Opportunity for Poland to join ESO

Szansa dla Polski na przystąpienie do ESO

An illustration depicting the 40-metre E-ELT optical telescope, which represents only one of the future projects financed by the European Southern Observatory.

An opportunity has arisen for Polish astronomy to gain access to the most modern telescopes and to participate in the development of novel technologies and future observational instruments since Poland has a chance to join European Southern Observatory, one of the biggest, most significant and richest institutions dealing with astronomical research.

"ESO has evolved to become a world-leading organisation for ground-based astronomy and a true power-house for European research in astronomy and astrophysics. This is why several countries have joined our organisation in the recent years and why further countries express interest in joining. We would be delighted to welcome our Polish colleagues to the community of ESO users, thereby also integrating this important field of research in Poland into the European Research Area." - said ESO's Director General, Professor Tim de Zeeuw.

ESO is in possession of two optical observatories in Chile (La Silla and Paranal) equipped with four 8-metre VLT telescopes, as well as Llano de Chajnantor Observatory, with its submillimetre APEX telescope. ESO is currently preparing big investments into projects of the future, namely the 40-metre E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) and a network of ALMA radiotelescopes. The investments are worth hundreds of million euro, and Poland could not afford to undertake any of such projects on its own.

As to whether the country famous for its astronomers, namely Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Hevelius, Bohdan Paczynski or Aleksander Wolszczan, will join the organisation is dependent on a decision of the government. If it decides that Poland may join ESO, a respective agreement therewith will have to be later ratified by Polish Parliament.

Attempts to join the organisation started in January 2007 when a proposal to join ESO was submitted to the Polish government by the Committee on Astronomy of the Polish Academy of Sciences. "Joining ESO will guarantee a constant access to the world most technologically advanced ground-based astronomical instruments. Gathering and analysis of observational data, unavailable in any other situation, will introduce the entire Polish astronomy to the front line of research into the most fundamental issues concerning the Universe", said Professor Kazimierz Stepien, the chairman of the Committee.

The initiative is supported by both professional astronomers, who gathered in Kielce for the Assembly of the Polish Astronomical Society in September, and by the General Board of the Society, the latter's voice expressed overtly in a resolution.

Joining an organisation such as ESO entails, however, paying both annual contributions, amounting to 2-3 million euro, and a joining fee worth several times the annual fee. The amounts are significant as regards the budget of Polish science. Yet, in return, the participation brings numerous benefits. The most obvious one is the access to the most modern telescopes in the world.

Our presence in ESO is especially important for young researchers, since it provides several new job opportunities for those most talented. The offer is open not only for astronomers or astrophysicists, but also IT specialists, since modern astronomy is predominantly based on advanced methods of the collection and analysis of data gathered by various instruments. Also engineers will have an opportunity to develop new instruments, while Polish companies will have the chance to take part in the construction of future astronomical instruments.

Established in 1962, ESO comprises 13 countries: Belgium, Czech Republic (a member since January 2007), Denmark, France, Finland, Spain, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Great Britain and Italy.

ESO's Web Site is available at www.eso.org, while materials on Polish attempts to join ESO are available here www.astronomia.pl/eso

More information:
Source: By Krzysztof Czart, astronomia.pl

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New Hot Drinks in Poland Report Offers a Comprehensive Guide to the Size and Shape of the Market at a National Level

DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c82898) has announced the addition of Hot Drinks in Poland to their offering.

Our Hot Drinks in Poland report offers a comprehensive guide to the size and shape of the market at a national level. It provides the latest retail sales data (2000-2005), allowing you to identify the sectors driving growth. It identifies the leading companies, the leading brands and offers strategic analysis of key factors influencing the market - be they legislative, distribution or pricing issues. Forecasts to 2010 illustrate how the market is set to change.

Product coverage includes: coffee, tea and other hot drinks

Data coverage: market sizes (historic and forecasts), company shares and brand shares

Why buy this report?

- Get a detailed picture of the hot drinks industry

- Pinpoint growth sectors and identify factors driving change

- Understand the competitive environment, the markets major players and leading brands

- Use five-year forecasts to assess how the market is predicted to develop

With a network of over 600 analysts worldwide, we have a unique capability to develop reliable information resources to help drive informed strategic planning.

Executive summary

Healthier, more convenient but also more expensive

In 2005 hot drinks was shaped by the demand for convenience and indulgence in line with a growing health awareness trend. Polish consumers slowly shifted towards premium brands, which resulted in higher prices. Convenient 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 coffee varieties were the winners of 2005. Increasing health consciousness boosted demand for teas associated with health and wellness.

Branded hot drinks benefited from the growing affluence of Polish consumers. As hot drinks were relatively cheaper than soft drinks, consumers could afford premium products. This explains the high brand loyalty within hot drinks, which is unusual in fmcg markets.

Multinationals lead the way

Heavyweights like Kraft, Nestlé, Tchibo and Unilever strengthened their positions in hot drinks. Mega brands, large marketing budgets and holistic marketing approaches were the factors behind their success. The acquisition of the rights to the MK Cafe brand strengthened the position of Elite Cafe. Multinationals paid more attention to products which provided benefits in terms of health and wellness. Unilever made its debut in fruit/herbal tea and pu-erh tea. Nestlé introduced Ricoré, a mix of instant chicory (60%) and instant coffee (40%).

Domestic players lose out

In 2005 domestic players lost out in hot drinks. Multinationals paid more attention to niche areas in which domestic players held strong positions, for example in fruit/herbal tea. Mokates position in coffee was weakened by the growing popularity of 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 coffee products which cannibalised sales of cappuccino in which the company was the key player.

Independent food stores loses share but remains leading distribution channel

Independent food stores lost share in 2005, but remains the leading distribution channel. The position of independent food stores in Poland is very strong in comparison to neighbouring countries such as Hungary, the Czech Republic or Slovakia. However, supermarkets/hypermarkets and discounters are slowly growing in importance and popularity. The expected expansion of discounters into rural areas will shape the market in the future.

Lets go out?

While the number of coffee bars increased substantially throughout the review period, consumption of hot drinks outside the home remains generally low among Polish consumers.

Poles generally take their caffeine at home, and it is mostly the inexpensive sort, namely ground and roasted coffee. The culture of partaking in hot drinks away from home is still underdeveloped in Poland. However, Poles are more likely to consume coffee away from home than tea, because tea is perceived as a common drink, whereas coffee is seen as more sophisticated. Whatever the case, the only area of the on-trade in which tea is relatively successful is restaurants as many Poles like to drink tea after a meal to aid digestion.

Companies Mentioned:

Astra Sp zoo

Elite Coffee Sp zoo

Premium Foods SA

Herbapol Lublin SA

For more information, visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c82898.

Source: Euromonitor International

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Economic tensions with Poland linked to missile plans - Putin

Russia's president said on Thursday that tensions in economic relations with Poland were linked to U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in the Central European country.

"My feeling is that anti-Russian sentiment has been fuelled intentionally to create a moral and political situation conducive to deploying the [missile defense] systems," Putin said at his final annual Kremlin news conference.

Washington wants to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the neighboring Czech Republic, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other "rogue" states. Russia has fiercely opposed the plans.

"If this happens, the level of security in Europe will be reduced," Putin said.

The problem with inferior meat supplies from Poland to Russia is a problem between Russia and Europe rather than between the two countries, Putin said.

According to Putin, agriculture in Eastern Europe is subsidized from European financial sources and this produce is dumped onto the Russian market, thus suppressing the development of domestic agriculture.

Relations between Russia and Poland deteriorated after Moscow imposed an embargo on Polish meat in November 2005 claiming that meat from third countries was being imported under the cover of Polish produce. Russia resumed meat imports in December 2007.

Russia does not intend to limit energy deliveries to Europe, including Poland, but is set to diversify supply routes, the Russian president said.

"We have no plans to limit anything in the future, but we are proceeding from the need to diversify energy supplies to new consumers. What is wrong with that? What's anti-Polish about that?" Putin said.

Source: en.rian.ru

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Poland backs push to split phone groups -officials

Poland continues to support a European Union initiative that would allow regulators to split dominant phone operators to boost competition, officials said on Thursday.

The minister of infrastructure sparked concern earlier this week that the new government was shifting its stance on the split of TPSA's TPSA.WA network and business activities, saying that current Polish law did would allow it.

The telecoms regulator chief quickly reacted to the comments, by threatening to resign if the government pressured her to drop plans to split the dominant operator, which is controlled by France Telecom (FTE.PA: Quote, Profile, Research).

But Infrastructure Minister Cezary Grabarczyk said that it was up to the regulator to decide whether to divide the former monopoly.

"This is the domain of the regulator. We're only commenting on this from a legal perspective," Grabarczyk told reporters.

His deputy said the government backed the proposed EU regulation which would give national watchdogs the right to divide telecoms companies in the interest of competition.

"The Polish government supports the European Commission's initiative which would introduce the regulatory ability of separation," Deputy Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Panasiuk said.

Telecoms regulator chief Anna Strezynska has targeted TPSA since taking office in 2006, levying more than 500 million zlotys ($203.7 million) in fines and calling for an eventual split of the company's network and business arms.

A new separate network company would be required to charge competitive rates to both its sibling and its competitors.

The EU debate on so-called functional separation has prompted protests from former state-owned telecoms giants and countries such as Spain and Germany, who say separation would harm incentives to invest in new technology networks. (Editing by Quentin Bryar)

Source: By Marynia Kruk, reuters.com

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Veoilia & WTE share water treatment contract in Poland

France's Veolia (NYSE: VE) and Germany water company WTE have won a contract in a consortium to upgrade and extend the Czajka wastewater treatment plant in Warsaw, Poland.

Attributed by Warsaw’s public water and wastewater authority following an international call for tenders, the contract is worth an estimated amount of approximately €500 million for the consortium.

Aslo participating in the consortium is Warbud, a Polish civil engineering company.

The new plant will have the capacity to treat 435,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day, and up to 515,000 cubic meters per day in peak periods.

With a population of 2 million inhabitants, Warsaw is being faced with growth in its volumes of wastewater, which are currently above the 200,000 cubic meter/day capacity of the existing plant.

The upgrading and extension of the plant will be carried out in phases in order to enable the plant to continue operating throughout the period of the works, scheduled for completion at the end of 2010.

After completion, Czajka will be the biggest wastewater treatment plant in Poland.

Veolia will implement technologies developed by its subsidiaries OTV and Kruger to treate wastewater and eliminate odors.

Veolia already has contracts in the area, particularly in the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, and has been operating in Poland since 1990.

In addition to the design and installation of water production and wastewater treatment systems, Veolia has also been providing 85,000 people with water and wastewater services in the municipalities of Tarnowskie Gory, Miasteczko Slaskie and Woźniki.

Veolia is a world leader in water and wastewater services, serving 108 million people worldwide.

Source: media.cleantech.com

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Mercedes scouting Romania, Poland for new plant

STUTTGART - Mercedes-Benz is looking at Romania and Poland in its search for an additional production site for the next generation of the A- and B-class, according to company insiders.

"The balance is rather tipping in Romania's direction," one source said. The entire business case is being argued in a "profoundly contentious" manner among senior managers, he said.

The new generation of the two subcompacts will debut as early as 2011, making decisions on the future product concept and the possible production location the hottest issue at Mercedes right now.

The next generation is supposed to enliven sales in Mercedes' core western European market as well as in emerging economies. At the same time, it is intended to help the company achieve its CO2 goals.

A third important goal: Mercedes wants to finally make a premium profit on a subcompact vehicle.

To achieve all its objectives, costs must be reduced dramatically. That's the reason the next generation likely will be based on a completely new front-wheel-drive platform and built in eastern Europe, possibly with an automaker partner yet to be identified.

In addition to the eastern Europe facility, the Mercedes plant in Rastatt, Germany, also will be expanded. It has produced the A-class since its launch in 1997 and the B-class since 2005.

The new assembly plant could be located in the Tetarom III industrial park in Jucu, in northwestern Romania near Hungary, according to a company source. That's where the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia wants to transfer the production operation that it now has in Bochum.

The mayor of Cluj, about 20 kilometers away, has acknowledged there have been discussions with Mercedes. There has been contradictory speculation about the plant's possible capacity.

In Romania, the figure of 350,000 units is circulating. In Mercedes circles, 70,000 to 130,000 vehicles have been mentioned.

Labor costs of about 3.23 euros (about $4.70) per hour act in Romania's favor. That contrasts with 6 euros ($8.70) an hour in Poland and more than 42 euros ($61) in Germany.

On the other hand, compared to Poland, significantly higher logistics costs come into play in Romania due to its poorer infrastructure. In addition, the skill level is higher in Poland.

Source: autonews.com


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Property law: Poland's thin capitalization rules

For anyone running a company in Poland, loan finance seems the most straightforward way to finance a business, especially in its early phase.

Like most other EU members, Poland has thin capitalization regulations which limit the tax deductibility of interest payments.

Thin capitalization rules were initially introduced in Western Europe to prevent foreign companies from making loans to subsidiaries and then reducing the corporate tax payments by charging interest on the loans. Unlike dividends, which are paid from post tax profits, interest expenses are generally tax deductible. Revenue authorities set a limit, based on a multiple of the paying company's share capital, above which interest would be disallowable when calculating corporate income tax liability.

Poland was a relative latecomer to these rules, introducing them into the Law on Corporate Income Tax of February 15, 1992 (the Law) on January 1, 1999. However, the tax authorities have proven themselves skilled at using these regulations, which, unlike transfer pricing, do not demand much technical skill to be implemented.

Thin capitalization rules

Thin capitalization rules restrict the tax deductibility of interest payments in situations where the amount of loan financing from a shareholder (holding more than 25 percent of the share capital) exceeds a multiple of three times the level of issued share capital. Interest is disallowed in proportion to the excess amount of the loan (Article 16, Para 1, Point 60 of the Law).

For example, if a company has a share capital of zł.150,000, it can borrow up to zł.450,000 with potentially all interest being tax deductible. If it were to borrow zł.600,000, then 75 percent of the total interest on the loan would be tax deductible (zł.450,000/zł.600,000).

Investors should also remember that a loan from a company which is a fellow subsidiary of the same shareholder also falls within the thin capitalization restrictions (Article 16, Para 1, Point 61 of the Law).

There are two relatively simple ways to avoid the thin capitalization provisions. A loan from the shareholder of the Polish company's shareholder(s) is outside the rules. Alternatively, this ultimate shareholder could set up a finance company in a tax-planning-friendly jurisdiction like Cyprus or Sweden, in order to make the loans.

Other areas

Apart from the thin capitalization rules, under Article 11 of the Law the tax authorities can also disallow interest payments if they exceed amounts which would typically be paid on agreements between unconnected parties acting on an "arms-length" basis. Conversely, under Article 12 of the Law, an interest rate which is considered to be less than an open market rate may expose the company to a potential tax liability on the value of a benefit deemed to have been received.

One other area to be looked at carefully is withholding tax on interest payments. The standard, non-treaty rate of withholding tax on interest paid abroad by a Polish company is 20 percent. However, under the EU Interest and Royalties Directive of June 3, 2003, if this is paid to a connected corporate recipient within the EU, this rate is reduced to 10 percent. From July 1, 2009 this rate will be reduced to five percent and on July 1, 2013 withholding tax on interest will be abolished.

However, if a relevant double taxation avoidance treaty gives a better rate, that takes precedence. Under the Poland-Cyprus treaty, the rate is 10 percent, so there is no advantage, but under the Poland-Sweden treaty the rate is 0.0 percent. In accordance with Article 26 of the Law, the Polish company must be in possession of a valid certificate of tax residency issued by the Swedish tax administration before applying this zero rate.

Civil law activity tax

Finally, no review of loan financing is complete without a mention of civil law activity tax, which applies to loans at a fixed rate of two percent. However, there are a number of exemptions and planning opportunities available to avoid this charge.

Richard Wernick is managing director of Totalserve (Polska) Sp. z o.o.

He is a chartered tax advisor and registered trust and estate practitioner and has been practicing in Poland since 1997

Source: wbj.pl

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Poland's copper miner KGHM expects losses in 2008 and 2009 - minister

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's state-controlled copper miner KGHM has presented a financial plan which assumes the company will have losses this and next year, newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza quoted Deputy Treasury Minister Jan Bury as saying in an interview.

'KGHM's plans have been prepared in such a way as to show that in the first two years, the company will generate losses,' Bury told the paper.

'I do not understand this.'

According to media reports, KGHM's supervisory board last week rejected the 2008 financial plan presented by management.

KGHM's spokesman was not available for commment.

KGHM will release its full-year 2007 earnings on Feb 14.

Source:By Piotr Skolimowski, forbes.com

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Lithuania and Poland to sign energy link accord Tuesday

Vilnius - Lithuania and Poland are expected to sign an agreement on Tuesday in Warsaw forming a joint company that would build a crucial energy link between two countries, the Lithuanian Economics Ministry said Monday. The two national companies - Lithuania's Lietuvos Energia and Poland's Polska Grupa Energetyczna - are expected to sign the agreement to build a 250 million-euro (362-million-dollar) link connecting Lithuania's electric grid to the European Union through Poland to offset the Baltic region's reliance on Russian energy. The linkup is an important part of the Poland's participation in the construction of a new Ignalina nuclear power plant. Lithuania and Poland want to build it together with the two other Baltic EU members, Latvia and Estonia. Long delays plagued the signing of the bilateral agreement. Four months ago, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said the agreement would be signed "within days," but later he cited technical problems as holding up a final deal. Poland demanded one-third of the new Ignalina power plant's capacity, even though it is one of the four participating countries, which has been the cornerstone of the negotiations. Lithuania is hoping to connect its electrical grid with the EU via Poland to shield it from an electricity shortfall when Lithuania closes the existing Ignalina nuclear power plant at the end of 2009, as part of its membership agreement with the EU. In recent weeks, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas indicated his country may ask Brussels to extend the life of the Ignalina plant.
Source: earthtimes.org

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Poland may raise PGNiG gas price limits in April

WARSAW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Poland's energy regulator URE expects to allow gas monopoly PGNiG PGNI.WA to raise its prices in April, its deputy chief told Reuters on Monday.

PGNiG had hoped to raise prices from the beginning of this year, but the regulator delayed giving it a green light in December. The company has estimated the decision could cost it 300 million zlotys ($120.6 million) in the first quarter.

The prices PGNiG pays for gas are pegged to oil prices, but its retail prices are capped by the regulator.

"When the prices were set last time prices of oil were below $70 (per barrel) and now they're around $90. The balancing factor is the weak dollar agaist the zloty, but it doesn't compensate the rising prices enough," said URE deputy head Marek Woszczyk.

"The most realistic date for the introduction of new tariffs looks to be April 1," he said.

He declined to give the new price levels URE was considering.

PGNiG shares slipped 0.7 percent on Monday, while Warsaw's large cap WIG20 index .WIG20 rose 0.9 percent.

Source: By Pawel Bernat, Chris Borowski

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Iceland Express Offers Scheduled Flights to Poland

Budget airline Iceland Express will offer scheduled flights to Warsaw for the first time in spring this year. The airline will also begin direct flights to Barcelona again; the city was added to its list of destination for the first time last fall.

Last year, Iceland Express enjoyed a 20 percent increase in passengers compared to 2006, and the increase in non-Icelandic citizens booking tickets with the airline increased by 22 percent year-over-year, as stated in a press release.

“It is amazing that an airline which hasn’t been operating for more than five years has become so established,” said Iceland Express CEO Matthías Imsland. “We aim at being even more successful in 2008 […] and looking for ways to increase diversity and competition for the benefit of Icelandic consumers.”

In 2007, the airline offered scheduled flights to 15 destinations in Europe, and last summer, Iceland Express also flew directly from Akureyri, north Iceland, and Egilsstadir, east Iceland, to Copenhagen.

This year, Iceland Express plans to offer a greater number of tickets for flights to some of its destinations than in previous years, including London, Copenhagen, Alicante and Basel.

Source: icelandreview.com

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Poland Buys Rare WWII Uprising Postcards

A museum has acquired a collection of rare World War II-era postcards, stamps and letters from Polish insurgents who fought their Nazi occupiers during the Warsaw Uprising.

Included in the 123 items are postage stamps printed by insurgents with seals made from potatoes, and letters and postcards that describe the fighters' plight. Some of the letters had never been opened.

Jan Oldakowski, director of the Warsaw Uprising Museum, said Saturday that the museum bought the collection at auction in Duesseldorf, Germany, for the asking price of $280,000. The auction house could not immediately be reached for confirmation.

Germany offered to cover the cost of the collection, but Poland decided to purchase the items on its own, Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski told TVN24 television.

Oldakowski said the museum was trying to track down people who wrote or received the mail. He said two people have already come forward.

"We hope that in a month when we open the exhibit of these mementos, those who sent and received them, or their relatives, will be with us," he said.

The museum houses exhibits from the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis — a doomed revolt that is one of the most tragic moments in Polish history yet a source of national pride.

During fierce fighting, the insurgents — largely ill-armed teenagers — organized a postal service to help city residents get information to relatives who were often cut off by the street-to-street fighting that erupted in Warsaw on August 1, 1944, and raged for 63 days.

Some 250,000 civilians were killed in the revolt, which was waged in the hope of liberating the capital from the Nazis. Ultimately, though, it was crushed, the survivors were deported to concentration camps and the city razed.


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Poland fails to talk Russia out of Nord Stream: Tusk

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Friday he had failed to talk Russia out of its plan to build a gas pipeline to Germany bypassing his nation.

Tusk, seeking to thaw ties between the two erstwhile Cold War allies, also said that Russia -- albeit without enthusiasm -- had accepted Poland's right to host a U.S. missile shield.

"The most important thing for me was a very tough declaration by all of my Russian partners that Nord Stream will not negatively affect gas supplies for Poland, and that Amber might in the future be interesting for Russia," Tusk told Polish journalists before leaving Moscow.

"But when you ask me if I managed to talk Russians out of the Nord Stream project, then the answer is 'no'."

Apart from ecological concerns about the pipeline to be laid on the Baltic seabed, Warsaw fears Nord Stream bypassing its territory would enable Russia to cut off crucial gas supplies to the country, while continuing to deliver to Western Europe.

Critical of Nord Stream also for its estimated high transportation costs, Poland backs the proposed Amber land pipeline stretching across the Baltic countries.

But meeting Tusk on Friday morning, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Nord Stream was "a project on a European scale and it is aimed at energy security for the entire continent".

"We have to see this project through to its logical conclusion," Zubkov said.

Tusk later met President Vladimir Putin and his likely successor Dmitry Medvedev in the highest-level contacts between the two countries since 2004.

Ties between Poland and its former Warsaw Pact overlord have been rocky for years but under the previous Polish government they hit a new low.


Disputes over the missile shield, the Nord Stream gas pipeline project and a Polish veto on the start of talks on a strategic partnership pact between Russia and the European Union have all helped sour relations.

Signs of a thaw emerged when Tusk replaced Jaroslaw Kaczynski as prime minister late last year. Russia has expressed a hope Poland will drop the veto on EU talks within months.

"I would not over-dramatize problems in our relations," Putin said during a meeting with Tusk. "By restoring cooperation and dialogue, we will be able to find a way out of any problem."

Poland is in talks with the U.S. government over stationing elements of the planned missile defense shield on Polish soil. Russia says the shield is a threat to its national security.

"President Putin is not an enthusiast of this project but he obviously accepted Poland's right to decide about what and whose installations we will host on our soil," Tusk told Polish media. "He expressed expectations to monitor to what extent the shield installations are turned against Russia."

"We know that the U.S. and the Czech Republic do not exclude some kind of Russian presence. There is a feel of negotiations on this. However, the Polish government will not agree to a permanent presence of third-country military at the base."

Tusk said Warsaw was ready for a "long conversation" with Moscow of lifting Poland's veto on the EU-Russia talks.

"Our intentions are clear -- we do not want to go on blocking, we are ready to negotiate such a formula of the treaty which would secure Polish energy interests," he said.

"Our outlook is that we will quickly reach an agreement that would enable us lifting the veto."

Tusk said he was deeply impressed during his visit to Moscow -- his first ever. "All difficult Polish-Russian relations stood in front of my eyes by the Kremlin gates."

A Polish reporter accompanying Tusk was briefly detained by security officials.

Reporter Waclaw Radziwinowicz of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza said he believed the action was "political punishment" for past reporting on Russia and its ex-Soviet neighbors.

He rejoined the press corps about 30 minutes later after representations from the Polish delegation. A Russian government spokesman said the incident was "an annoying technical mistake".

Source:By Chris Baldwin and Gabriela Baczynska, reuters.com

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