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Polish report
by Euro Reporter
2014-07-16 13:37:11
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US spies to relocate to Poland after German row?

Revelations that the United States had been spying on German politicians and top officials came to a head last Thursday with the CIA station chief in Berlin being asked to leave the country after it was discovered that two US spies had allegedly infiltrated the German government. The Bild am Sonntag tabloid continued the revelations at the weekend, citing US intelligence sources, that the CIA recruited more than a dozen spies in the defence, development, economy and interior ministries.

Despite US secretary of state John Kerry saying, after a meeting with German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Vienna on Sunday that Washington and Berlin “remain great friends”, the Bild newspaper reports that new locations for the spies are being sort, with locations in Poland or the Czech republic thought most favourable.

Tension over the US spying on German politicians first emerged when whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone calls and collected data from emails and other online services used by ordinary Germans.


Poland offers fruitful lessons in agriculture

It is early summer and not yet the harvest season for apples in Europe, but the shelves of all supermarkets and even restaurants in Warsaw were stacked with the fruit. Poland's Undersecretary of State Katarzyna Kacperczyk said, "We are very proud to announce that Poland is one of the world's top apple exporters." Then she said, "We believe that we can maintain good quality with smaller farms." Kacperczyk was speaking with a group of visiting Vietnamese reporters last month as the official in charge of overseeing Poland's relationship with Viet Nam. She said she would like to present the success of small-and medium-sized farms and plantations in Poland. "Poland also exports processed meat and our agricultural exports are Poland's strengths," she added. Poland's business credentials in several sectors are impressive. Since it joined the European Union in May 2004, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) has risen substantially.

"We are No 1 in central and eastern Europe in terms of business attractiveness and we are No 3 in creating jobs for foreign investors," said Anna Barbarzak, acting director of Economic Cooperation Department under Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Poland exported four million tonnes of apples last year, and small co-operatives like Nasz Sad with an exporting capacity of 20,000 tonnes a year are small pieces in the puzzle that make up the bigger picture. "Now we are the world's No 1 apple exporter over China," said Dariusz Szymanski, a farmer and sales manager for Nasz Sad, a co-operative of 31 independent farmers producing cherry, raspberry and apple plantations. The co-operative covers a flatland area of 360ha. The farmers harvest apples during September and October every year, but they export all year round. "The apples harvested during summer are consumed in the local market," Szymanski said. "We need to make sure that the apples harvested later in October can last between one and two months during shipment to markets far away. We cannot ship if they don't last that long."

In the company's large computer-monitored storage room, where craters of apples are piled up to the ceiling, Szymanski explained each step that the fruit had to go through - cleaning, sorting and packing - before they could leave the farm in refrigerated trucks to neighbouring countries like Russia and the Baltic states, or as far as the Middle East, Mongolia and Kazakhstan in Asia. In an interview last Sunday on the VTV1 Channel, Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan answered questions emailed to the programme by viewers, many of them farmers. He told more than 60 million Vietnamese farmers, who account for more than 65 per cent of the total population and more than half of the labour force, that "using science and technology in preserving and processing produce will be the saviour of our agricultural sector." His answer was broadcast amid the height of the lychee harvest season in Luc Ngan District in Bac Giang Province, 90km north of Ha Noi. In the hilly district, farmers, who count their plantations by the numbers of hills they plant the fruit trees on, have to hire labour to pick the fruit and take them to wholesale markets on motorised vehicles to sell to merchants, mostly Chinese, who then move on to transport the fruit to other destinations.


Poland may current account surplus below forecast

Poland's current account surplus declined sharply in May and came in below economists' expectations, figures from the National Bank of Poland showed Monday. The current account surplus fell to EUR 280 million from EUR 941 million in April. Economists had forecast a surplus of EUR 448 million. A year ago, there was deficit of EUR 176 million.

The visible trade surplus during the month declined to EUR 175 million from EUR 733 million in the previous month. The surplus in services trade also decreased, down to EUR 464 million from EUR 607 million.

The deficit in the income account widened to EUR 1.36 billion from EUR 1.22 billion. Meanwhile, the surplus in the current transfers account rose to EUR 1.00 billion from EUR 818 million.  In the January to May period, Poland registered a current account deficit of EUR 2.95 billion, which was much smaller than the EUR 10.70 billion shortfall recorded in the same period last year.


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