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Polish report
by Euro Reporter
2014-10-31 09:42:54
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Amazon opens 3 logistics centres in Poland

Ahead of Christmas, popular U.S. online retailer Amazon has opened three logistics centres in western Poland, completing a network that covers the European market.

A centre employing some 2,500 workers opened on Wednesday in Sady, near Poznan. Two others, jointly employing some 2,500 people were opened Tuesday near Wroclaw. Built at the costs of 100 million euros each, they are Amazon’s only centres in Central and Eastern Europe.

To ensure smooth operation through the Christmas shopping season, they will be temporarily reinforced with another 5,000 workers. Tim Collins, director for operations in Europe, said the centres are part of a broader network covering Europe. Amazon also has logistics centres in Germany, Britain, France and Italy.


Museum of Jewish history opens in Poland

The presidents of Poland and Israel on Tuesday joined Holocaust survivors for the formal opening of a multimedia museum that tells the 1,000-year history of Jewish life in Poland. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, on his first foreign trip as president, and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski attended the open-air ceremony at the neighbouring monument that honours fighters of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Speaking in Hebrew, Rivlin said he came as the 10th president of Israel and a son of builders of the State of Israel.

"When you are a Jew, even if you were not born in Poland, the very name 'Poland' stirs up trembling and longing in your heart," Rivlin said. "This country has become a place of creating the spirit of the Jewish nation and - alas! - also the largest Jewish cemetery. Here, the Jewish town (shtetl) was born and here it was also dying. It was dying, locked in ghettos but never ceasing to fight until it was murdered by German Nazis." Komorowski said he believes the museum will help remove untruths and distortions in the way that Poles and Jews see each other, and thus contribute to building new relations between the two nations whose life and cultures were intertwined for centuries.

The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews was built at what was the centre of the Warsaw Ghetto. It uses documents, murals, touch screens and building reconstructions to show the richness of Poland's Jewish culture, which was wiped out in the Holocaust. First plans for the museum were made in 1995, under Poland's young democracy that made it possible to discuss and remember events that were taboo under decades of communism following World War II. A striking modern glass-and-concrete form, it was financed from private donations and from the Warsaw budget.


Poland in defence shift as security concerns rise

Poland is planning a major realignment of its military structure because of the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine, the country's defence minister said Monday, a move that could shift thousands of troops to its eastern border. "The geopolitical situation has changed. We have the biggest crisis of security since the Cold War and we must draw conclusions from that," Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said. Although Poland joined NATO in 1999, most of its 120,000-member army is based along the country's western border, as a relic of its former status as a Soviet bloc member. That is going to change, Siemoniak said, adding that at least three military bases in the east will increase from the current 30 percent of capacity to almost 90 percent by the end of 2017. That's a potential increase of thousands of troops, although Siemoniak wouldn't specify a precise overall figure.

Up to 400 jobs would be filled in the air defence unit in Siedlce alone by 2017, he said. "I believe that what happened to the east of Poland does not represent a threat to us for the next months, or two or three or five years. It is a need to draw conclusions for the decades to come," he added in explaining the large scope of the plans. The announcement follows a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Estonia last month in which he urged NATO members to do more to assist Ukraine. There was no immediate reaction in Moscow to the planned Polish military moves. The Russian government may be reluctant to criticize Poland since Russia had insisted on the right to position its forces as it wishes within its own country when confronted by the West over the deployment of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. Charles Heyman, editor of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom publication, said Poland's eastward movement is "part and parcel" of a larger NATO re-deployment.

"We'll see other NATO nations probably stationing troops in Poland on a permanent basis as well," he said. "Not large numbers, but maybe a small NATO brigade of 2,500 that would be rotated every six months." He said this would make it clear to Russia that "there are red lines that cannot be crossed. It gives the other side a message: You've gone far enough," he said. In a restructuring after Poland became a democracy in 1989, the number of troops was gradually cut down from some 400,000 and the draft was discontinued, basing the armed forces on career officers and enlisted troops. Ever-limited means have been spent on upgrading the units, rather than on restructuring the whole infrastructure. Poland intends to increase its spending on the army to 2 percent of its GDP starting in 2016, from the current 1.95 percent.

Wedged between Germany and Russia, Poland has been the site of invasion and warfare. It was carved up by Nazi Germany and then-Soviet Union at the start of World War II, leading to the death of some 6 million of its citizens. Liberated by the Soviet Red Army, it was put under Moscow's domination for decades of communist rule after the war. Poles value the independence they regained after the peaceful ouster of communism in 1989 and are worried by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. "People have realized that security does matter and that you cannot forget about the army," Siemoniak said. "No one wants war."


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Emanuel Paparella2014-10-31 22:37:52
Unlike some EU parlamentarians, the Polish leadership if far from demanding the dismantling of NATO. The reason should be obvious: they remember well the "heaven on earth" they were living in during the Soviet occupation of their country.

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