Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Poland Abounds with Entrepreneurs

More than a half of young Europeans are keen to start their own business, according to the 2007 Eurobarometer on entrepreneurial mindset in the EU. And young Poles are in the lead in this respect. Academic Enterprise Incubators report that 68 percent of first year students plan to become an entrepreneur.

Tomek Szczesny and his friends established a Managerial Development Forum, which organizes conferences and training courses for business people. Their idea caught the attention of Tad Witkowicz, a US businessman of Polish extraction, who supported the students financially.

Tomek says that he sees around himself many young Poles who want to become self-employed. Lots of our friends and young people in Poland are thinking of creating their own company. There several reasons. One is that corporate work doesn't give so much joy and opportunities to grow. The best way to learn and to gain experience is to create your own company.

The richest student in Poland is Maciej Popowicz, the brain behind a record popular Our Class website, which enables graduates of various schools get in touch. It started modestly on his PC. Today the firm employs 35 people and has 300 servers. Popowicz earned several dozen million zlotys when he sold a 20 percent share in his website to a German investor.

Specialists say that learning the entrepreneurial attitude should start at primary school level. The Junior Achievement Foundation is targeting both primary and secondary school pupils. Barbara Szymczyk, its PR director, agrees that it is best to start such education early. 'This school year enrollment in our programs is over 700,000 students, so I guess we can be proud of ourselves. This is the stage when you can form one's mind. It is early enough. Probably kindergarten would be too early, but primary school is the perfect time to start teaching about entrepreneurship, about active attitude to life, about creativity, which we do.

One of the main programs realized by the Foundation is the Company. The Company program is the perfect example of our learning by doing approach. Students, ages from 16 to 19, form mini-companies at school. They come up with an idea of a product or service, they elect their managers' team responsible for each department, they produce, they sell, keep records and finally they share the profit. This school year 2007-2008 we registered 344 teams in the program..

It is not easy to start a business of one's own but it's worth the risk, says Tomek Szczesny from the Managerial Development Forum. Of course, it is very hard to start but there are enough capital and business angles in Poland to seek capital invest in our own businesses. I am now observing lots of new businesses in Poland, especially in the high tech sector. The prospects are very good because the economy is boosting, our labor force is rather cheap so now it is a good time to start a business in Poland. In 2007 some 350 firms operating within the framework of the Academic Enterprise Incubators generated a total of 8 million zloty income. This is only a fraction of the whole scene, as every year more than 66 thousand firms are established by people below 30.

Source: Radio Polskie

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Maria Lacisz

Maria Lacisz - Polish female version of James Bond - died in Montreal January 2, 2008 at age 98.

Katyn Film - Big Hit

The world premiere of Andrzej Wajda's Katyn at the Berlin Film Festival Friday night was followed by silence and then long applause.

The premiere was attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel, ministers of culture of Poland and Germany and other renowned personalities from the world of culture and politics. The public was visibly shaken by the screening, which tells the true story of the massacre of over 20,000 Polish officers by the Soviet NVKD in 1940.

While addressing the public, Andrzej Wajda said that the Europe of today is heading in the right direction. The director also expressed a hope that the film would open a new chapter in Polish, German and Russian relations.

16 Tons

In May, the Polish government will revoke an international convention prohibiting women from working as coal miners. The unions are appalled.

The employing of women as coal miners is prohibited by the 45th International Labor Organization Convention from 1935. The reasons: high air pressure and constant threat to human life.

In February 2005, however, the European Tribunal of Justice decided the convention was outdated and urged the member states to revoke it.

Union leaders don't even want to hear about women miners, arguing no woman would cope with the hard work involved. 'There's no place for horses in the galleries, let alone for women', Dominik Kolorz, head of Solidarity's mining section, said jokingly.

Few remember, however, that until 1958 women were allowed to work at the coalface. Only when a woman miner had an accident and lost her hand did Poland ratify the ILO convention and introduces the ban.

EU Army

The Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, chairman of the foreign relations committee of
the European Parliament is in favor of establishing one common EU military force.

He said this would enable intervention of units from Union countries in conflict situations in which NATO cannot or does not want to engage its forces.

The idea of creating EU units has been presented by the party of French president Sarkozy. Poland could contribute 10 thousand troops to this European contingent. Jacek Saryusz-Wolski reminded Poland should feel an obligation towards this initiative, being part of the G-6 group of the biggest countries of the Old Continent and a country with long experience in combat missions, including Iraq.

This, in turn, should find reflection in Poland's greater participation in the decision making process, according to Saryusz-Wolski.

A new planetary system, very much like our solar system, has been discovered by a team of astronomers in Chile led by a Pole – Profesor Andrzej Udalski.

The international team of astronomers, involving eight Poles, pinpointed a star orbited by two planets, more or less in the same position as Jupiter and Saturn in our system. Until now it was not certain whether our system is an exception to the rule. Professor Michal Szymanski from Warsaw University Astronomical Observatory says that almost all the extra solar planets discovered so far were usually systems with quite a different structure. Almost all had giant planets orbiting their stars on very small orbits. 'This discovery shows that planetary systems, which are similar to our solar system may by quite common in the universe.'

EU Needs to Unify

New Polish PM Donald Tusk has urged the EU to unite in its dealings with Russia and not to let particular interests of member states to dominate (i.e. Polish-German gas pipeline under the Baltic), in a guest column in a German newspaper published Monday.

"The sooner all the countries in the union realize that a united voice in foreign policy is important, the better the relations of the individual countries and of the union as a whole to our large neighbour in the east will develop," Tusk wrote in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Member states and large companies were currently charting separate courses, Tusk said. "There is no question of coherence here. Divergent interests, or even rivalries, are the order of the day," he said.

He warned in particular that the EU could lose the initiative to Russia in the key area of energy policy, with the result that European energy companies and European citizens would pay more for their energy.

Russia had no interest in pursuing the modernizing European model, but was more interested in establishing its own identity, as was shown by the divergent views on Kosovo, Tusk said.

On competition between the EU and Russia regarding Eastern European countries, he said the sovereign will of the countries concerned was not being taken into account. The EU's response to reforms in Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and potentially Belarus, should be to offer the prospect of membership, the Polish prime minister said, pointing to the enlargement of the EU in recent years.

The Treaty of Lisbon, signed last year, called for a strong partnership aimed at solving global problems, such as weapons of mass destruction, climate change and international terrorism, and opened up fresh prospects in relations with Russia, he said. The EU and Russia were more than neighbours, and both sides should have the courage to work out a particular kind of strategic partnership, Tusk said. The prerequisites for this were clear and transparent ground rules, he said.

Source: DPA 2-18-08

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pl vs Ru

Quick Cliff Notes run down of Polish Russian relationships post Communist era.

* 1989 - Poland is the first Soviet satellite to overthrow communism,triggering the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the communist regime in Russia itself.

* 1992 - Russian President Boris Yeltsin releases secret clauses of the1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union thatshows they agreed to carved up Poland at outbreak of World War Two. Yeltsinalso gives Poland documents showing Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the execution of thousands of Polish POWs at the Katyn forest.

* 1993 - Yeltsin visits Poland and is feted by the hero of the Polishanti-communist struggle,President Lech Walesa. Walesa obtains Yeltsin's declaration that Russia would not object toPolish NATO entry -- which causes an outcry back in Moscow. The Kremlin backtracks and launches a drive to warn the alliance against accepting itsformer satellites. Last Russian soldiers stationed on Polish soil since World War Two leave.

* 1999 - Despite vehement Russian protests, NATO admits Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

* 2004 - Poland joins the European Union. President Aleksander Kwasniewski meets Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Ties strained over Polish reluctance to allow Russian energy companies buy Polish peers. Kwasniewski infuriates Putin by leading the EU mediation in Ukraine following the rigged presidential election there in December 2004. A re-run results in victory for pro-Western candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.

* 2005 - Conservative Law and Justice led by brothers Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski wins power in Poland, taking a sharply anti-Russian course. Moscow imposes a ban on Polish farm imports. In December, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom and its German partners agree to built an undersea gas pipe bypassing Poland. Radoslaw Sikorski, then defence minister who is now foreign minister, compares the agreement to theMolotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

* 2007 - Poland declares it is ready to host a U.S. missile defence system on its soil, sparking a violent reaction from Putin who says the move brings back the Cold War. In May, Poland blocks talks on a new EU-Russia strategic partnership overthe meat ban. In October, centre-right Civic Platform party wins a parliamentary election, with its leaderand future prime minister Donald Tusk promising to improve ties with Russia. In November, Poland lifts veto on Russia's talks to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Russia reciprocates by lifting ban on Polish meat imports.

* 2008 - Foreign Minister Sikorski meets Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrovin January, who says Moscow would not put pressure on Warsaw over its readiness to host the U.S.missile shield.

Compulation from Reuters.

Blogger's Note: Expect things to get worse in the coming years. Russia is a back stabber with Oil and Natural Gas to hold over the EU's head like the 'Sword of Damocles'. If you know anything about the quality of Russian thread -

Tusk to visit Bush 3-10-08

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will meet with U.S. President George W. Bush on March 10 during a visit in Washington. The two leaders are expected to discuss a U.S. proposal to place 10 interceptors in Poland as part of the U.S. global missile defense shield aimed at protecting the U.S. and Europe from so-called 'rogue states' such as Iran.

Last week, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said during a visit to Washington that Poland had agreed in principle to hosting the base after Warsaw received assurances that the United States would help Poland strengthen its short- to medium-range air defenses.

Poland's contributions to forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are also expected to be on the agenda. Poland contributed troops to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and has announced plans to withdraw its remaining 900 troops from the country by the end of October. Warsaw also has some 1,200 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission.

Poland bends over backwards for the US and gets a dime if they're lucky. Romania permits a US military base and gets big cash rewards. Doesn't seem to matter if the Bopsy Twins or Donald Duck is in power.