Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Poland becoming the EU Transportation Hub

Like the ancient "Silk Road" trade route used to bring Chinese silk, pottery and tea to Poland, and Polish amber to China. centuries later, an express freight railway is connecting the two countries. Poland is in a very good geographic position to be the distribution center for Chinese goods bound for European markets.

 See previous post on this subject

Shipping containers in China will soon leave for Europe, covering a distance of six thousand miles until they arrive in Łódź in which has been chosen as the western terminal for the trans-continental trains.

China to Łódź

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently visited Poland and agreed to strengthen ties by tangible achievements of sustainable practical cooperation, including China-Europe freight train service, including joint construction of the "Belt and Road" track project providing a direct connection between the two countries.

Poland is located in the heartland of Europe, with nearly all of the regular China-Europe freight trains going through the country. With its unique location, Poland can play an important role in realizing the Belt and Road Initiative.

We don't want problems

Only 42 out of over 5,300 people who have applied for refugee status in Poland since the beginning of 2016 have been granted that status. Russian nationals who are Chechen in origin, Tajiks and Ukrainians comprised the largest groups of applicants.

In 2015, over 12,000 foreigners applied for international protection in Poland, but only 348 of them were granted refugee status.

A high commission of the UN says Poland was in no way affected by last year’s mass inflow of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe.

"Poland for Poles - Poles for Poland" 

A majority of Poles are opposed to their country taking in any refugees and Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of Poland’s ruling, conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party said that the country would not accept refugees because they posed a threat to security.

So far there have been no terrorist attacks in Poland or spread of diseases that have been eradicated in the country - unlike what is happening in the United States and European Union.

Poland is a highly homogeneous society of Christians with a very small percentage of minority groups in the population. Historically, Poland has been very receptive of allowing those groups who had been ostracized and persecuted to establish settlements in Poland including Jews expelled from Western European countries or Tartar Muslims who assimilated into the Polish culture. Today, a small but growing number of Vietnamese have migrated to Poland. Each aforementioned minority group has not unsettle the domestic tranquillity of the Polish state.

If Poland stays their course on letting few refuges in compared to other EU countries - It will be an interesting statistical comparison on which countries have social strife versus Poland's relative tranquillity.

Still nobody is posing the question, "Why aren't Muslim refugees taking land routes to other Muslim countries for refuge"? There would certainly be significantly less culture shock.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Beefing up defenses

Although a militia has already been established by NGOs [Non Government Organizations], Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said, "Poland will shortly start enrolling the first volunteers in a 35,000-member paramilitary force aimed at parrying a perceived threat from Russia".

The force's command structure and senior appointments were decided in April and enrollment of the first members of the territorial defense force will start this coming September.

A look at the Polish militia movement

Unlike the paramilitary militia the territorial defense forces will comprise of civilians who have had military training and like the militia is intended to deter Russia from its expansionist aggression

"The territorial defense force is our response to the threat associated with hybrid warfare," said Grzegorz Kwasniak, in charge with setting up the force, referring to the stealth tactic of infiltration used by Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Each of Poland's 16 provinces are expected to have a brigade-level force, and Mazovia - the biggest and most populous region in the centre of the country - will have two. Priority in deployment will be given to eastern provinces - Podlachia, Lublin and Podkarpachie - deemed to be the most exposed to Russian pressure.

Signs of Exit?

Very soon the citizens of the United Kingdom go to the polls to determine if they stay in the EU. Many predict if the Brexit succeeds, it will engender a domino effect all across Europe, as many more countries will begin voting on whether to stay in the EU, or leave. The dynamics at play are reminiscent of Solidarność when the defiant actions of Poles influenced people in other Eastern Block countries to follow their lead in throwing off the shackles of communism.

Second thoughts about membership

If the Brits leave, Poland is the next likely candidate to consider extracting itself from the Union that is a failed,  corrupt, ill conceived, and badly managed mendacious / unaccountable disaster.

Here's the hint of a Polxit: When Poland’s new Prime Minister Beata Szydlo member of Eurosceptic PiS [Law & Justice Party] swept to an election victory last year, one of the first things was removal of the blue European Union flag from the backdrop of her news conferences, leaving only the red and white Polish flag. Moreover, burning of EU flags has become more common at demonstrations in Poland and anti-EU sentiments are stoked by memories of historic foreign intervention by its neighbors.

Now, the mandate proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for EU members, including Poland, to accept Muslim migrants has galvanized support for Szydlo’s Law and Justice Party’s pledge to defy the quotas.

Friendly and grateful refugees

George Byczynski, head of the British Poles Initiative, a Polish civic group in London said, "At the beginning, there were a lot of voices in Poland in favor of taking refugees from the Middle East”.  But the threat of financial penalties for not doing so changed those attitudes and Poles
suddenly started feeling this is again an authoritarian approach in detrimental to national sovereignty and self determination.

Andriy Korniychuk, an analyst at the Institute of Public Affairs, a research organization in Warsaw, says anti-migrant sentiments helped bring Szydlo to power, and he says the anti-EU wave is showing no signs of slowing.

The Eurosceptic movement is growing according to recent polls, but has not yet reached the level the Brexit campaign has in Britain. The arguments in Poland to leave the EU are more symbolic in regard to the protection of sovereignty than anything else. Pragmatic Poles know Poland is a poster child of European integration due to its being the largest beneficiary of EU aid. The economic benefits may be the main reason the movement has not led to any concrete, significant action for a Polish exit.

But, another variable is at play. The EU has been extremely critical of changes made by the PiS government affecting state run media and the Constitutional Court. The EU made an  unprecedented warning on June 2 to the country’s right-wing government to respect the rule of law, or face punitive measures. The EU  formally warned Poland that it should find a solution to roll back Warsaw’s overhaul of the top Polish court, which critics say endangers its independence. Brussels’ warning is part of a drawn-out procedure which could eventually see Warsaw have its voting rights suspended in the European Council of Ministers, the EU’s most important decision-making body.

Sanctions imposed against Poland could have a pronounced affect that would accelerate Poles to consider getting out from under the thumb of Brussels as it did Moscow 27 years earlier. However, this time there is the cost of ending billions in financial aid.

Hell’s Angels meet in Poland

Many international organizations hold confabs around the world. For instance during the second week in July NATO will hold its 2016 summit at the National Stadium in Warszawa where heads of state and military personnel will gather.

Another group drawing its members from around the world are also meeting in Poland - this weekend.

Hell's Angels meet in Poland July 2016

Poland’s deputy police chief, Inspector Andrzej Szymczyk, reported that thousands of police officers have been assigned to keep tabs on a incredibly large number of Hell's Angels expected to flock to Rynia, Poland [near Warszawa] for an annual international meeting.

Polish authorities have warned they will closely monitor the situation amid fears of a surge of crime and violence during the Hell’s Angels World Run.

The Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club is considered an organized crime syndicate by the American Department of Justice.