From Poland with Love – April 

From Poland with Love

In our Poland Newsletter guest contributor Dr. Milosz Hodun is giving us monthly updates about current news, events and all other things you need to know about Poland.

Topic of the month

Teachers’ Strike

There can be no doubts that the topic of the month in April in Polish society and Polish media was the teachers’ strike. In teachers’ referendum in nearly 80% of all schools and preschools in Poland teachers declared their would take part in the nationwide strike, the president of the Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP),  Sławomir Broniarz announced. The highest percentage of schools that declared readiness to join the strike was recorded in the following voivodeships: Kuyavian-Pomeranian (91%), Łódź (87%), Warmian-Masurian (87%) and Greater Poland (84%). According to the ZNP, as much as 91,2% of teachers, from all the schools which held the strike referendum, have approved of the protest (see more in the March edition of the Newsletter).

The strike started on April 8th. The primary demand of teachers, backed by two trade unions ZNP and FZZ (Forum Zwiazkow Zawodowych), are proper wages. Despite the fact that Poland’s education after the 1999 reforms has caught up on international comparative studies such as PISA, and now ranks among the best in Europe and the world, teachers’ wages are amongst the lowest in the EU.

The beginners’ wage is not much higher than the minimum wage of PLN 2.250 per month (EUR 520). The increase of wages is slower than within other groups in the society and is not catching up with general growth of the economy and inflation. What is more, teachers could see how PiS government gives social benefits to all groups that could potentially vote for this party in May and Autumn elections (including a generous subsidy for farmers and bonuses for pensioners) but there was no money for educational system. “In the past two weeks, money has been found for everyone, not only for humans, but there is no money for the teachers,” Sławomir Broniarz claimed. “It’s a pity that we lost to cows and pigs.”

It is worth noticing that the third big trade union, namely NFZZ “Solidarność”, did not support the strike. This organization is a satellite organization of PiS nowadays (its leader is PiS MP and many other local union leaders represent PiS in city councils).

Governmental TVP and Polish Radio supported by private right-wing media tried to stir up emotions against the teachers. They were presented as selfish and money-hungry. Especially the decision to begin the strike in the week of nationwide final exams in primary and middle schools was presented as evidence that the teachers egotistically only care about their own interest.

In an Easter sermon, Gdansk Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Glódź accused the striking teachers of using the children as “hostages” and said the teachers were damaging the “sensitivity and idealism” of the young people.

PiS leaders attacked the teachers, too. The unions were compared to Nazis by Patryk Jaki, deputy justice minister. Teachers were told they could simply have more children and earn children benefits if they wanted more money, and they were lectured about how they should not be teaching for money anyway. “Teachers are not obliged to live in celibacy,” Krzysztof Szczerski, head of the President’s Duda Office said. “Those transfers that are made today, for example for Polish families, including 500+, they also apply to teachers,” he added, referring to social benefits for children introduced by PiS. The speaker of the Senate, Stanislaw Karczewski, who earns nearly PLN 20.000 zlotys (EUR 4,500) a month, hypocritically said teachers should work for ideals, not money.

But in social media the PiS-supporters lost. And it happened for the first time in many months. The positive and supportive about the strike comments prevailed on Facebook, Twitter and other electronic platforms. Orange exclamation mark button with words “I support the teachers”- symbol of this strike- decorated many Facebook profile pictures and the “Keep going” slogan was omnipresent. The current mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski posted on Twitter a picture with his son and the caption: “Today I am supported by the best of the best assistants: my son Staś”.

Social support was very important and not so sure before the strike especially because many schools stopped working and parents had to take care of their children. Millions of people have been forced to take their children to work, set up makeshift daycare centers or ask for leave at request.

“Our budget possibilities have been exhausted for now,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told public television when asked about the strike. The government did not want to negotiate with the unions at all. There was much blame put on education minister Anna Zalewska. Former PM Beata Szydło took over the negotiations and represented the government. ZNP’s demand of PLN 1.000 salary increase was rejected. The unions were looking for a compromise lowering their expectations but the only offer the government had was increasing teaching quota. It was unacceptable for the unions since teachers are already working an average of 47 hours per week and it would mean that some teachers will be fired so that some others could work more and earn more.

The final exams in primary and middle schools were organized in special circumstances. Since there were not enough teachers in many schools to organize the exams the government obliged school principles to find replacements. Most of retired teachers refused to help showing their solidarity with younger colleagues. At the end of the day the exams were organized with help of teachers from schools that were not on strike and other public employees with pedagogical background, like… firemen.

But final high school exams (matura), that were supposed to start on May 6th, were a harder case for the government. Not only because there is more teachers needed to organize them, especially the oral part (including foreign language exams) that cannot be replaced by firemen and others, but also because of the fact that the majority of teachers in a given school is needed to accept in a vote final grades of all high school students. The government called a special session of the parliament to pass extraordinary  law (in the speediest procedure seen in Polish parliament) giving the right to give and accept final grades to school principles and even city mayors. This law would have taken the wind out of the sails of teachers.

On April 27th the teachers suspended the strike, enabling this year’s matura. Sławomir Broniarz, who announced the suspension, said ZNP was giving Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki time until September to offer specific solutions to end the deadlock.

According to Broniarz the strike could have been continued during the matura exams. However the teachers, heads of schools and parents would have to take responsibility for students. “In agreement with the students, in agreement with the parents, we have decided to suspend the strike to provide students with the conditions for graduation, but I repeat: we are suspending this protest but we are not ending it,” he stressed. The truth is that it became very difficult for teachers from smaller towns and villages to continue with this strike. The social pressure to organize the final exams was high out of Warsaw. Also, teachers get deductions from their low salaries for each day on strike, so the financial situation of many of teachers’ families, especially where both parents are teachers, became very difficult.

“As of today we are entering a new phase which will show a new aspect of our protest. Right now we are midway, but I can say with certainty that we will not sign the agreement that the government has concluded with Solidary either today, or tomorrow, or in the following days. Today we are suspending the strike, but the protest continues and will continue until our goals are achieved,” the ZNP head declared.

ZNP and opposition parties did not take part in the round table on education organized by Mateusz Morawiecki in the National Stadium. Instead, ZNP announced a real round table with all social partners. The opposition European Coalition has announced that if they win general election in Autumn teachers’ demands will be met.

Teachers lost the battle against the powerful government but they won social support for their cause and huge media attention for Polish education system. A capital that could be used in the election year.

 

Politics

Election Update

The National Electoral Commission has drawn the list numbers for electoral committees that had submitted the lists of candidates in more than one constituency for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament in May:

  • List number 1 – Confederation Korwin Braun Liroy Nationalists
  • List number 2 – Robert Biedroń’s Wiosna (Spring) Party
  • List number 3 – European Coalition (Civic Platform, Polish People’s Party and Democratic Left Alliance, Modern Party, Greens)
  • List number 4 – Law and Justice
  • List number 5 – United Left – Razem Party, Labour Union, Movement for Social Justice
  • List number 6 – Kukiz ’15

The following are the committees that have not registered lists in all of the constituencies:

  • List number 7 – Fair Play Poland Non-Partisans Gwiazdowski
  • List number 8 – True Europe Movement – Europa Christi
  • List number 9 – Polexit-Coalition

Therefore only 6 committees were able to collect signatures to register lists in all 13 constituencies. All of them, except the United Left have chances to pass the 5% threshold and get MEPs elected. It was a surprise that popular economist Robert Gwiazdowski supported by local politicians from Lower Silesia managed to register his list only in a few regions. A libertarian Gwiazdowski wanted to become the new Petru and create a new center party focused on economy but apparently his radical economic views mixed with conservatism were not attractive for the voters.

The head of the National Electoral Office (KBW) Magdalena Pietrzak informed that the voting card in the European elections will take the form of a single sheet of paper, not a whole booklet. Consequently, each voter will be able to see the lists of candidates from all the committees on one page.

The campaign in April was still very slow and rather boring with no spectacular event or new topics brought to the debate. It looks like all politicians saved their forces and idea for the last 4 weeks.

 

Karol Modzelewski died at 81

Historian specializing in medieval history, communist era dissident and opposition leader, political prisoner, recipient of the Order of the White Eagle, professor Karol Modzelewski died on April 28th in Warsaw at the age of 81.

In 1964 Modzelewski, together with Jacek Kuroń, wrote an open letter to the communist party (PZPR) in which they expressed criticism of the policy steering away from the ideals of socialism. He was one of the instigators of the students’ protests at the University of Warsaw in March 1968. It was his idea to call the trade union and the movement “Solidarność”. Later he became the first spokesperson thereof. During the communism he spent 8,5 years in prison.

He was also a senator between 1989 and 1991. At the time he ran as a candidate of the Civic Committee. In early 1990s he was a co-founder of the Solidarity Union and later of the Labour Union.

He was a professor at University of Wrocław and Warsaw University. He was a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and its vice president between 2007-2010. Modzelewski received Nike Literary Award for his autobiography “We’ll Ride the Mare of History to the Ground: Confessions of a Bruised Rider”.

 

 Society

Anti-Semitic Tradition Reborn?

Video of anti-Semitic Easter revival in which kids take sticks to Judas doll sparks outrage among both Poles and Jews. The Good Friday ritual in Pruchnik, south-eastern Poland, was filmed and posted by a Polish news website. In the Pruchnik ritual – part of Roman Catholic Easter celebrations – children crowded round the effigy beating it with sticks, as adults dragged it through the streets. The mock Judas had a big red nose, black hat and Orthodox-style ringlets.

The Easter ritual known as “Judgment over Judas” dates back to the 18th century and continued to be regularly performed until the WWII. The tradition had been largely abandoned. Shockingly for many Poles, this ritual was brought back to life this year.

“The Catholic Church will never tolerate manifestations of contempt towards members of any nation, including the Jewish people,” bishop Rafał Markowski, head of the catholic Committee for Dialogue with Judaism, said, describing his view as the official position of the church.

Joachim Brudzinski, minister of interior and person number 2 in PiS, called the ritual “idiotic, pseudo-religious chutzpah” and asked why “Satans” revived the abandoned tradition.

The statements came after the World Jewish Congress on Sunday expressed its “disgust and outrage.”

Only Polish far right is defending the Pruchnik events. Janusz Korwin-Mikke, former MEP and one the leaders of newly created far right Confederation said that footage of locals beating an effigy of a Jew shows that his country is being spied on by Jews or Freemasons. Another Confederation’s leader Robert Winnicki, MP elected from Kukiz’15, appealed to the ministry of culture to “protect the ritual and to start a procedure to recognize it as UNESCO heritage”.

 

Economy

New Roads under Threat

The General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA) has pulled out of two road-building contracts with Italian Salini Impregilio and could impose fines of about PLN 193 million (EUR 44 million).

The GDDKiA announced it had cancelled agreements for the Częstochowa bypass, part of the A1 highway that connects Gdańsk with the Czech Republic, and part of the S3 road near Polkowice in Lower Silesia. Salini owes around PLN 5 million and PLN 41 million respectively to the contractors of both roads.

In February the Italian company requested additional PLN 1,215 billion (EUR 282 million) due to an increase in price of building materials. The Italian companies have threatened to not finish the road construction if they are not paid by March 15th. After the winter break they did not come back to the construction sites with full speed or at all, making it impossible to finish the works on time.

It is not decided yet who will finish the works and how this new contractor will be selected. One is known for sure, the delays in the construction will be counted in months, and almost for sure will be longer than year.

 

Poland in G20?

In an optimistic scenario, Poland will become a member of the G20 group in 2029, the Polish Economic Institute wrote in a report.

“According to the latest analyses of the International Monetary Fund, GDP in Poland will continue to grow over the next five years. This growth will oscillate around 3 pct annually, which is a slowdown compared to the last two years, when the GDP growth was around 5 pct annually,” the report states.

Today Poland is World’s 22nd biggest economy with a good forecast of growth for the next 5 years, bringing the country closer to the G20 goal.

 

New LNG Import Terminal

Piotr Naimski, the government’s adviser on strategic energy infrastructure projects, said that Poland is planning to install an LNG floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in the Bay of Gdansk by 2024-25 to meet growing Polish and regional gas demand.

Naimski was speaking during a signing ceremony for a EUR 128 million grant to help finance the expansion of the existing 5 Bcm/year Świnoujście LNG import terminal to 7.5 Bcm/year as Poland looks to wean itself of Russian pipeline gas imports. Warsaw is diversifying its gas suppliers to end its dependence on Russian pipeline gas, with the new storage also set to give Poland the opportunity to become a gateway for gas supplies in Central and Eastern Europe in 2020s. The government official said that the Baltic Pipe and expanded LNG capacity would allow “so much gas to come to Poland and go through Poland that we could offer it also to our neighbors in the south, to Ukraine and also to Lithuania, because we will also be connected by gas pipeline to Lithuania.”

Polish gas demand will rise by up to 4 Bcm/year from around 18 Bcm this year to 21-22 Bcm in 2023-24.

 

Innovation

More EU Funds for Innovations in Eastern Poland

According to Puls Biznesu, economical daily newspaper, the European Union will subsidize companies in eastern Poland with PLN 800 million (EUR 187 million) in funds to boost innovation in the region. 694 companies in the East of Poland have already received a combined PLN 1 billion (EUR 230 million) in EU subsidies for innovation and research and development.

Polish Deputy Investment and Development Minister Adam Hamryszczak was reported to say that subsidizing innovation “makes companies more competitive, provides jobs for experts, and makes the region develop.”

 

Tech against Smog

Two coal miners from Jastrzębie-Zdrój Michał Kaczorek and Michał Szyszkowski designed and constructed the benches which detect and purify dirty air in their workshop, set up in a backyard garage.

The benches are equipped with a sensor to measure particles in the air and light up red, yellow or green, depending on the amount of matter – red signifies a high amount, green for a low amount. The benches include a purifying system which can clean 860 cubic meters of air per hour – equivalent to the amount of air in a room which is 80 square meters in size (861 square foot).

Smog is one of the most visible Polish environmental problems, especially in the South. Polish cities belong to the most polluted in Europe. Because of the air pollution more politicians and business people are willing to invest in ecology since there is a growing pressure from the society to fight for the clean air.

 

Foreign Affairs

Poland’s New Image

The PiS government, hoping to get some better press in the world, ordered a documentary film on the history of Poland the country’s current situation and culture. The “Royal Tour” was directed by US journalist Peter Greenberg and produced by the government-dependent Polish National Foundation for American TV channel PBS.

Peter Greenberg has produced and co-hosted these specials with heads of state ranging from the King of Jordan to the President of Rwanda, from the Prime Minister of New Zealand to the President of Mexico, among many others.

Its premiere was organized in Los Angeles on April 15th and was hosted by deputy PM Piotr Gliński. Later it was screened in Chicago and New York. PBS showed it a week later.

The main character in the movie is Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s current PM. The history of Poland is told alongside Morawiecki’s history. Prime Minister says: “With this film I will show the beauty of the country to people who do not know this country well, which is most of the people in the world.” The Poland narrative he wants to tell is heroic: a country that was an early proponent of democracy, blessed with natural and cultural beauty, populated by hospitable, cultured people and safer to visit than most old EU states.

For an entire week, Morawiecki became the ultimate guide, showcasing the visual gems of Poland, including the vibrant cities of Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdynia and Krakow, and even taking a boat ride to Hel. They also pay an emotional visit to Auschwitz, and reflect on its tragic history. I was said that the organization of the shoots throughout the whole country, with the participation of the government leader, proved to be a monumental logistical and organizational challenge that the production team overcame.

 

He also gives explanations of current Polish political and economic situation by saying that as Poland emerged from the shadow of communism “we were in a relatively weak position to tell our own story.” To explain in part why Poland had to struggle to make its voice heard, he quoted Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky: “Colonization by Western capital.”

 

See a excerpt from the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0DCMRApOsQ

 

Former Deputy PM runs for the EP elections. In the UK

Jacek Rostowski, a former Polish minister of finance and deputy prime minister has announced that he is to stand as a candidate in the upcoming European parliamentary elections for Change UK.

Born in London in 1951, Jan Vincent Rostowski served in two Polish governments at a time when Donald Tusk was the PM. In 2014 he was Civic Platform’s lead candidate in EP elections in Bydgoszcz constituency but #2 on the same list got more votes and Rostowski was not elected. Now Rostowski is in second place on Change UK’s list in the Great London constituency. “If I am elected I will represent all European citizens in London, firstly British, but also Poles, French, Spaniards, everyone,” he said.

In Poland Rostowski’s announcement was a big surprise. PiS used it as an opportunity to criticize the Civic Platform, saying that a former PM should not represent other country, but also that is obvious that PO politicians can run from any place in Europe since they don’t feel connected to Poland. On the other side Rostowski’s colleagues stressed that this is the beauty of the EU that every citizen can run from wherever they want representing all European citizens.

Change UK is a political party founded in February and registered in April 2019. The group’s seven founding members were MPs who resigned from the Labour Party, citing their dissatisfaction with the Labour leadership’s approach to Brexit and its handling of anti-Semitism within the party. They were joined by some anti-Brexit Conservative MPs. Two MEPs elected in 2014 as Conservatives have affiliated to the group.

 

Neighbors’ New Presidents. Different Approaches.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has immediately congratulated Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his victory in the presidential elections in Ukraine and invited him to visit Poland. “Poland is ready to offer comprehensive assistance to Ukraine in the sphere of security and state reforms”, said Andrzej Duda one day after the final elections in Ukraine. “You can count on my personal commitment in this matter − wrote President Andrzej Duda in a congratulatory letter to Zelensky.

On the other side, Zuzana Čaputová newly elected president of Slovakia had to wait two days for a congratulation message. Polish media reported that this was very atypical for a newly elected head of state to receive congratulations that late. For sure Adrzej Duda was sad Andrej Kiska was leaving the office in Bratislava. Kiska was one of his favorite ski-mates, and all Poles know Duda loves to ski… But perhaps it took so long to write a letter to Zuzana Čaputová because she became a hero for Polish liberal opposition who sees in this brave, pro-European environmental lawyer who supports gay marriage a role model for Poland and hope for the V4.

 

Berlin Process in Warsaw, before Poznan

Berlin Process Ministerial Meeting started on April 11th at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. The meeting is foreseen as a preparation for the 6th Summit of the Berlin Process to be held this year on July 5th in Poznań, while the goal is to review what the participating countries have achieved during the past year so as to identify the achievements, challenges and opportunities for Western Balkans countries.

Besides foreign ministers from Western Balkans, also ministers from Germany, Bulgaria, Austria, Italy, Greece, Great Britain, an official from EEAS and RYCO Duro Blanusa attended the meeting.

Within the three envisaged sessions, the foreign ministers had the opportunity to share their views and experiences regarding the deepening of regional cooperation and resolving open bilateral disputes, enlarging the areas of cooperation of the youth in the region, with an emphasis on the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) as well as expectations in terms of the benefits of the Poznań Summit.

 

Culture

Shocking Banana

Jerzy Miziołek, the new director of the National Museum of Warsaw announced in April that he intends to remove the 1973 video “Consumer Art” by artist Natalia LL, which depicts a naked woman eating a banana in a suggestive manner. Miziołek said he was “opposed to showing works that could irritate sensitive young people.” These words raised concerns that the museum was censoring its content.

Miziołek was appointed by the government only last November. Miziolek quickly denied claims that the decision had been influenced by culture minister Piotr Gliński or that he had been summoned to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The ministry backed director’s stance, writing in a statement: “The director of the National Museum in Warsaw was not called to the ministry regarding the reorganization of the Gallery of 20th and 21st Century Art, which he himself admits today in a statement.”

Artists, journalists and politicians protested. Social media profiles became yellow from pictures of Poles eating bananas. Almost one thousand people attended banana-eating demonstration outside the National Museum.

In a statement, board members of the foundation that manages Natalia LL’s archive, said they were “outraged by the open censorship” and that the museum “should not be afraid of exhibiting thought-provoking works of an existential nature”. They add: “Through her art, Natalia LL was never afraid of asking difficult questions, and we certainly should not be afraid to answer them. We would like to express our opposition and indignation towards the policy of the National Museum in Warsaw and the Ministry of Culture.”

Critics have noted that Natalia LL’s work is not only a comment on feminism but is also a symbol of freedom, given that bananas were scarce in 1970s Poland under communist rule. “The Art Newspaper” quoted Marisa Bellani, the founder and director of Roman Road, which represents the artist in London: “The work is more about the lack of consumption as opposed to the consumerist world. It is about the lack of supplies in a repressed country and the impossibility for people to consume the food that should be essential. It is an analogy of the impossibility for women to consume their own desire and have full access to their sexuality.”

Natalia LL is visual artist working in photography and experimental videos and installations. In years 1957-1963 Natalia LL – born Natalia Lach-Lachowicz in 1937 in Żywiec – studied at the PWSSP (current the Academy of Fine Arts) in Wrocław. The Guardian in 2017, described her as “a neglected early-1970s Polish-born pioneer of feminist avant garde image making”.

After the protests the controversial images came back to the Musuem.

 

See Natalia LL’s work: https://vimeo.com/118258337

 

Warlikowski and Dąbrowski Awarded

Krzysztof Warlikowski and Waldemar Dąbrowski are among the winners of 2019 International Opera Awards. Considered opera’s answer to the Oscars, the awards celebrate achievements in opera around the globe over the last calendar year in a wide range of categories. This year, the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award went to legendary soprano Leontyne Price.

Krzysztof Warlikowski was awarded in the new production category for his From the House of the Dead in the Royal Opera House in London. From the House of the Dead is an opera in three acts by Leoš Janáček. The libretto was translated and adapted by the composer from the 1862 novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski is one of the leading lights in modern opera, acclaimed for his psychologically acute, impassioned and often spectacular productions. It is his debut in the UK.

Waldemar Dąbrowski was awarded with the Good Governance Award for Leadership in Opera. Dąbrowski was first appointed General Manager of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in 1998. From 2002 to 2005, he was minister of culture of Poland. His greatest achievements include the passing of the cinematographic bill resulting in the establishment of the Polish Film Institute. In 2004 he set up the CHOPIN 2010 programme. He gave a new shape to the Fryderyk Chopin Institute and he ascribed to it the responsibility for the newly built Chopin Museum and Żelazowa Wola. As Minister of Culture he founded the Book Institute in Kraków, whose mission is to popularise exceptional literature and writers in Poland and abroad, as well as to organise study visits for translators. He also established the Theatre Institute and the Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw. In November 2010 in Munich he was elected a member of the board of the Opera Europa, an organization for professional opera companies in Europe.

 

See a trailer of the awarded opera by Warlikowski: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcwdIw3dXz4

 

Germany and Poland

Poland and Germany Halt Russian Oil

Poland and Germany have suspended imports of Russian oil via a major pipeline, citing poor quality and triggering a rare crisis over supply from the world’s second-largest crude exporter. This move cut off a major supply route for Polish refineries owned by Poland’s PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos, as well as plants in Germany owned by Total, Shell, Eni and Rosneft. Halting supplies of tainted oil, which can corrode refining units, has pushed some refiners to find other supplies. But alternative routes cannot fully fill the shortfall. Russian producer contaminated oil with high levels of organic chloride, which is typically used to boost oil output but which must be separated before shipment as it can destroy refining equipment.

After joint talks in the Belarus capital on Friday, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said in a statement that Poland, Germany, Ukraine and Russia had agreed on joint measures to eliminate the effects of the contamination.

Vladimir Putin said the government would consider carrying out a wider inquiry if the Transneft oil company probe doesn’t go far enough. “First of all, of course, it is necessary to conduct an investigation at the level of Transneft itself, and to identify the place from which it came from, for what reasons, what it was and so on. This investigation is ongoing,” Putin said.

 

Too Noisy Trains

Polish government argues that German government is moving too fast in bringing in a ban on old, noisy rail wagons.

Poland fears that German plans to bring forward a ban on old noisy train cars by four years to December 2020 will mean Polish freight trains being stopped at the border, or having to travel on much longer routs via southern countries to get to Atlantic ports. “This would halt the further development and expansion of Polish rail freight operators in West European markets,” Andrzej Bittel, Poland’s deputy infrastructure minister.

Poland has negotiated an exemption from European rules allowing it to operate noisier freight trains until December 2036. On the other side Germany has invested already over EUR 1 billion in modern wagons and wants to ban loud trains four years before the EU deadline. “Noise protection from rail means quality of life at home,” said Germany’s transport minister Andreas Scheuer. “The railway will be a good, and quiet, neighbor and as soon as it becomes demonstrably quieter for the residents, the acceptance that we need to shift more traffic to the railways will increase.”

 

Polls & Trends

 

Party Support

IBRiS for Dziennik.pl and Radio Zet, 28 April 2019

 

PiS                                                                                         38,7%   (-0,3)

European Coalition (PO+SLD+PSL+N+Greens)    33%       (-3,5)

Wiosna                                                                               8,2%      (+2,1)

Kukiz’15                                                                              5,4%      (-0,6)

Konfederacja                                                                    4,3%      (+0,4)

Lewica Razem                                                                  3,2%      (+1,2)

Fair Play                                                                             0,2%      (-1,8)

 

 

Who Has Been the Best President in Poland after 1989?

SW Research for Rp.pl

 

Aleksander Kwaśniewski (1995-2005)                     36%

Lech Kaczyński (2005-2010)                                        12%

Andrzej Duda (2015- )                                                   12%

Lech Wałęsa (1990-1995)                                             8%

Bronisław Komorowski (2005-2010)                        5%

Wojciech Jaruzelski (1989-1990)                               2%

Hard to say                                                                        25%

 

First Communion Costs

May is the month of First Communion in Catholic Church. Thousands of 8/9-year-olds catholic Poles will participate in their First Communion and their parents will throw parties for family members and friends.

This year parents will spend on average some PLN 1150 on the party and presents. It is PLN 45 more than last year. The present will cost present will cost PLN 600 (EUR 125). The average price of a present bought online is PLN 550.

Most of the families see the First Communion as a high-cost occasion and prepare themselves way in advance. 60% of the families finance this event with savings.

What are the most popular presents:

  1. Bikes
  2. Skate boards
  3. Religious objects
  4. Watches
  5. Scooters
  6. Smartphones
  7. Roller skates
  8. Smartwatches
  9. Video games
  10. Sport cameras
  11. Cameras

(Based on Barometr Porvidenta and Ceneo.pl.)

 

About the author ____________________________________________

MiloszMiłosz Hodun

Expert at the Nowoczesna party. PhD, formerly a part-time teacher at Reykjavik University School of Law. His main areas of interest are comparative constitutional law and federalism. Board member of Projekt: Polska Association. Until September 2015, he worked as an expert within “Presidential Experts’ Programme” at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland. He is member of the Board of Directors of the European Liberal Forum.