 30 pct net profit margin,' he added.

Source: By Patrick Graham, forbes.com

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Electrabel promises billions of investments in Poland

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – The Belgian company says it will invest up to EUR 2.5 billion in greenfield projects. Surprisingly, present government helped make this decision.

Investors are refused the access to the majority of energy assets in Poland since the present Law and Justice (PiS) government gave up privatization. The paradox is that the economy may win a lot. More and more foreign companies want to build their plants by their own in the country.

Electrabel of Belgium told “PB” that it is going to spend EUR 2.5 billion in the upcoming years, and this is not the only foreign investor with huge plans in Poland.

“We want to build a coal and biomass power plant in northern Poland. The demand is the biggest there. We take into account other locations as well”, Grzegorz Gorski, Electrabel Polska CEO said.

The first big project will be implemented in Gdansk. The land owned by Siarkopol (a company controlled by PERN pipeline operator) is the possible site. However, Gdansk authorities are not happy to have a power plant there. Next to Electrabel, French EDF and Swedish Vattenfall want to build one there. Today, a meeting will take place among potential investors and Gdansk president. The latter will offer an alternative site.

“We would like to build a 800MW block in the first stage. We have already bought the machine, which is a big advantage because you have to wait several years for your orders to be completed nowadays that the market booms. Our plant may be ready in 2012 provided that we get all permissions till the end of next year. We estimate the costs at EUR 1 billion. In the second stage, another block worth EUR 1 billion would be added”, Electrabel head promised.

Source: pulsbiznesu.pl

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Each year Poland receives more from EU

In 2006, Poland received the sum of 3billion euros net from the EU budget, i.e. almost two times more than in the previous years, results from a report on the fulfillment of last year’s budget presented by the European Commission reveals.

Last year, Poland received 5.3 billion euros from the EU budget, mainly as support for farming (2.142 billion) and in structural funds (1.951 billion).

Polish dues to the union purse amounted to 2.175 billion euros, which gives Poland exactly 2.997 billion net from the Union, constituting 1.16 percent of Poland’s GDP in 2006.

In comparison, in 2005 the net amount that Poland received was 1.667 billion euros and in 2004 – 1.409 billion.

Nevertheless, the main beneficiaries of the EU budget are still the ‘old’ EU members – France (13.5 billion), Spain (12.9 billion), Germany (12.2 billion), Italy (10.9 billion) and Great Britain (8.3 billion).
Source: thenews.pl

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Poland Tries to Reverse Brain Drain

One of Poland's biggest exports since joining the European Union has been its own people. But now Warsaw has decided the brain drain needs to be reversed and the government has launched a campaign to entice the migrants to come back home.

In one of the biggest exoduses in post-war Europe, between 1.2 and 2 million of Poland's 38 million people have opted to leave home and seek their fortunes in the booming economies of the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as Sweden. These three countries were the only EU member states to welcome the new Eastern European workforce with open arms in 2004, and it has paid off. The host nations estimate the labor injection has helped to keep inflation and wages in check and further boosted the economy. But while many of the young Poles are enjoying their new lives so much they want to put down roots, their native Poland has now decided it needs them back.

The Polish government announced this week that it was launching a package of incentives to get Poles to return home. President Lech Kaczynski told a news conference on Wednesday that "our main goal is to get as many of them back to their homeland." The government wants to emphasize that there are now more opportunities in Poland, with rising wages and less unemployment.

Polish officials fear those who have left, whose average age is 26, will settle down and raise children abroad, which could have a huge demographic and economic impact. According to a recent opinion poll, around 20 percent of Poles in Britain do not want to return home. But Polish hopes are riding on the fact that 20 percent say they would like to head back east, with another 60 percent unsure. Officials reason that they might be easily tempted.

Meanwhile, the lack of skilled workers is pushing up wages and inflation back in Poland, with wages increasing 10.5 percent in the last 12 months, the fastest for seven years. On Wednesday, Labor Minister Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska said the government would make it easier for people to start their own businesses after returning to the country. And she will be sending representatives to the countries with the most Polish workers to organize job fairs to tell the migrants about the increased job opportunities and rising wages back home. She also wants to increase the network of Polish language schools abroad, to make it easier for migrants with children to head back home.

With the election campaign hotting up in Poland, the labor shortage, which threatens to stall the country's strong economic performance, is becoming a key issue. And the parties are also campaigning hard for the votes of the huge number of expat Poles.

While the Kaczynskis are offering incentives to return home, opposition leader Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform is going one better: He plans to travel to the UK and Ireland to campaign in person.

Source: businessweek.com

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