From Poland With Love – August 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

We don’t jail people for doing good

The fact that the Polish public TV is the biggest fake news factory in the country has been well known. But news about the justice ministry becoming a national center of hate speech electrified Poland in July.

Onet.pl news site reported that deputy justice minister Łukasz Piebiak encouraged an online blogger and hater, identified as Emilia, to discredit some judges who had been critical of PiS government. Emilia is understood to be the wife of a pro-government judge with close ties to the justice ministry.

Minister Piebiak reportedly furnished Emilia with personal data of the targeted judges in violation of Poland’s privacy laws (i.a. GDPR). He used access to special files of the ministry to collect information about private life of critical judges, including about their children.

The main target of the hate speech campaign was Krystian Markiewicz, a judge and law professor who serves as the head of Iustitia, an association of Polish judges that has been fiercely critical of attempts to assert direct control over the appointment, promotion and discipline of all the country’s judges. One component of the Piebiak’s plan was to circulate a paper full of unsubstantiated allegations about Markiewicz’s private life. Responding to blogger’s suggestion, the deputy minister is alleged to have written: “I think it will help. It is important that it sweeps through Iustitia to let them know who we are dealing with. People will spread it, and Markiewicz will fade away, knowing what we have on him.” The paper was distributed to more than 2.500 people, mostly journalists and judges associated with Iustitia.

Markiewicz told tvn24: “We are dealing with systematic actions taken against judges, against the rule of law in Poland. If such an attack can be made against judges and professors, it means it can be made against everyone.”

Emilia voiced concern that it might get her into trouble if it came out what she did, but minister Piebiak appeared to offer her immunity in return. “We don’t jail people for doing good,” he wrote. She was looking for help sending emails to Jarosław Kaczyński. Emilia admitted to Onet.pl that her campaign may have harmed up to 20 judges.

In another alleged exchange, the deputy minister and the blogger discussed a plan to share with media details of an alleged extra-marital affair involving another judge from of Iustitia. The allegations were broadcast on state television in May 2018, after which Emilia wrote to Piebiak asking whether he approved of the result. Piebiak is alleged to have replied: “Great, I am just sending it to the boss, to make him happy.”

The sentence about the boss raises an important question if the deputy minister acted alone or was doing it in cooperation with “the boss”. And who is his boss? The simple answer is: minister Zbigniew Ziobro.  It is unclear whether Ziobro, the justice minister, was aware of the campaign, but it is likely he was. Opposition parties and civil society demands his immediate demission. People gather in city centers and by the courts to protest about the injustice and hatred in the ministry.

Nobody believes that the public prosecutors can run an independent investigation. Zbigniew Ziobro is both justice minister and prosecutor general. He controls all prosecutors and can intervene in any case. He would not allow any real investigation against himself. The only person who could do something about this situation is PM Mateusz Morawiecki. But he depends on Jarosław Kaczyński who is not going to act against powerful minister Ziobro, lead candidate in Kraków in the October elections. Mateusz Morawiecki, said in a statement that “I demanded explanations from the minister of justice in this matter. We will see what these explanations will be and take the appropriate decisions”.

So far only Łukasz Piebiak resigned. It was important to mention that Piebiak is himself a judge who was contracted by the ministry. He was a regional judge, who played a leading role in the controversial judiciary reform that gave his boss, minister Ziobro, new competences, including the power to dismiss court presidents, and the appointment to key positions of PiS-leaning judges with close professional and personal links to the minister himself. Ziobro used these powers and promoted mediocre judges, also judges with disciplinary problems, so that they will be thankful and loyal to him. Consequences of such policy we can see now…

The network within the ministry is compared to mafia by many liberal commentators, and Emilia to a crown witness who can expose all the abnormalities. “I apologize to those who I have smeared. I regret it. I wish I could turn back time” – reads a statement published by “Gazeta Wyborcza”, written by Emilia. “Poland, the Poles, must find out the truth about the propaganda machine and destroying of people in Poland,” she added.

Dozens of screen shots of conversations on WhatsApp group were published. It was a group of PiS-friendly judges who were exchanging idea on how to discredit other, critical, judges. One of the ideas was to organize a campaign of hateful and vulgar postcards to prof. Małgorzata Gersdorf, president of the Supreme Court, who was fighting passionately for the independence of the judiciary in Poland.  It was an idea of judge Konrad Wytrykowski, member of the newly created Disciplinary Chamber in the Supreme Court. There were more judges from this Chamber and new National Committee of the Judiciary, both fully dominated by PiS, on the WhatsApp list. They were all appointed by PiS to ensure a moral renewal of the judiciary. And indeed they brought new standers, organizing a mass hate speech campaign against their more successful colleagues with use of public funds and classified information.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Warsaw University political scientist Anna Materska-Sosnowska said that: “This is an assault on the judicial branch coming from the justice ministry, so the scope of this scandal is beyond any scale,” adding, “In normal circumstances this should provoke an earthquake and a wave of dismissals at the justice ministry. Will it happen two months ahead of elections? I don’t think so.”

 

Politics

Campaign Again

Polish president Andrzej Duda announced that the country will hold its parliamentary election on October 13th, therefore in the earliest day possible, according to the law. Also, as expected, Andrzej Duda waited with this announcement as long as he could so that the campaign is as short as possible, only 2 months. Such a short campaign makes it difficult for small parties that can face difficulties in collecting necessary signatures. In Poland each list must be supported by at least 5.000 signatures in a constituency (and there is 41 of them), and by at least 2.000 signatures for each senator candidate (100 constituencies). This eliminates smaller players.

So who is running? Most of the information delivered in the previous edition of the Newsletter can be confirmed. It will be mostly a battle between PiS and the Civic Coalition, an alliance of Civic Platform, Nowoczesna and popular local mayors with support of smaller parties, the Greens and Polish Initiative. It is rather clear for all commentators that PiS will win the elections again but the main question is if it will have enough seats to govern by itself for another four years. And this depends on who else will be represented in the Sejm. And how strong they will be.

After four years without social democrats in the Polish parliament the left-wing parties have learned their lesson and decided to run together. They also excluded the possibility of running as a coalition (8% threshold) and are running on SLD’s ticket. SLD announced that it wanted to officially change its name into “Lewica” (Left) so that supporters of two other coalition parties, Wiosna and Razem, will not have to vote for SLD (Wiosna and Razem were created as an alternative for SLD, describing SLD as an post-communist, conservative and only nominally left-wing party). But the court did not agree on that and at the end of the name “SLD” will appear on ballots. The left coalition gets secure third place in all polls, with 11-13%.

Fourth is the exotic coalition of PSL and Kukiz’15. In other words, a coalition of agrarian party that is a symbol of establishment and nepotism in small towns and villages with an anti-establishment movement. Some years ago Paweł Kukiz was calling PSL “mafia” but today he wants to be reelected so badly that he forms an electoral union with Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, popular peasants’ leader. Creation of this alliance provoked ultimate erosion of Kukiz’15 as a party. Even more MPs left the group and now it consists of only 16 MPs, compared to 42 at the beginning of the term. The coalition polls at 6%.

Behind this top 4 is the far right Konfederacja. It is a bit different from the Konfederacja known from EP elections, since half of its eccentric leaders felt offended by the other half and left (including former rapper and current MP Liroy and pro-life leader Kaja Godek). They are polling at 4-5% and may become a new difficult coalition partner of PiS.

According to pollsters there is also a chance for the opposition to get the majority, if the Civic Coalition gets over 30% of votes, the Left around 13% and PSL 6%.

There is one more chance to stop PiS in the next term, even without the majority in the Sejm. The key is to win majority in the Senate. The Senate scrutinizes debates and can reject legislation passed by the Sejm, so it can slow down or even stop some of initiatives of the government.

The Senate is chosen on a system of first-past-the-post, whereby the candidate who wins most votes in a given constituency is duly elected. Civic Coalition, the Left and PSL have joined forces to try to win a majority in the upper house of parliament. By agreeing not to put up rival candidates, the opposition parties increase their chances of defeating PiS. KO will nominate candidates in 76 constituencies, the Left in 6 and PSL in 16.

Not everywhere there will be only two candidates though. For example in one of four Warsaw constituencies Civic Platform nominated as its candidate a former PiS MEP and minister of culture, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski, known for his conservatism (especially if it comes to abortion and women rights). Many liberal opposition voters can’t accept such a right wing candidate and are helping to collect signatures for Paweł Kasprzyk, leader of a rather radical opposition group named Obywatele RP (Citizens of the Republic). In other part of Warsaw the only SLD member of the city council Monika Jaruzelska will run against the coalition candidate. Jaruzelska, daughter of the last communist party leader, wanted to run for Sejm but the left wing coalition didn’t give her a high position on the list.

In Łódź, on the other hand, the coalition decided to withdraw its candidate and support an independent candidate Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. Kwiatkowski was a Civic Plaftorm MP and justice minister, for last years he has served as a head of the Polish Highest Court of Auditors (NIK). He quit his position, two weeks before his term ended, and announced his start in the senate race in his home town.

PiS was quick to dismiss the opposition initiative. One PiS senator, Jan Maria Jackowski, told the Wyborcza.pl portal that according to his party’s analysis, PiS was still on track to win more than half of the seats in the Senate.

 

Madame Marshal

In Poland the speaker of the Sejm is traditionally called a Marshal (marszałek) and according to the Constitution they are second most important person in the country. And a new one was just elected by MPs, in a consequence of the Kuchciński Air scandal.

Speaker of the Sejm Marek Kuchciński (PiS) was flying together with his family in the government’s plane. Radio Zet’s journalists came across documents confirming six flights during which Kuchciński was on board together with members of his family and State Protection Service officers. Kuchciński family didn’t pay for the trips. Later it was reported that Kuchciński could have made around 100 trips like that from Warsaw to Rzeszów. All of them were reported as official business trips of the speaker, but many were simply for campaigning and party politics reasons. It became obvious that Kuchciński used the governmental jet as a taxi for him and his family (Read more in the July edition of the Newsletter). He had to resign.

Three days before the resignation, he apologized for using a government Gulfstream for a total of 23 flights with his family. Jaroslaw Kaczynski declared that Kuchciński’s decision to step down as Sejm Marshal was part of the formation’s high standards for public life.

Poland’s minister of the interior and administration, Elżbieta Witek, has been chosen by MPs as the new speaker. Witek won backing from 245 of the 419 lawmakers present in the 460-seat house. Małgorzata Kidawa-Blońska, backed by PO and Nowoczesna, won the support of 135 lawmakers.

Witek was a schoolteacher for 25 years before becoming an MP for PiS  in 2005. Her career is closely linked to her friend Beata Szydło, former PM and current MEP. In June this year, she had been appointed minister of interior and administration in a governmental reshuffle following the departure of some PiS ministers to serve in the European Parliament. She was by her own admission surprised to have been named minister saying at the time that she didn’t know much about the ministry but was able to learn fast. “The prime minister must have seen something in me that will help me fulfill my mission.  This is a difficult ministry but I have quite a broad political experience and my skills enabled me to receive this appointment,” she added.

So after 60 day of being a minister she was replaced by Mariusz Kamiński, a minister-coordinator of secret services. In 2006-2009 he headed the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA). Critics said Kamiński and his associates had pursued graft with excessive zeal when in office, using methods they said sometimes circumvented laws and also hounded innocent people. In March 2015, Kamiński was sentenced to three years in jail and a 10-year ban on holding public posts for overstepping his powers while being the head of the Bureau. In November 2015, after being pardoned by President Duda, he was named the coordinator of special services.

The pardon was a highly controversial question among lawyers. In May 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the presidential right to pardon applies only to individuals who have completed the legal process and therefore the legal case against Kamiński could be resumed. In July 2018 Constitutional Court, packed by PiS loyalists, ruled that the president has the right to grant pardons to individuals at any stage of the legal process, and not only after they have been convicted.

 

Foreign Affairs

Zelensky: New Start of Bilateral Relations

Volodymyr Zelensky suggested that Vladimir Putin hold direct talks in Minsk with the participation of the US president, the UK prime minister, the German chancellor and the French president. Poland supports the proposal by Ukrainian president to expand the Normandy format on settling the conflict in Donbas and to invite the United States and the United Kingdom to these negotiations. “I am aware of President Zelensky’s proposal to enlarge the Normandy format, for example, to invite the US and the UK. I think it’s a good way, a good path to follow,” Polish minister of foreign affairs Jacek Czaputowicz said.

For many years Poland played the role of Ukraine’s advocate in the EU. This has changed with the PiS government that distanced itself from the Ukrainian affairs. It can’t be denied that both Szydło and Morawiecki administrations were loudly opposing Russian aggression and were vocal in favor of the Ukrainian territorial integrity, but Kyiv did not see Warsaw as key partner in Europe any more. It is said that election of Volodymyr Zelensky as a new president of Ukraine can bring new opening in bilateral relations.

Zelensky visited Poland in August. An official ceremony of the meeting of both heads of states was held in Warsaw. They began to communicate in tête-à-tête format in the presidential palace, and then negotiations were scheduled for delegations chaired by the presidents. They discussed topics of Ukrainian territorial integrity, common history (excavation and exhumation efforts aimed at finding the remains of Polish and Ukrainian troops killed in WWII and its aftermath), trade and energy. Zelensky also met with Mateusz Moravecki, Senate speaker Stanisław Karczewski and business representatives.

Volodymyr Zelensky expressed delight at the results of talks he held on Sunday in Warsaw. According to the Ukrainian President they marked “not a thaw, but a breakthrough in relations.”

 

Economy

Balance

Poland’s government has proposed the country’s first balanced central government budget in three decades, projecting both spending and revenue at PLN 429,5 billion.  Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that he expected the central government deficit to fall to zero in 2020, which would ensure that Poland was on “a good economic course” despite a macroeconomic environment clouded by a German slowdown and fears of a US-China trade war. “We have economic growth that is three times faster than in the Eurozone, and even four or five times faster than some states in western Europe,” Morawiecki stressed.

Robust economic growth and improved tax collection has kept Poland’s deficits low in recent years, despite substantial welfare spending, like famous “Family 500+” child benefit programme. Last year’s deficit totaled PLN 10,4 billion.

Experts say that the plans for a balanced central government budget, based on the assumption that Poland’s economy will grow by 3,7% next year, were achievable. But they immediately add that some assumptions are optimistic and that the balanced budget would largely be due to one-off effects, such as the proceeds from a pension reform, a 5G auction and the sale of CO2 permits. Another almost PLN 15 billion will come from improvements in tax collection and PLN 5,2 billion will come from changes to social security system payments. Higher alcohol taxes are expected to bring in PLN 1,1 billion, and changes to the ecological tax an additional 1,4 billion.

Opposition calls this announcements as a pre-election gimmick. Although the central government budget is projected to be in balance, the general government budget — which includes social security and local government outlays — is forecast to be 0,3% in deficit.

Nowoczesna MP Monika Rosa commented this government’s propaganda with a question: “If the situation is so good why there’s no money for Polish schools that are in terrible shape or for Polish hospitals where people die in ERs because of the lack of funding?”. “From this perspective this is the most neo-liberal government that Poland has ever had. They give some benefits but force people to buy services in private sector if it comes to health care and education. And these benefits are far from covering new expences,” she added.

“There’s supposed to be no budget deficit in 2020,” Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, the mayor of Gdansk wrote on Twitter. “Did it evaporate? It is being pushed on to local governments instead: for example there are pay rises for teachers, an increase in energy prices and lower income tax receipts. In Gdansk that is minus 160m zloty ($40.6m).”

 

Innovations and Technologies

China-free 5G

The USA and Poland declared suppliers of 5G network equipment should be rigorously evaluated for foreign government control. Andrzej Duda and Mike Pence signed an agreement to tighten guidelines of 5G network security. “Protecting these next generation communications networks from disruption or manipulation and ensuring the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of the United States, Poland, and other countries is of vital importance,” the agreement reportedly states.

The joint declaration didn’t mention Huawei Technologies Co. by name but said Poland would carefully review any company interested in building new, faster 5G internet infrastructure to establish “whether the supplier is subject, without independent judicial review, to control by a foreign government.” Huawei has been strong in Poland until the January scandal when its employee and Polish ex-security service officer were accused for espionage (see the February issue of the Newsletter). Huawei denied the charges, but it has remained under scrutiny.

 

Read more: https://www.premier.gov.pl/en/news/news/joint-declaration-made-by-poland-and-the-united-states-of-america-with-regard-to-5g.html

 

Environment

Contaminated Vistula

Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski has been dealing with his first crisis connected with the city management (first real political crisis was connected with the LGBT+ Declaration. Read more in April edition of the Newsletter). Two sewage pipes constructed under the Vistula river got damaged and the city authorities took decision about pumping part of the Warsaw sewage directly to the river. The sewage is being discharged at about 3.000 liters a second at Warsaw’s northern edge and goes north without affecting the city’s waters, authorities said.

The health minister and local authorities said they have been closely monitoring the levels of contamination north of the Polish capital. Minister Łukasz Szumowski advised people not to fish or bathe in the Vistula and to boil water before use, even for brushing teeth.”There is no reason for panic and there is no threat to the health of Warsaw residents,” Rafal Trzaskowski said.

The government used the opportunity and attacked a popular Civic Coalition mayor. PiS politicians were talking about the “environmental catastrophe” accusing the capital city leadership of hiding the information from citizens and putting their health in danger.

A media conflict raised. Both sides were trying to proof they are the only ones doing some real job against the damage. Trzaskowski started to clean the sewage with ozone. The government called for the army to build a floating bridge and build a temporary pipe on it.

 

Culture

An Officer and a Spy. Success before the Premiere

Roman Polański’s “An Officer and a Spy” about the anti-Semitic Dreyfus affair is France’s biggest-budgeted film slated for theaters this year. The €25.5 million historical espionage thriller is based on Robert Harris’ novel and headlined by Oscar-winning actor Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) and Mathieu Amalric (“At Eternity’s Gate”). Since unveiling the film’s first footage at Cannes, Paris-based sales company Playtime has pre-sold it to Japan, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Israel, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia.

The movie and the director brought controversies during the Film Festival in Venice. At the opening press conference, journalists pushed the Festival director Alberto Barbera and jury president Lucrecia Martel to address the inclusion of a new Polanski film. Barbera defended including Polanski’s film in competition for the prestigious Golden Lion Award contributing to the decades-long discussion about the verdict pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl and has been a fugitive for over 40 years.

“I am convinced that we have to distinguish between the artist and the man,” Barbera said. “The history of art is full of artists who committed crimes of different nature, of a different seriousness. Nevertheless, we have continued to consider and to admire in many cases their works of art. And the same is true of Polański who is my opinion, one of the last masters still active in European cinema.”

On the other side, Lucrecia Martel, an Argentinian director who is presiding over the jury evaluating the 21 films in competition, offered a more complex response. Martel noted that Polański’s victim, Samantha Geimer, has long called for an end to the case that limits the director’s movements to a few European countries. But she also said the jury president, she does not separate the artist from the actions of the man. She said she would not attend the gala dinner for Polański.

Luca Barbareschi, a producer of “An Officer and a Spy”, threatened to pull the film after these comments.

The controversies continue also in the US. In the press notes for “An Officer and a Spy”, the 86-year-old director from Poland is portrayed as a persecuted victim of “neo-feminist McCarthyism” in an interview with the French polemicist Pascal Bruckner. The author compares Polański’s current treatment to what the director endured as “a Jew who was hunted during the war and a film-maker persecuted by the Stalinists in Poland”. “Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the case,” Polański answers when asked how he would “survive the present-day neo-feminist McCarthyism”.

The director also commented that a miscarriage of justice such as the one in the Dreyfus affair that scandalized France at the turn of the previous century, could happen again today. “All the ingredients are there for it to happen,” Polański says. “False accusations, lousy court proceedings, corrupt judges, and above all ‘social media’ that convict and condemn without a fair trial or a right of appeal.”

 

Read the movie review: https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/jaccuse-an-office-and-a-spy-review-roman-polanski-1203319146/

 

Germany and Poland

80 Years

On September 1st the World commemorated the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the World War II. Of course, the main celebration was organized in Poland. Donald Trump canceled his visit last minute. But Angela Merkel confirmed her presence shortly before the event.

Minutes before 5am on 1 September 1939, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired at a garrison of Polish soldiers stationed on the Westerplatte peninsula, part of what was then the internationally administered city of Danzig, today- Gdańsk in Poland.

The PiS government used the anniversary to promote Poland’s image as a victim of German aggression and develop its narrative about debts that have not been paid back yet. Morawiecki gave some interviews for German media to strengthen his message. “The experience of Poland in the Second World War greatly differed from Western European countries,” he wrote in a sponsored text published in “Die Welt”. “The occupation of France and Poland was incomparable.”

The government hoped that Donald Trump’s speech would become the main attraction of the day and will be used in the election campaign as direct support for PiS. But hurricane Dorian stopped the US president home (this is the official version). And he was replaced by Mike Pence, who kept his remarks broadly focused on Polish suffering and the importance of faith in God.

US vice president was joined by Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who used the occasion to once again apologize for his country’s actions in the war. “My country unleashed a horrific war that would cost more than 50 million people — among them millions of Polish citizens — their lives,” Steinmeier said. “This war was a German crime.” “I bow in mourning to the suffering of the victims,” he added. “I ask for forgiveness for Germany’s historical debt. I affirm our lasting responsibility.”

President Andrzej Duda used his speech to chide other World leaders for not taking the threat posed by Russian aggression seriously enough, making an analogy to the policies of NSDAP. “Closing one’s eyes is not a recipe for peace,” Duda said. “It is a simple way to embolden aggressive personalities. It is a simple way to give permission for further attacks.”

Vladimir Putin of Russia was not invited to Poland. Ten years ago he was there and acknowledged Russia’s “mistake” in joining a nonaggression pact with Third Reich. “From a moral point of view, unacceptable; and from a practical point of view pointless, harmful and dangerous,” Russian president said. But now it is different. Now not only Russia is involved in war in Ukraine but also promotes a revisionist version of the history of WWII and its genesis. The Russian foreign ministry released a historically dubious video that accused Poland of not allowing the Soviets to enter its territory to fight Hitler. Days before the anniversary, the Kremlin launched a campaign to rehabilitate the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (known also as Hitler-Stalin pact), signed between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union a week before the attack on Poland in 1939, which included secret protocols by which the two powers would divide Central and Eastern Europe. Moscow launched also an online campaign with #TruthaboutWWII

The main commemorations were moved to Warsaw from Westerplatte this year. PiS did not want to organize the international meeting in Gdańsk that has been led by the opposition Aleksandra Dulkiewicz. Gdańsk mayor, who was elected after the murder of Paweł Adamowicz in January (see January edition of the Newsletter) is a passionate critic of Kaczyński and Morawiecki, and is seen by many a future president of Poland (which is hardly likely). The government tried to nationalize the Westerplatte memorial to be the only host there. But it didn’t manage. Dulkiewicz said in an interview that PiS had been trying to get control of the land in Westerplatte for years, even offering to buy it from her predecessor. “Polish blood is not for sale at any price,” she recalled Paweł Adamowicz saying. The city authorities organized its own international and civic commemoration, where guests included the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

According to Heiko Maas few Germans realize the full extent of the damage wreaked upon Poland. This also the opinion of Leo Mausbach who is fighting for a new memorial in Berlin. Poland has been trying for years to obtain a memorial site to commemorate all Polish victims of the Nazi regime but governments in Berlin have supported the idea of commemorating the war as such and not particular nations. But just before the 80th anniversary something has moved forward in the Bundestag. The project of commemorating Polish victims in Berlin was supported by 240 MPs from all parties with exception of the right-wing AfD. Speaker of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble recently said that such a memorial could encourage people “to consider Polish suffering under German occupation more closely.” Minister Maas responded unequivocally to the idea of a memorial, saying, “It’s long overdue.”

The monument will not close the discussion in Poland about war recuperations from Germany, especially now in the campaign period. A Polish parliamentary committee is still assessing the amount of compensation but it is likely to be more than a 1947 estimate by Poland’s communist regime that set the country’s wartime losses at EUR 765bn at current value. President of the committee Arkadiusz Mularczyk MP (PiS) said: “There are still old Polish people who have never received one euro in compensation and they feel very nervous. They are angry that Jewish people get compensation but the Poles get nothing”.

The German government says the issue of reparations is legally closed. In 1953, People’s Republic of Poland signed up to an agreement between the Soviet Union and communist East Germany stating that reparations would cease from 1954. PiS says that Poland was not an independent country then and the issue is not closed. But it’s highly doubtful that Morawiecki or minister Czaputowicz will raise this question with their counterparts in Berlin. It will most probably remain another question used exclusively for internal propaganda purposes.

 

Polls & trends

Support for political parties

Kantar Public for „Fakty TVN”, 22.08.2019

 

PiS                                                                    39%

Civic Coalitions (PO+Nowoczesna)           30%

Left (SLD+Wiosna+Razem)                          11%

Polish Coalition (PSL+Kukiz’15)                  6%

Konfederacja                                                 6%

 

Should Z. Ziobro remain as justice minister after the scandal in his ministry?

IBRiS for “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna & RMF FM, 24.08.2019

 

He should leave                                            44,7%

He should stay                                              37,8%

 

5 trends of Polish people traveling

IBRiS, 25-26.04.2019

 

  • Mostly domectic travels.
    • According to Diners Club Poland: 54% travelled for vacations- 35% stayed in Poland, 18% went abroad (11% in the EU).
  • Travels not only in the summer.
    • 15% Poles less than years planned their vacations in the summer. They moved it for other seasons.
    • 25% Poles decides to take winter holidays (19,5% last year).
  • More conscious in winter. More risky in summer.
    • Half of Polish vacation =-goers buys no insurance in the summer (70% two years ago). It’s different in winter, when 80% of Poles buys insurance.
  • Active holidays.
    • 40% of Poles prefers active holidays, with sightseeing and discovering new places. Only 25% prefers relaxing on long chairs by a pool or on a beach.
  • Self-organized.
    • 61% of Poles organized their holidays totally by themselves. 20% goes for journeys organized by friends or family. 18,1% uses travel agencies (it was 8,6% last year).

 

 

About the author ____________________________________________

Miłosz 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.