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Polish report Polish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-05-23 10:01:30
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German politician on controversial trip to Poland

Erika Steinbach, the president of the right wing Federation of German Expellees (BdV) was in Gdansk, Sunday, beginning a two-day trip to Poland, where critics accuse her of historical revisionism. Steinbach met in Gdansk (Danzig) with around 50 members of the German minority in Poland and called for Germans and Poles “to engage in dialogue and reach agreement”.

A small group of protestors stood outside the German consulate in the Baltic city with banners that read, “Stop Steinbach provocations”. “We are protesting this visit because, for us, this lady is persona non grata,” opposition Law and Justice party senator Dorota Arciszewska-Mielewczyk told the PAP news agency. Steinbach dismissed the demonstrators as “Polish nationalists”.

Steinbach, an MP for the ruling Christian Democratic Party (CDU) in Germany, has long campaigned for the commemoration of the suffering of up to 16 million Germans expelled from Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries after the end of WW II. Steinbach’s many critics in Poland say she is trying to re-write history, however, in an attempt to paint suffering experienced by Germans as being morally equivalent to the plight of Jews and Poles at the hands of the Nazis. The Polish government protested last year against a proposal to appoint Steinbach as a director at the planned Centre Against Expellees in Berlin, a state-backed museum which will document the experiences of displaced Germans following the war.


Poland whips up Balcerowicz for IMF top

The Polish government would like Leszek Balcerowicz, the father of Poland’s transition to a market economy, to become its candidate for the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Friday, calling Mr. Balcerowicz one of Europe’s best possible candidates. As Poland’s finance minister in the early 1990s, Mr. Balcerowicz was the author of a legislative package that put an abrupt end to central planning in the Polish economy right after the collapse of communism. His overhaul led to a quick rebalancing of supply and demand, and ended hyperinflation that kept adding zeros to Polish banknotes faster than the central bank was able to design them.

It also revealed massive joblessness and the inadequacy of millions on the job market, covered up previously by the communist utopia of full employment. According to Mr. Balcerowicz’s critics, his plan was the primary cause of massive unemployment. To the wider public, Mr. Balcerowicz stands for the stunning success of Poland’s economic transition that in 20 years turned it from a bankrupt country paying wages in the region of $20 a month to a high-income economy, according to the World Bank. His record as central bank governor also won him respect as inflation declined quickly from double digits soon after his appointment in 2001, and remained low for most of his six-year term.

Mr. Balcerowicz has recently waged a public-relations war on the current government, highlighting its failure to cut spending. And yet Prime Minister Donald Tusk, in what may seem a magnanimous moment or an attempt to quiet a fierce critic, said Friday he talked to Mr. Balcerowicz about “the IMF situation” and would like to support the economist for the IMF managing director position.


Poland's secret services snoop at private data

The daily got access to a report of the Polish Bar Council, which reads that regulations protecting private data “give rise to doubts as to their accordance with the constitution and the European Human Rights Convention”. Referring to data of the European Commission, the Polish Bar Council representatives state that Poland leads in the number of motions filed by the secret services, among others, to phone operators demanding reports of phone conversations. Last year some 1.3 million such reports were provided, which is over 300,000 more than in 2009. “The situation resembles Orwell’s books. Private data is available to secret services at any time,” Rzeczpospolita writes, quoting a member of the Polish Bar Council.

“Who is threatened by Polish gas?” asks POLSKA THE TIMES. An offensive of black propaganda directed at shale gas has been launched, even though there are signs that Poland could become a second Norway, that is an energy powerhouse due to the rich sources of shale gas. However, the extraction of the gas is facing an uncertain future. There are serious doubts whether the project will materialise – the Russian gas giant Gazprom and France, a leader in nuclear power stations, are the main rivals fearing for their domination in energy supplies. Poland is building a coalition for shale gas extraction in Europe and hopes for the support of Britain, Denmark or Sweden, but the key ally in this case is the US writes POLSKA THE TIMES. Poland does not have the technologies nor money to conduct the necessary research. According to the daily a US project, Poland Span is to be launched in July aiming at a seismological examination of the whole shale gas belt in Poland. The daily adds that shale gas extraction is to be one of the major topics in talks during the oncoming visit to Warsaw of US president Barack Obama.

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