From Poland With Love – November 

Topic of the month

Banaś Telenovela Continues

The story of Marian Banaś is becoming a national telenovela. It never ends and every day brings emotional twists.

The scandal connected to Marian Banaś is developing. In September, TVN24 reported that Banaś let a house he owns in Krakow to a shady business, namely the rooms were rent by the hour. It was run by a local escort agency known for its brutality. Hidden camera footage showed a reporter making payment to use a room for one hour, but not being given a receipt — in violation of fiscal law. New chief of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) denied any connection, claiming that he is burdened by “insults” rather than “charges”, labeling the report as “a great manipulation and provocation against me and the government.” Marian Banaś was expected to leave the office after the October elections and be replaced by somebody else appointed by PiS. It did not happen, but in October Banaś’s right hand in the ministry together with one other official were arrested and accused of being involved in VAT fraud. (See more  in October and September issues.)

During the session of the Sejm in Novemeber there were rumors that Banaś sent his letter of resignation to the Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek. Shortly after news web sites started publishing comments on the resignation, the NIK officially announced that this is not true and Banaś keeps on working as chief auditor.

The Prosecutor’s Office in Białystok has launched an investigation into alleged irregularities in Banaś’ asset and tax declarations.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has read a classified report on the dealings and financial status of Banaś, and expected him to resign. He additionally said that if Banaś will not resign, the government has a Plan B, which he did not disclose. Banaś became the biggest political problem for the ruling party, a real threat before the May presidential elections. Top PiS politicians commented that maybe a constitutional amendment will be needed to create a tool to call Banaś off. Opposition is not very enthusiastic to change the Constitution to clean the mess that PiS brought. Grzegorz Schetyna, leader of Civic Platform (PO), tweeted: “There will be no change to the constitution. Marian Banaś is a symbol of PiS’s integrity.”

Later in November, Banaś met Jarosław Kaczyński in the PiS HQ and the was once again asked to resign. In a statement published later on website Banaś said that he had been ready to step down as Poland’s chief auditor “due media revelations regarding his activity, but first and foremost, driven by care for the future of NIK”. “To my regret, however, I have understood that I have become a victim of brutal political game,” he added.

It is said that PiS might have warned Banaś that special services could start investigation against his son.

 

Politics

New Speaker of the Senate

And it happened. The Polish opposition secured the post of Senate speaker in a parliamentary vote seen as a test of its ability to retain control of the upper house after winning it in an October general election.

The opposition candidate, Civic Platform’s  senator Tomasz Grodzki, a 61-year-old surgeon, won 51 votes, while the PiS’ candidate Stanislaw Karczewski received 48 votes in the 100-member Senate. One lawmaker refrained from voting. Referring to his election, Grodzki said it was a victory of democracy. He also stressed that the Senate had “to return to its role and make good laws instead of simply making them quickly.”

One of the first acts of the new opposition speaker has been to return European Union flags to the Senate. Restoring the EU flags, which now once again stand alongside Polish ones, is “a small sign of a return to normality, to the family of Western civilization”, said Grodzki.

 

Nowoczesna. Restart

On November 24th a party Congress of Nowoczesna, Polish liberal party, was organized. It was a statutory event that was called to evaluate the election results and nothing indicated any radical changes. Nevertheless, about one week before the Congress rumors started to spread that the party chairperson Katarzyna Lubnauer would resign, but nothing was confirmed. Eventually she did during her emotional opening speech. She said it’s a natural consequence of the election result – the fact that the Civic Coalition, an alliance of Civic Platform, Nowoczesna, Greens and the Polish Initiative, lost and PiS renewed its mandate. Also Nowoczesna lost MPs, compared to the previous terms (see detailed results of the elections in the October edition of the Newsletter).

Lubnauer’s gesture was appreciated by political commentators as a very unique one. This standard behavior observed in mature democracies, where leaders quit after an electoral defeat, is unknown in Poland, where chair-people tend to stick to their positions forever.

Congress delegates agreed to open election procedure immediately. Four          candidates were proposed by the delegates and two accepted their nominations, namely Adam Szłapka and Krzysztof Mieszkowski. Adam Szłapka is one of the founders of Nowoczesna, party’s Secretary General in both Ryszard Petru and Katarzyna Lubanuer’s boards. Szłapka ran a spectacular campaign before the October elections and got over 52.000 personal votes from the third position in Poznań, one of the best individual results nationwide on Civic Coalition’s lists, becoming a natural leader of the position in that city. Krzysztof Mieszkowski is former director of a theater in Wrocław, recently re-elected there to the Sejm. Mieszkowski is a well known expert in culture and he represents the left wing of the party.

After a heated debate Adam Szłapka won the secret ballot and became the new leader of Nowoczesna. He announced a “restart” of the party and said he wants to reclaim the word “liberals” presenting a truly liberal offer, both economically and culturally. Szłapka said: “Today Nowoczesna is the only party that protects entrepreneurs and middle class, the only one to take care of tax payers’ interests,” stressing that economy will occupy more visible place on the party’s agenda.

Szłapka’s election means also a generational change for Nowoczesna. In December, new leader will turn 35, age of presidential eligibility in Poland, and there are rumors that he may become his party’s candidate in the presidential race. Alternatively, Nowoczesna may support the Coalition’s candidate, but this decision will be taken by the National Council in early 2020.

New chairman appointed Sławomir Potapowicz, deputy speaker of the Warsaw City Council and party leader in the capital city, as new Secretary General.

 

“We’ve got to annul this vote or we will lose it”

New old Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek found herself in the middle of the first parliamentary scandal of this term. During a late night vote on the election the Lower House representatives to the National Council of the Judiciary, a body which deals with organizational, personnel and disciplinary matters for all parts of the legal profession Witek annulled a vote while it was being held after her party colleague approached her and said: “we’ve got to annul this vote or we will lose it”.

It was reported that there were not enough PiS MPs in the plenary and the governing party could lose this important vote. A journalist of RMF FM also recorded a remark made by the deputy head of the Lower House Chancellery (a non-elected official) in which he told the Speaker “I can report that all members (MPs) present have voted…The results could vary.”

Speaker Witek annulled the vote stating that members of the PO had asked her to do so following problems with the electronic equipment. The vote was repeated and four candidates nominated by the ruling party were elected. Opposition MPs were furious and protested calling the vote a fraud.

The Civic Coalition Group asked for detailed results of the annulled voting and argued that Witek had no right to annul the results before they were announced. The opposition politicians also demanded the Speaker to explain whether she had been influenced by the leaders of her party in her decision.

PiS defended its Speaker saying that she was right to have stopped the vote proceeding as there were complaints from both opposition and ruling party MPs about problems with the electronic voting system which needed sorting out.

 

PiS Top MPs Appointed to the Court

The newly elected Sejm started with a deeply controversial nomination of two Constitutional Tribunal judges. In a ballot cast on November 21st, the Lower Chamber approved former PiS MPs Stanisław Piotrowicz and Krystyna Pawłowicz, as well as law professor Jakub Stelina, for the vacant positions. The appointments set a rare precedent because judiciary nominees are usually not meant to come from a political background as it would raise questions about their judicial independence. And the first two names listed above are not even regular former lawmakers but two of the most controversial politicians of the previous term.

Stanisław Piotrowicz was a communist prosecutor, active during the darkest era of the martial law of the 1980s. He was also known of his defense of a pedophile priest. In 2015 he became responsible for pushing through bills that handed PiS more control over the judiciary. Piotrowicz’s communist past is a particular cause of disagreement as the government framed many of its judicial changes as a necessary step to purge the Polish courts of the remnants from the communist times. PM Mateusz Morawiecki came to the defense of Piotrowicz, saying that he “behaved decently” when he acted as state prosecutor during the country’s communist past.

Krystyna Pawłowicz is known as one of the most aggressive and vulgar PiS MPs who was often offensive towards opposition MPs. She is remembered also for calling the EU flag “a European rug”.

While Piotrowicz failed to get re-elected in the October parliamentary elections, Pawłowicz did not run for office, announcing the retirement from political life.

Controversy also surrounds a recent law that sets the retirement age for new judges at 65. Piotrowicz and Pawłowicz are both 67. Poland’s ombudsman Adam Bodnar called it a “clear breach of the statutory provision.”

Both controversial politicians has been sworn by President Andrzej Duda. The appointments are expected to deepen the rule of law conflict between the PiS government and the European Commission.

 

 

Society

PISA Success

The results of the 2018 study carried out by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show Polish students ranking within the top 3 in Europe in mathematics, science and reading.

In Europe, Polish students came in at 3rd place in mathematics with 516 points, beaten only by Estonia with 523 points and the Netherlands which scored 519 points. The Poles placed 4th in reading with 512 points. The European podium was claimed by Estonia with 523 points, Finland with 520 points and Ireland at 518 points. The Polish students also placed 3rd in science with 511 points, only behind Estonia with 530 points and Finland on 522 points.

Globally, China was the top-performing country in all three categories. Mainland China is measured by taking an average of four provinces: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. Some argue that “China” shouldn’t be represented by just a few eastern regions, but the OECD says that each of them is comparable in size to many Western countries, and have a combined population of over 180 million. (Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan also appear separately in the rankings.)

“If one looks at the top of the educational results in the PISA tests, then Poland is one of the leading countries in the world. It looks even better when it comes to Europe, where Polish 15-year-olds find themselves with the third-best results in Europe,” Polish minister of education Dariusz Piontkowski explained.

The opposition points out that one more great result of Polish students in PISA test is connected with the 1999 education reform, that created middle schools (gimnazjum) prolonging for one year the general level of education (before students choose a specialized high school or a vocational school). That reformed also significantly changed the curricula. In 2015 PiS reversed the reform, demolished middle schools and re-introduced the pre-1999 system. Such move was heavily criticized not only by the Polish opposition but also by international experts who saw Polish educational system as an inspiration for many other countries.

The 2018 PISA study was conducted in all 36 OECD member states as well as in 43 other countries and regions. The total number of participating students amounted to 660.000.Poland was represented by more than 5.500 15-year-old students from 227 schools across the country. The study has been repeated every 3 years since the year 2000 and is considered the best method currently available to compare the level of educational systems on an international scale.

 

 

Foreign Affairs

Morawiecki vs. Netflix

Netflix agrees to change The Devil Next Door documentary after Polish PM accused filmmakers of ‘rewriting history’ by showing Nazi death camps within modern Poland’s borders.

Netflix has said it will make changes to a documentary that featured maps showing German Nazi death camps inside the borders of modern Poland. It will amend Season 1 of The Devil Next Door after the Mateusz Morawiecki wrote in a letter to CEO Reed Hastings that filmmakers were ‘rewriting history’. Morawiecki argues that the map “falsely places several German Nazi concentration camps in modern-day Poland’s borders” without any “explanation whatsoever that these sites were German-operated,” thereby deceiving “viewers into believing that Poland was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps.”

The five-part series presents the trial of John Demjanjuk, a former U.S. mechanic of Ukrainian origin who was accused of being the infamous Nazi death camp guard Ivan the Terrible. In 2011 he was convicted of the crimes in a German court.

In a tweet, Netflix said: ‘We stand by the filmmakers of The Devil Next Door, their research and their work.  ‘To avoid any misunderstanding, in the coming days we will be adding text to some of the maps featured in the series. This will make it clearer that the extermination and concentration camps in Poland were built and operated by the German Nazi regime who invaded the country and occupied it from 1939-1945,’ Netflix continued in their statement.

 

 

European Affairs

ECJ on Poland’s Supreme Court

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on November 19th that it is up to Polish Supreme Court to decide if its newly created Disciplinary Chamber is independent, and therefore establish whether or not it should be settling disputes regarding the retirement of supreme court judges.

The ECJ had been asked to rule on the matter in a case brought by three Polish Supreme Court judges who filed a legal complaint after they were forced into retirement under widespread legal reforms introduced by PiS. The ECJ ruled that the Polish judges must have recourse to an independent body, but referred back to the Polish court to make this assessment, as well as noting that a number of factors could call into question the new chamber’s independence from political influence.

If the Supreme Court found that the Disciplinary Chamber lacked independence and impartiality, it could – in accordance with the judgment of the ECJ – stop applying the provisions under which it is for that body to resolve disputes regarding the retirement of Supreme Court judges. “The principle of the primacy of EU law thus requires it to disapply the provision of national law which reserves exclusive jurisdiction to the Disciplinary Chamber to hear and rule on cases of the retiring of judges,” the ruling says. Retirement cases must “be examined by a court which meets the requirements of independence and impartiality and which, were it not for that provision, would have jurisdiction in the relevant field”.

“The ECJ shared the concerns of the Supreme Court and decided that the issues of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and the National Court Register should be considered by the referring court, i.e. by the Supreme Court. It is now necessary to start proceedings that will rebuild trust in the SN and the National Court Register. This must be done for the good of Poland, and above all for Poles themselves”- commented the First President of the Supreme Court Małgorzata Gersdorf.

ECJ has indicated in its judgment that in matters of the functioning of the justice system in Poland, it will not “interfere” and “will not prejudge them for Poles” – stressed President Andrzej Duda. The President added that the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, referred to in the European court’s ruling, was formed to be as independent as possible.

The ruling was also commented on by the head of the ministry of justice Zbigniew Ziobro who designed the controversial reform. “This is a great failure of the judges protesting against the reform, all those who believed that this ruling would cause the National Council of the Judiciary and the new chambers of the Supreme Court to be declared void or illegal under European law,” he said.

Later on day where the ECJ’s ruling was published, Mateusz Morawiecki, set out plans to strengthen the state’s role in the economy and deepen an overhaul of the justice system that has put Warsaw on a collision course with its European Union partners.

It is expected that the government will do everything to ignore the ECJ ruling. The consequences of such behavior are hard to predict.

 

MEPs on Sexual Education in Poland

In a resolution MEPs express their deep concern over a Polish bill that could put teachers who provide sex education in prison. In October Polish MPs have voted in favor of a bill to criminalize “the promotion of underage sexual activity,” in a move called by some commentators as an attempt to secure conservative votes and to provoke liberal activists to take some radical steps that will help the government to polarize the society again. Teachers who flout the ban could face up to five years in prison (read more in the October issue of the Newsletter).

In the text adopted by 471 votes in favor, 128 against and 57 abstentions, MEPs criticize a draft law that seeks to make the provision of sex education to minors a crime in Poland. The European Parliament condemns the shift in Poland towards misinforming young people, and stigmatizing and banning sexuality in education. It calls on the Polish Parliament to refrain from adopting the bill, which follows recent attempts to limit sexual and reproductive rights in Poland, including the right to abortion.

The resolution encourages all EU countries to provide comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education in schools. MEPs stress that lack of information and education about sex and sexuality puts the safety and wellbeing of young people at risk and makes them more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, abuse and violence, including online harassment.

Teaching young people about gender equality, consent and mutual respect can help to prevent and combat gender stereotypes, homophobia, transphobia and gender-based violence, say MEPs.

“The proposed bill is utterly shameful and I am proud that, under the leadership of the Socialists and Democrats, this chamber condemned it. Under the false guise of preventing pedophilia, Polish conservatives would like to ban sexual education from schools and impose their backward views on reproductive health. We urge Poland to refrain from adopting a law that takes the country back to the dark ages, that contravenes fundamental rights and freedoms,” said Evelyn Regner, chair of the European Parliament FEMM committee and the S&D negotiator of the resolution.

 

Tusk’s New Job

Former Polish Prime Minister and President of the European Council Donald Tusk was elected President of the European People’s Party during the party Congress in Zagreb. He was the only candidate for the position. He replaced French former MEP Joseph Daul, who led the EPP since the end of 2013.

Tusk said he was ready to work on a concrete political strategy to tackle the challenges of the EU’s enlargement process and climate change – the two main concerns of the political group at their congress, amid their unfinished battle against Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz.

“I am ready to fight” for Christian-Democratic European values and against populism, said Tusk. “I deeply believe that only those who want and are able to give people a feeling of safety and security, preserving at the same time their freedoms and rights, have a mandate to run for power,” he added.

A few weeks before Zagreb Congress, Tusk announced he would not run for Poland’s presidential elections in May 2020. According to some media outlets, Tusk had commissioned an opinion poll to assess his chances. The poll concluded that too many voters would turn against him in the second round of elections. “Thanks to all those who understand my decision, I apologize to all disappointed by it,” Tusk tweeted on November 6, the day after he announced he would not run. “I am also sad, but more important than emotions and personal ambition is to assess the situation in an honest and responsible way.”

 

 

Innovation and New Tech

Women in Tech Summit

The two-day Perspektywy Women in Tech Summit world congress, Europe’s biggest event for women working in technology was organized in Warsaw in November. The conference programme includes workshops, monitoring sessions and meetings with representatives of hi-tech companies, all profiled for the needs of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-trained women. The event, to continue until Wednesday, is expected to gather over 3.000 participants from all over the world.

Minister of entrepreneurship and technology Jadwiga Emilewicz opening the Summit said that in Poland, more women study technology and science than in other European Union countries. According to her, Polish women are better educated than Polish men. She also quoted studies showing women do better as heads of companies. She added she is not enthusiastic about women’s parity, e.g. on management boards, because she believes that women are promoted thanks to their achievements, and not because they are women.

 

New Tech Hub in Warsaw

Barcelona-based on-demand delivery startup Glovo has announced that it will launch its second technology and engineering hub in Poland. This follows the acquisition of Pizza Portal, a Polish food delivery platform for up to EUR 35 million.

Glovo is one of the fastest growing players in the worldwide order-delivery market. Co-founded in 2015 by Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud, Glovo’s growth was driven by venture capital investments. Launching in a new city every four days on average, last year, Glovo now employs over 1.300 people and is fast becoming the fastest growing delivery provider in Latin America and EMEA.

Notably, Poland is the first-ever technology hub of the on-demand delivery service outside its home market Barcelona. Glovo has chosen Poland for its technology and engineering hub as the country is rich in technology talent and a prosperous economy, the company admits.

For its second tech hub, Glovo plans to hire 40 new engineers and 50 tech and product experts who will work at the Warsaw office. With its presence in Poland, Glovo will be able to expand its presence in the Polish delivery market. This is accelerated with the acquisition of Pizza Portal, the large food delivery platform in the country.

Poland has a strong vocational system for technology and engineering careers with training programmes with Polish R&D Institute of Education and IBM. The country has been enjoying benefits as the number of graduates in these areas as steadily increased. With three large technology institutions, the country has a number of new startups.

Moreover, there has been increased interest from foreign investors and a slew of startup hubs with Campus Warsaw and IdeaHub creating a buzz in the European startup ecosystem.

 

 

Economy

Gold Back Home

Poland brought about 100 tons of gold home from the Bank of England in a bid to demonstrate the strength of nation’s USD 586 billion economy, governor of the National Bank Adam Glapiński said. The gold will be stored in the central bank’s treasury.

The institution bought about 126 tons in 2018 and 2019 to increase its gold reserves to 228,6 tons. As a result, the country has become the 22nd-biggest bullion holder in the world and has the biggest reserves of the metal in the European Union’s east, the central bank said. Poland’s overall gold reserves are worth some EUR 9,84 billion. Half of the reserves, 123 tons, remain in England, said Glapiński.

“The gold symbolizes the strength of the country,” Glapinski told reporters on Monday. Poland could generate “multi-billion” profits if it sold its holdings but has no plans to do so, he said.

Also the logistics of the “gold repatriation” was interesting to follow. According to the NBP press release:

“The operation of transporting gold to Poland took place by air. A total of eight flights were made, transporting one thousand bars in each flight. The transport of gold was carried out by an international company specializing in the transport of monetary valuables, selected by way of a National Bank of Poland award procedure.

The whole operation went smoothly. During its implementation, there were no events affecting the safety of persons and cargo. Many people were involved in the implementation of the task, representing the National Bank of Poland, the Police, Border Guards, Airports, airport ground handling companies, as well as the Bank of England, a transport company and the British police.”

 

High Growth

In the third quarter of 2019 Poland registered the strongest quarter on quarter growth among EU countries, with a 1,3% increase, over four times better than the EU average of 0,3% increase.

Data from Eurostat shows that Hungary was the only other EU country to post growth over 1%, reaching 1,1% growth between Q2 and Q3.

Germany posted 0,1% growth while the UK posted 0,3% growth, both economies had been at risk of falling into recession after posting negative figures the previous quarter.

 

 

Culture

Record High Łempicka

La tunique rose by Tamara Łempicka, also known as Tamara de Lempicka, a popular female painter in the 1920s, went to an anonymous buyer for USD 13 million. The price beats the previous record high for a work by a Polish artist, which was also by Łempicka. La Musicienne painted in 1927, sold last year for roughly USD 8,7 million. In total, 20 works by the artist have fetched prices in excess of USD 1 million.

The painting was sold next to pieces by Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin and Claude Monet as part of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art auction.

Born Tamara Rozalia Gurwik-Górska in May 1898 in Moscow to a wealthy semi-Jewish family, she was always keen to stress her Polish heritage and liked to insist Warsaw was her birthplace. Married to Tadeusz Łempicki, a Polish lawyer, in St Petersburg, she moved to Paris to study painting under first Maurice Denis, a Paul Gauguin’s friend. Her first paintings were still lives and portraits of her daughter and her neighbor. Breakthrough came in 1925 with the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, which later gave its name to the style Art Deco. Łempicka’s paintings were spotted by American journalists from Harper’s Bazaar and other fashion magazines and her name became known. She died in 1980 in Mexico.

Łempicka’s paintings: https://www.wikiart.org/en/tamara-de-lempicka

 

Junior Superhero

Viki Gabor from Poland wins Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2019 with the song “Superhero”. It’s the second time in a row Poland wins this annual contest organized by the European Broadcasting Union.

19 countries competed in Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2019. After an exciting voting it was Poland who won the contest, followed closely by debuting country Kazakhstan and Spain. Kazakhstan won the jury voting. It is commented that Poland benefited from the newly introduced online voting that can help bigger countries to collect more points. A record 3,77 million votes were received in the online poll which was split into two rounds; one before the show based on preview clips and a second that opened after the last live performance, allowing viewers to cast their votes based on what they saw on stage.

The show was produced by the TVP in Gliwice Arena, in Silesia, and has been called by experts the best production in the history of the contest.

Poland first took part in Junior Eurovision 2003 and made their 6th appearance this year. It is the first time that a country wins Junior Eurovision two consecutive years, after last year’s victory of Roksana Węgiel.

Viki Gabor is 12 years old. She was born in Germany, began her education in Great Britain, and is currently living in Kraków. In February 2019, she was a finalist of the second edition of The Voice Kids in Poland.

The song Superhero currently occupies 9th position in the Spotify Global Ranking.

 

Listen to the winning song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvmqnNxnuJM.

 

Singer in New York

Singer’s Festival opened for the first time in New York City at the Lincoln Square Synagogue with a concert by world-famous cantor Yaakov Lemmer and Grammy Award winner Frank London, featuring the work of Gershon Sirota and Mordechai Gebirtig.

“Together, we prepared a repertoire based on the works of Gershon Sirota, a cantor who died during fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, as well as Mordechai Gebirtig, one of the most famous poets and composers creating in Yiddish, who died in 1942 on the so-called Bloody Thursday in the Kraków Ghetto,” said Dawid Szurmiej, one of the festival’s organizers.

Also performing on the first day of the festival was the Jewish Theatre from Warsaw, which presented, in Yiddish, the musical comedy “Humesh Lider,” where Biblical heroes are depicted as contemporary Jews from a small town during the interwar period.

The festival continued at The City College of New York, which hosted screenings of the films Yentl directed by Barbara Streisand and Enemies, A Love Story directed by Paul Mazursky, both adapted from the writings of I.B. Singer.

The Singer’s Festival is one of the most celebrated events promoting Jewish culture in Poland. Now in its 16th edition, the Singer’s Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture is an iconic annual event organized by Warsaw’s Shalom Foundation in cities associated with the Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. The artistic director is Gołda Tencer, director of the The Ester Rachel and Ida Kaminska Jewish Theatre in Poland – Center of Yiddish Culture, creator of the Shalom Foundation. Some 150 are events are held annually, and its concerts are often carried on live television. In its early years, the event drew significant interest from local Polish artists, who began creating original works for the festival. Then foreign artists began to get involved, too.

 

Programme: http://shalom.org.pl/program-of-the-singers-warsaw-festival-in-new-york/

 

 

Germany and Poland

Czaputowicz in Berlin

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz met with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin.

The two ministers discussed the topics related to the Polish diaspora in Germany. Czaputowicz noted that Poland’s authorities would like greater support from German federal and state authorities in teaching Polish as a native language in Germany. He also raised the issue of building a monument in Berlin to Polish victims of World War II, and expressed his expectation that Polish experts would be invited to cooperate in work at the former German concentration camps of Ravensbrück, Sachsenhausen and Dachau.

During the visit, Jacek Czaputowicz also met with the president of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schaeuble, with the minister-president of Brandenburg and German government commissioner for relations with Poland, Dietmar Woidke, and and chairman of the FDP Christian Lindner. In his address at the Genshagen Foundation during the Weimar Transatlantic Forum, the minister presented the priorities of Poland’s foreign policy in a global and European perspective.

Picture from the visit: https://www.msz.gov.pl/en/news/photos_video/gallery_berlin_2018?channel=www

 

 

Polls & trends

Party Support

IBRiS for Rzeczpospolita, 25.11.2019

 

PiS                                       40%

Civic Coalition (KO)         25%

Left (SLD)                           12,8%

PSL-Polish Coalition        6,6%

Confederation                  6%

 

 

Poles and Gambling

GUS, October 2019

 

37,1% of Poles gambles.

The most popular form is lotto (Totalizator Sportowy)- 27,4%, then scratchcards- 16,3%, SMS lotteries and competitions- 6,3%, playing slot machines- 3,8%.

32,8% of players does it in a form that does not risk any form of addiction, for 2,7% this is risk is very small, for 0,9% it is moderated and for 0,7% it is high.

27 thousands of Poles are addicted to gambling (pathological form). In 2014 this number was estimated for 34 thousands.

Totalizator Sportowy is a company that has state monopoly for organizing gambling in Poland. It earned in 2019 over PLN 5,2 billion, 40% of that sum is income of TotalCasino, the only legal Polish e-casino.

 

 

 

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.