Topic of the month
After 2019’s pivotal elections for the Polish parliament, in which the PiS kept its hold on power, albeit slightly weakened without the majority in the upper chamber, Poles will soon have to make another important choice, this time for president. Poland will hold the first round of its presidential election on May 10th.
Half a dozen candidates are in the game, another 13 might be eliminated in March. Why so? The first official step of the registration process requires delivering 1.000 signatures to the National Electoral Committee. This step was completed by 19 candidates, including very exotic ones like Jan Zbigniew Potocki, self-appointed duke and anti-Semite. Now all of them have time until March 16th to deliver 100.000 signatures. Only six are expected to complete this task and find themselves on the ballots in May. And they are…
The incumbent president, surprisingly elected five years ago. In 2015 PiS appointed this young MEP, lawyer, to run against popular president Bronisław Komorowski. Duda won and became famous for his new style, unknown to Polish presidents before. His supporters praise him for being young, charismatic and good looking. On the other hand, his opponents describe him as weak and fully dependent on PiS. It is unquestionable that for last five years Andrzej Duda has been executing all orders coming from Jarosław Kaczyński and has never shown any resistance or own initiative. He supported all reforms that devastated Polish judiciary system and marginalized Polish authorities in the European Union. Even more, he was so eager to do that that he has been often using words to describe judges that could be labeled as hate speech.
Opening his campaign Duda himself declared: “It is very important to me that Poland’s growth, which has been advancing so well in recent years, continues. It is equally important to me that the current government – which in my opinion is governing the country very well, very efficiently in terms of economics, but also in terms of fulfilling electoral promises – is able to continue its mission, presenting good legislative proposals that will be accepted by the president, because we have the same electoral manifesto.”
After announcing his 2020 candidacy in February this year, PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński endorsed Duda as the “dream candidate” and as a guardian of the Polish constitution. Kaczyński knows that without Duda the PiS government may collapse before the end of its term. After having lost the majority in the Senate, loss of the post of the president, who has the veto power, would put the government in an extremely difficult position. This is why PiS will invest all possible recourses in the campaign. Up to PLN 19 millions (EUR 4,5 millions) can be spend.
Duda’s team is entirely composed of PiS MPs and experts. To change this image and to show a new face around the president, a lawyer Jolanta Turczynowicz-Kieryłło was appointed Duda’s campaign chief. And it provoked much confusion. In her first TV interview Turczynowicz-Kieryłło expressed her criticism of the freedom of speech. Her words were presented in the context of her work as a lawyer last year, when she represented the governor of the National Bank of Poland during the infamous “KNF scandal” (see the November 2018 issue of the Newsletter) and asked the court to hold the print of the article about her client in “Gazeta Wyborcza”. Later it was revealed than in the 2018 election campaign she bit a man who reported to the police that she might have violated the electoral law.
In general, Duda’s campaign is observed by commentators with skepticism. There are many mistakes and no appealing ideas. Andrzej Duda is currently polling at ca. 40%.
Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska won internal primaries in the major opposition party Civic Platform (PO). Later also other parties, including Nowoczesna and the Greens, supported her candidacy. Donald Tusk endorsed her candidacy and offered his services in the campaign. Kidawa-Błońska is a veteran MP and former government spokeswoman and Speaker of the Sejm. She comes from a well-known and honored family. One of her great-grandfathers was a Polish president in the 1920s and another one was a prime minister.
Kidawa-Błońska has vowed to implement a “concrete package of changes” on everything from the economy to health. Moreover, in a push towards secularisation she has suggested that religion should be taught in church rather than at school. She has also made a habit of declaring that under her presidency “the constitution and the law will be respected”.
Kidawa-Błońska has presented herself as a moderate, conciliatory figure able to reach out to voters from across Poland’s bitterly divided political landscape. She is known for her non-confrontational approach. Even her political opponents stress her abilities to conduct a dialogue. Her political enemies often criticize her soft-spoken personality for a lack of charisma and hard-hitting opinions.
Kidawa-Błońska ran as the Civic Platform’s candidate for the prime minister in October’s election, having won impressive 415.000 votes. She is the first woman in Polish history to have a serious shot at the presidency. Her campaign team is composed of Civic Platform MPs who were marginalized in the previous campaign by the former PO leader and his closest circle of advisors. The new PO leader Borys Budka is empowering the team because he knows that his political career depends on the election result. Adam Szłapka, new leader of Nowoczesna, is the spokesperson of the candidate. After first few weeks, the campaign of the Kidawa-Błońska is considered to be the best and the most dynamic one that the opposition has run in years.
With a ca. 26% of the vote in current polls, she is the most likely opponent of Andrzej Duda in the second round.
Behind the two strongest candidates, there are three more who are collecting similar support, fighting now for the third place in the race. Among them Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz seems to have the strongest position. He is a physician and the leader of the Polish People’s Party, who was capable of taking the party through a critical period. In the last year parliamentary elections, Kosiniak-Kamysz built a coalition with the populist Kukiz’15 movement and the Union of the European Democrats.Winning 8,55% of the popular vote, he secured 30 MPs for his new group (two times more than in 2015).
His manifesto is mainly conservative on social issues, sighting his main goal as “bringing back the notion of community.” “Hate has cut our country in half. Poland must be cured of hatred and probably needs a doctor for this. Poland has to be sewn back together with surgical thread so that it does not divide,” Kosiniak-Kamysz said.
He is seen as a great political talent who was able to renew his old-fashioned agrarian party and open it up for new urban voters. But still, his right-wing agenda is hard to accept for many opposition voters.
Polls show that he could get ca. 8% of the vote.
Szymon Hołownia, who has twice started the process of trying to become a Catholic priest in the Dominican Order, is a newcomer in Polish politics. It is his first race, his first political activity ever. Hołownia is a celebrity, a host of a very popular show “Poland Got Talent”, broadcasted since 2008 on a private TVN channel. He is known as a liberal catholic activist and writer, former editor in chief of Religia TV.
Positioning himself as a nonpartisan candidate, Hołownia told the crowd of supporters in Gdańsk: “It’s time for a man coming from the bottom to fix what’s broken at the top.” “I want Poland in which there’s no “either-or,” but “and-and,” and where both sides can be right.” He is known to hold center-right views on social and political issues but also campaigns on typically left-wing issues, such as the need to fight the climate change.
Hołownia is trying to repeat successes of non-partisan candidates from previous elections, like Paweł Kukiz in 2015 (over 1/5 of all votes casted) but for now he is sitting on around 6%.
Robert Biedroń had an impressive entry (come back?) to national politics last year. Previously, he used to be a mayor of the middle size town, Słupsk (and an MP before that). Last year he established a new progressive party called Wiosna (Spring). After a big and expensive campaign, Wiosna won 3 seats in the European Parliament in the elections last year. Biedroń promised his voters not to accept the seat and to lead his party in the parliamentary elections. However, he did not fulfill his promise. He abandoned his people, stayed in Brussels, and his party is now merging with the nominally leftist SLD (the post-communist party). Since the left wing coalition could not find a better candidate (many were tested), Biedroń decided to run in the presidential race.
Robert Biedroń has one clear advantage – he is the only progressive candidate who speaks openly about LGBT rights or abortion. He has promised to reform the pharmaceutical market, the coal industry, to improve efficiency in the courts and fight social exclusion while vowing to introduce social benefits such as a minimum monthly pension of PLN 1.600 (EUR 375). Unfortunately for him, the momentum is gone, traditional SLD members are not willing to work hard in his campaign, and Biedroń does not seem to be fully involved either.
His rankings are similar to Hołownia’s, with some 6% in polls.
The last candidate on the list is also the youngest one. Krzysztof Bosak won the primaries in the Confederation, a platform of far-right and libertarian organizations and parties that won 8% support in 2019 parliamentary elections (which was translated into 11 MPs, less than is needed to form a parliamentary group). As the leader of the All-Poland Youth organization, Bosak helped organize an extreme-right march on Poland’s independence day that attracted attention of ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazi groups.
Bosak has a well-organized group of supporters among nationalists but he can’t really count on support of other parties in the Confederation who are disappointed with this choice (especially the conservative libertarians organized around Janusz Korwin-Mikke). He is currently sitting at ca. 4%.
The campaign has just started and much can change by May 10th. It will be exciting 2 months. PiS and Andrzej Duda are already promising more public spending on key groups of their voters. In a ceremony broadcasted by state television TVP and hosted by one of its journalists, Duda signed into law a proposal to give pensioners an extra month of pension payments each year. This so-called 13th month is scheduled to kick off in April. Pensioners will receive an extra PLN 981 (around EUR 226), the minimum monthly pension in Poland. In 2021, they will also get an exceptional “14th-month” bonus, with the system reverting to 13 months of payouts each year after that.
Amid a heated late-night legislative session, the Sejm approved almost PLN 2 billion (EUR 470 million) of additional state funding for public media in 2020. PiS argues that the money is much necessary to sustain the broadcasters’ finances. But the opposition notes that the government uses both public TV and radio for pursuing its own political interests, promoting its agenda and attacking opponents. Reporters Without Borders has described the Polish public media as “government propaganda mouthpieces”.
Media coverage of the debate in the Sejm was dominated by the action of one PiS MP, Joanna Lichocka, who made an obscene gesture towards the opposition benches (showed her middle finger).
She claimed to have just been scratching her face, and accused the opposition of “manipulating” her actions. But millions of Poles who watched the scenes from the debate in the parliament had no doubts about what happened. Some of her colleagues from PiS even apologized for her behavior.
Lichocka’s gesture, and her attempt to explain it, quickly became a meme on Polish social media called “a middle finger to all Poles who suffer of cancer”. The reason for that was that the opposition proposed to give the PLN 2 billion to Polish oncology instead of the TVP. Donald Tusk tweeted that the difference between the two sides in parliament is that “the opposition wants to spend two billion on oncology and PiS on cancer”.
This law, the choice between cancer treatments and TVP, has become the most important topic of the presidential campaign so far. The opposition was appealing to Andrzej Duda not to sign the bill. It was even rejected by the Senate, which is controlled by the opposition, as well as by the Sejm’s culture and media committee. However, the PiS majority in the Sejm adopted the bill and Andrzej Duda signed it. This may influence the election result since most of Poles demanded to dedicate the amount of PLN 2 billion to support the oncological care and even PiS voters do not understand this decision.
Coronavirus in Poland
On March 4th the first case of coronavirus infection has been confirmed in Poland. Minister of health Łukasz Szumowski told reporters that the infected patient, a resident of Poland’s Lubuskie province, was “feeling well” and underwenttreatment at a hospital in the city of Zielona Góra. He added that the infected man had recently traveled to Germany, where around 240 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus till then.
Szumowski said: “Everything went by the book: the patient made contact with a family doctor; the family doctor conducted an interview and decided there was a high risk of illness and recommended contacting the sanitary service; the sanitary service recognised that this was a high-risk case; a special ambulance for transporting high-risk patients was used; the patient was taken to an infectious disease hospital and provided with medical care.” Even though the government is saying that the situation is under control, Poles are not entirely sure about that. Hospital managers and doctors say that there is lack of equipment and medicine, and medical staff is not well-informed about the procedures.
The Sejm has adopted a set of special rules to help the country fend off the threat. The legislation gives big powers to the government during a potential pandemic. Some constitutional lawyers, including former Ombudswomen Prof. Ewa Łętowska, claim that the law is unconstitutional.
The virus may impact Polish economy. According to the association of employers Lewiatan coronavirus epidemic will hit, among others, tourist and cultural services, gastronomy and traditional retail. According to Lewiatan, in the sea of losses caused by suspended operations and unrealized consumer demand, the increases recorded, e.g. by medical goods manufacturers and courier companies, and increase in online purchases will be of little importance.
After a week of dramatic 15% falls in the main indices of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the minister of development Jadwiga Emilewicz said that the Polish GDP growth in 2020 would be lower by about 0,04% in the wake of supply shocks resulting from the trade disruption. Controversially, she reiterated the opinion of finance minister Tadeusz Kościński that some aspects of the virus crisis may prove beneficial for the Polish economy, especially for small businesses which do not have manufacturing facilities located in China.
In Warsaw, 75% of listed companies saw their stocks to lose value in late February, as investors panicked over the impact of the epidemic.
E-Cars for the Future
Poland is not really at the forefront when it comes to electric cars. Only one in 500 cars is electric. By comparison, in Germany one out of every 50 licensed cars is electric (2%). And in The Netherlands it is almost 7%. However, the Morawiecki government wants to move away from this farthermost position in the electric ranks. Since November, for instance, incentives have been available for the purchase of plug-in vehicles for the first time. Accordingly, a maximum of EUR 8.600 is available to a consumer intending to buy an electric passenger car which is not more expensive than EUR 29.000. This makes Poland the most generous subsidy provider of all Eastern European EU member states (only Slovenia comes close with a maximum of EUR 8.000 per e-car). In three years, the government wants to launch a veritable e-car state brand. A special consortium was established for that. ElectroMobility Poland is a joint venture between four state-owned energy companies. As in, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Energa, Enea and Tauron Polska Energia, each of whom holds 25% of the shares.
ElectroMobility Poland wants to spend EUR 1 million on this project and produce 100.000 electric cars per year. The design is supposed to come from EDAG.
There are also a few private initiatives in this direction. For example, the company Triggo is working on an electric two-seater for moving in the city. “Our vehicle was created in Poland, but we have international ambitions, and intellectual property rights dramatically increase our chances,” said Rafał Budweil, the company’s CEO, who came up with the idea. Triggo combines features of a motorbike and a car, such as the mobility of a scooter and the feeling of safety in a car (with air conditioning), according to Sebastian Nowak, who designed the car body.
A usual driver’s licence is required to drive the car. The car’s compact form addresses the traffic jams and lack of parking space – common problems in most cities. Parked Triggo takes up only one-fifth of the space of a traditional car.
The car has already been patented in countries with a combined population of over 2.5 billion. Currently, the company is testing the car on a track in Łódź, central Poland, and hopes that it will reach its first users soon. A new series of prototypes will be introduced this autumn, with pilot projects planned for the first half of 2020.
Look it up: triggo.pl
No Country for Rainbow Families
The Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) has rejected a complaint over refusal to register a foreign birth certificate having two women mentioned as parents. Based on this case, the NSA has adopted a resolution in December 2019 stating that it is impossible to have a woman registered as a father in the Polish document. “Panel of seven judges answered the question and passed a resolution in which they clearly stated that our law does not allow a transcript of foreign birth certificate showing two people of the same sex as parents. For today’s adjudicating panel the standpoint expressed in this resolution is binding,” the NSA judge said.
A question of law arose from the case examined by the NSA a few months earlier when the civil status office chief in Piaseczno refused to register a transcript of a birth certificate issued in the UK which indicated two women as parents of a son.
The ruling by the NSA is legally binding. The court added, however, that the plaintiff still had the right to submit a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights or the Constitutional Tribunal.
Make Love Not Canal
An activist couple spent Valentine’s day morning naked in the bed on the site of a planned canal which PiS wants to cut across a narrow strip of land that separates its eastern coastline from the Baltic Sea. “Make love not canal,” said a banner held by other activists standing by the bed on the Vistula Spit, a heavily wooded sandbank, 55 km long but less than 2 km wide, enclosing a coastal lagoon.
The organisers of the happening, so called Camp for the Vistula Spit, said that the protest was inspired by the Nobel lecture delivered by author Olga Tokarczuk, entitled “The Tender Narrator” (read more in the previous issue of the Newsletter). “Tenderness is our response to this illegal action,” said Mayra Wojciechowicz quoting part of Tokarczuk’s lecture, which according to her reflects the situation in the Vistula Spit: “Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.”
No Norwegian Funds for Polish Courts
Norway is pulling out of talks with Poland about closer cooperation between courts in the two countries. After nearly three years of negotiations, Norway’s court administration has concluded that Poland’s current government simply wants to turn its courts into a political tool.
“We can’t partner with a justice ministry that is actively undermining the function of the courts,” the head of courts administration in Oslo, Sven Marius Urke, said. He noted that no other European country has undergone such a rapid and clear change for the worse as Poland. “This is exceptional in the development of rule of law in Europe,” Urke added.
The Norwegian judges’ professional association has requested an end to the talks. Earlier this year, several Norwegian lawyers and judges joined colleagues from across the EU in the March of One Thousand Robes (see the previous issue of the Newsletter).
The Norwegian State Secretary Audun Halvorsen said that “the Norwegian authorities are not prepared to sign the agreement with Poland on cooperation in the justice sector under the European Economic Area and Norway Grants scheme in its current form”. The Norwegian MFA also informed that the parties would now review the plans for the justice programme in Poland, that is worth some EUR 70 millions.
Consequently, the justice ministry in Warsaw also expressed concerns regarding the situation of rule of law in Norway. In particular, her concerns pertained to the practice of Norwegian courts related to taking away children from their biological parents by Norwegian Child Welfare Services (Barnavernet).
Other Norwegian grants have not been canceled, though. For example, a contract for carrying out the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Programme was signed in February by the ministers of funds and climate and Norway’s ambassador to Poland, securing Poland EUR 140 million from the Norway Grants. Another EUR 24,7 million will come from Poland’s own coffers.
Poland is the largest beneficiary of funding under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme, with an allocation of approximately NOK 8 billion for the current funding period (2014-2021), divided between a number of different programmes. The justice programme (ca. NOK 700 million) is still under development. The planned programme has three main elements: cooperation on the work of the correctional services (ca. NOK 480 million), cooperation aimed at combating domestic violence (ca. NOK 60 million) and judicial cooperation (ca. NOK 110 million).
New Normandy Format?
Minister of foreign affairs Jacek Czaputowicz suggested revising the Normandy format and involving the European Union and the United States in the negotiations to end Russian aggression against Ukraine. “Perhaps, it’s time to raise one very important question: is the Normandy format a good institution for solving this problem? … We support the format as President Zelensky and the Ukrainians support it, but, perhaps, we need to look for other solutions,” Czaputowicz said during the Ukrainian Lunch at the Munich Security Conference.
He also informed that Poland as UN Security Council non-permanent member, in 2018-2019, tried to involve as many international players as possible in discussing the issue of Ukraine. “We discussed the possibility of a peacekeeping operation, the inclusion and involvement of the US, possibly the UK, in the debate,” Czaputowicz emphasized, adding that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also could be involved in the talks.
Moreover, at the Munich Security Conference Polish MFA stressed that Russia is posing a very serious threat to the European Union. He commented on French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that Europe should seek dialogue with Russia, whereas sanctions against it brought no positive effects. According to Czaputowicz, such statements are “premature” and Poland does not share this position.
A few days later, during the discussion with the foreign ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine on the situation in Crimea at the conference on disarmament within the framework of the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Czaputowicz said that Poland is concerned about the human rights situation in Crimea and Russia’s repressive policies pursued on the peninsula. At the same time, he called the release of political prisoners held in Russia a success.
Art Against the LGBT-Free Zones
Bartosz Staszewski, a 29-year-old filmmaker and marriage equality activist, has taken pictures of the LGBT people with fake “LGBT-Free Zone” signs (in four languages) in towns that had adopted anti-LGBT declarations.
His action is a protest against what he calls a “hate campaign” by Poland’s ruling party, which says lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender “ideology” (compare with the Disinformation and Fake News section) is an invasive foreign influence that undermines traditional values in the staunchly Catholic country. Already one third of the Poland´s population of Poland lives in such “zones”, in municipalities, counties and regions that have adopted the declarations.
When Staszewski published the pictures on social media, they became viral in Poland and beyond. Even some members of the European Parliament and Malgorzata Kidawa-Błońska criticized the signs which they thought had been put up by towns.
Miroslaw Szekalis, the mayor of Trzebieszów, where a motion to reject “LGBT ideology” was passed last year, defended the town’s decision. “Neither I, nor any of the council members … have a reason to be ashamed,” he told Reuters. Some towns are considering to take legal measures against the performer accusing him of spreading fake news.
See the web site of the project: https://lgbtfreezones.pl/project
Polish LGBT internet series “Control” became a hit on YouTube.
In April 2018 young Polish filmmakers shot a self-financed short film “Control” as a part of an exam at the Warsaw Film School under the slogan “erotica”. The short etude showed the situation at an airport security control where two women meet and the tension between them is apparent. Unexpectedly the movie reached over 27 million views on YouTube and won over a large group of devoted fans all over the world.
The crew is very young. The writer and director Natasza Parzymies is only 20 years old. She is currently in her second year of film directing. Her short films “Nightingale”, “Conversation” and “Ginger” have won at many international film festivals.
Currently the authors of “Control” are raising funds for the sequel. They wrote on their web site: “As we learned from the first part of “Control”, it is a very much-needed film in today’s world. Especially in our home country Poland where same-sex love is still a taboo subject. When editing “Control” (part 1), we were forced to blur out the logos on the security polo shirts because once the security company saw the film, they burst into rage! Also, the representation of LGBTQ+ people in films and TV in Poland is somewhere below 0,2% so it needs to be upped ASAP! We feel this is our duty as the new generation to break the silence and show what hasn’t been shown before.”
According to Wyborcza.pl, Natasza Parzymies is in talks with one of the streaming platforms, so maybe we will be able to watch the series in the full-length version soon.
Watch episode 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tvUobbVJJI
Germany and Poland
First Orlen Eagle in Berlin
After more than a decade, Poland’s largest fuel company, PKN Orlen, saw its logo reappear at filling stations owned by the company in Germany. “This is the next stage of building our brand’s recognition on foreign markets,” Orlen CEO’s Twitter post read. The entry is illustrated with a photo of a filling station near Berlin, as the first displaying the Polish company logo.
Orlen’s co-branded filling stations with a logotype combining the local “Star” brand with the Polish one have been operating in every German land since last November. The Polish company plans to rebrand all its foreign filling stations to operate solely under the Orlen logo within two years.
The Orlen Group has over 2.800 filling stations in Central Europe. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it operates under the Benzina brand, while in Lithuania under the Orlen brand. On the German market, the company’s filling stations operate under the Star Orlen Group combined logo.
Disinformation and Polish Elections
Since 2018, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) has been monitoring election campaigns in Poland. In February 2020 it published a comprehensive report on the issue.
The main findings are as follows:
Social issues, such as the future of social transfers, health care and minimum wage dominated the election discourse in 2019. The topic of migration and refugees was much less popular in comparison to the year 2015 (when the previous parliamentary election took place), due to several reasons. When analysing the appearance of the topic of migration and asylum in 2019 election campaigns from the perspective of possible disinformation, one can notice the presence of narrative schemes regarding alleged threats associated with the presence of people from Muslim countries in Western Europe, mainly in Sweden, Great Britain or Germany. In particular, stories about the rise of the crimes and rapes of European women committed by migrants or refuges, sharia and no-go zones within some European cities were pushed by some politicians running in elections.
Simultaneously, the issue of LGBT+ was the most polarising subject of the public debate in 2019. It involved various actors, including politicians, high members of the clergy in the Catholic Church, journalists as well as some celebrities – actors, athletes and stars of television programmes. Using the term “LGBT ideology” by some church officials and other political actors should be considered as spreading disinformation. In the colloquial Polish language, “ideology” refers to false consciousness and someone’s particular personal interest. Therefore, the entwining the LGBT+ acronym with the word “ideology” was a rhetorical attempt to deprecate the LGBT+ community and its postulates. Even though these related primarily to ensuring equal rights and combating discrimination, during debates, they were fought with the imprecise but sinister slogan “LGBT ideology”.
A common feature of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee narratives and that directed against the LGBT+ community was the presentation of these groups as a threat to social order, security, culture and traditions of Poland and the Polish family. Important issues concerning these groups, such as discrimination, labour exploitation, strong attachment of a migrant worker to its employee (by dedicated work permit), and eventually, the practice of obstructing the submission of an application for refugee status – were not on the agenda of politicians. Therefore, in the election campaign, the topic of migration and refugees was limited to the declarations of right-wing candidates against receiving Muslims and “illegal” migrants, without an equivalent counter-narrative by other public life actors.
Polls & Trends
One of the Warsaw’s downtown district has been praised by The Guardian. “Time to abandon preconceptions that Warsaw is grey and cold because in the best part of the year it really is green and hot,” writes the newspaper listing the district of Powiśle as 10 of the coolest neighbourhoods in Europe.
Powiśle has for long time been one of the favorite places in Warsaw, for both locals and tourists. Both King’s tour and Vistula riverbank tour feature this part of the city. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the area became populated mostly with the poor. Little changed in the 19th century when the neighborhood became slightly industrialized. After the WWII it was inhabited by the unemployed and craftsmen of all types, factory and port workers, smiths, coalers, sand vendors, and fishermen. Powiśle remained as rather unattractive in 90’s. Everything started to change ever since the library was opened there and other investments followed including the Wisłostrada car tunnel.
The Guardian praises Powiśle for its carnival-like summer scene. The riverfront boulevards were highlighted as one of its principal attractions, with further points of interest including the area’s rooftop library gardens and the adjacent Copernicus Science Centre. Further hat tips were afforded to the Veg Deli vegan restaurant, cult clothing store Femi Stories, Moma Studio, and the upmarket hangout Niewinni Czarodzieje 2.0.
Of the other areas pointed out by The Guardian, Gothenburg’s Järntorget / Långgatorna was top of the pile, followed by the University Quarter in Brussels and El Cabanyal in Valencia. Other notable entrants included Berlin’s Neukölln and Prague’s Holešovice.
IBRiS for Onet.pl, March 3rd
Andrzej Duda 41,2%
Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska 32,1%
Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz 11,4%
Szymon Hołownia 7,6%
Robert Biedroń 6,1%
Krzysztof Bosak 4,8%
IBSP for wp.pl, February 26th
Civic Coalition (KO 30,92%
New Left 13,43%
Who would you like to have a dinner with?
IBRiS, February 23rd
Andrzej Duda 35,4%
Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz 17,5%
Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska 16,0%
Robert Biedroń 10,9%
Szymon Hołownia 10,8%
Krzysztof Bosak 3,3%
About the author ____________________________________________
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.