Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Russia and Germany still not good for Poland

Poland’s geographic location has been both a blessing (particularly in the Middle-Ages) and a curse (particularly in Modern Times starting in the mid-18th century).

Poland is caught in a vise between Russia and Germany. In 1939 there was the Molotov-Ribbentrop (non-aggression) Treaty. Today, Germany and Russia are joined at the pipe, which by design circumvents the more economical land crossing through Poland with a deep under sea route via the Baltic.

Russia has 33% of the world’s natural gas reserves. Germany’s special energy relationship with Putin’s government threatens energy security in Europe according to many experts. Last winter, Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine for political leverage, perhaps in retaliation for the Orange Revolution there. Russia is in the third year of a boycott of Polish agricultural product importation undoubtedly with a political leverage component to it.

While Germans agreed under Russian influence to circumvent the direct overland route through Poland looking out for their own county’s interests, Poland, traditionally (and with rational reasons) a skeptic of Russia called for an energy NATO at the time, to ensure the whole of Europe’s energy interests.

Germany has not shown solidarity with the rest of the Union on energy and a select number of other important economic and political issues. What was the purpose of the EU? And, who’ll have the guts to call Germany out on this?

Russia flexes its energy muscle as a foreign policy weapon against former Soviet republics that turn toward the west. Additionally, democracy shortcomings like the killing of Kremlin critics Anna Politkovskaya (a journalist) and Alexander Litvinenko (a former Russian spy) have increased the public unease in Europe over Russia as a reliable partner.

Shell, BP and other EU energy companies have been bullied out of oil and gas field development contracts in Russia. Poland and other members of the Union would like to see EU solidarity to act as a coherent negotiator in deals with Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom.

Germany marginalizes its neighbors and is undermining the energy security in Western Europe. We have not seen or heard the last of this problem. The newly elected government in Poland cannot take a weak stand on energy policy and must be more aggressive than in the past. Poland’s natural gas deal with Norway will bring supplies across to Demark and then through Germany. Poland’s Achilles’ heel will be Germany bowing to the whims of Russia.
Poland be weary of the modern day Molotov-Ribbentrop.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

JPII, Still with us

The composite image shows, at right a bonfire which locals believe resembles the silhouette of late Pope John Paul II making a blessing, in a picture taken by amateur photographer Grzegorz Lukasik, atop Matyska mountain in southern Poland, on April 2, 2007, during a vigil marking the second anniversary of the Polish pope's death. Data on Lukasik's digital camera says the picture was taken at 21.37:30, exactly the hour when the pope died. Picture at left shows Pope John Paul II waving to faithfuls as he leaves the Vatican on August 8, 2001.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Poles in the U. K. and Emerald Isle

Polish immigrants in the U.K are better workers than those born in Britain and increase economic output of the country, but at the same time cause considerable social tension according to a British government study on the economic impact of immigration.

The study says Poles are more reliable, dutiful and committed to work that the British-born workers and are ready to work overtime without complaining and with less sick-leaves. Many Polish migrants on average earn 60 pounds a week more.

It has been estimated that the economic benefit to Britian is more than 6 billion pounds a year.

But large numbers of migrants also cause certain social tensions, mainly connected with additional burden put on the system of education, health care as well as an increase of flat rental costs. In the UK there are over 300,000 officially registered immigrants from Poland.

There may be close to an equal number of Poles now living in Ireland and they want their mother tongue to be recognized as third official language, alongside English and Gaelic. It would require an amendment to the Irish constitution. The Polish community magazine "Sowa" ("Owl"), started a campaign for Polish to be recognized as an official language in Ireland.

Some government offices serve more Polish only speaking people on a daily basis than natives from Ireland.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sorry Pani Sendler

From Glenn Beck:

We all know that Al Gore is a shoe in to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year---and why not? The guy, after all, did make a movie about temperatures and everything. What you didn't know is who is his main competition. A Polish woman who saved 2500 Jewish kids from certain death during the holocaust also has a chance to win. Hmm, who should get the award that signifies 'making a difference' in the world---the woman who saved 2500 kids from the worst dictator in history OR---a guy who made a hyper-exaggerated fear mongering movie that's not based in reality? It's close---so close it's like choosing who'd you be stranded on a desert island with and your choices are Eva Longoria, BTK, or OJ Simpson.

What do you expect from an organization that nominated Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler? So, you know, they got the whole thing down, don't they? They do, they do. Oh, by the way, Yasser Arafat, Yasser Arafat won a Nobel Peace Prize. That's a good one. And Jimmy Carter won a Nobel Peace Prize. So he is in good company.

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Babies cost money

EU birthrates have hovered near zero. Poland itself had a post-communist low birth rate on top of thousands going to the U.K. to find high paying jobs. The government in Poland started programs to encourage population growth. It worked!

From thenews.pl:

More and more children are being born in Poland, which means that next year the government will spend around 10 million zlotys more than in 2006 on one time payments to families with new borns. In the first half of this year, 227.000 children were born. Throughout the whole of 2006 only 374.000 of them were born – a demographic record in Poland. The government introduced the payments to families, around 350 dollars, as part of its `pro-family' policies to encourage Poles to have more children.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Travel to Poland just got a whole lot more expensive

Think you can still buy 4 Zloty for a buck? Today, you'd be lucky to get two and a half.

If our government used standard accounting practices you'd see that the U.S. debt is about $500,000 per household.

Socialising medicine and not fixing social social security - Maybe you'll get a couple groszy for a buck. Hardly the cost of a stick of gum.

Becoming a third world nation -- priceless.

It's hard to pass U.S. currency in Poland nowadays. Whoda thunk it?

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." -- Ralph Waldo Emersonski

Politicians of the Democrat Party wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell if campaigning in today's Poland. Clearly the Poles take personal credit for their well being and economic success not using the crutch of socialized government anymore.

The most important survey on the life quality in Poland 'Social Diagnosis 2007' reveals that the Poles are happier than ever. In fact, the results of the study show that the Poles evaluate their lives higher than ever since Poland became a free country.

76% of respondents said they are satisfied with their family's financial situation and the economic shape of the country. They also said that they are not afraid of losing their jobs and have optimistic outlook for the future.

At the same time the participants of the research believe they owe this general well-being only to themselves.

Even the economic growth was estimated as their success, and not the state authorities.

'Social Diagnosis 2007' was the 4th edition of the largest survey in Poland examining conditions and quality of Poles' lives and involved a sample of 18,000 people.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." -- from Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essay on Self Reliance. Government really does get in the way of productive, enterprising, energetic people. Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and Birkowski knew that. "Live free or Die.... er, or move to Poland.

BBC invades Poland

BBC Global Channels will roll out a suite of four branded thematic channels—BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies—in Poland, which, according to Dean Possenniskie, the senior VP of EMEA for BBC Global Channels, is a "priority market" for the company.

Poland is the first territory in BBC Global Channels' planned European expansion. All four channels will debut in Poland on December 2 and will be available on satellite exclusively for subscribers of Cyfrowy Polsat, the country's largest satellite platform, as part of its Family package.

Possenniskie told World Screen Newsflash: "We focused on Poland because it is a priority market for BBC Worldwide. It's probably the best growth market in Europe at the moment in terms of television, and also arguably one of the most competitive markets. Poland gives us the opportunity to launch all four channels—CBeebies, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and BBC Entertainment— as one portfolio from day one, and this is the first time we've achieved this worldwide."

He added: "When we prove the success of these channels in Poland we are proving them against the best channels in the world, so it's a great market to begin in and one that is full of potential as well."

Source: Worldscreen.com

Monday, October 01, 2007

Dirty Feet Shall Never Stomp the Fruit of My Wine

During a meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels the Polish delegation has been pushing for a wine definition that also comprises spirits produced of fruit other than grapes.

The talks in Brussels concerned, among others, a project of wine market reform presented by the European Commission in July. One of the effects of such reform would be a ban on marketing spirits based on fruit other than grapes under the 'wine' label. For centuries in Poland a traditional wine has been produced from apples.

Finland and Sweden support the Polish objections. In northern Europe because of climate conditions one does not grow grapes.

Another argument used by the Polish delegation was that in June the EU rejected Polish proposition of the definition of vodka stipulating that only spirits distilled from potatoes and rye can be sold under that label.