Episode 37

Bolstering the Belarusian Border & more – 4th July 2023

The president visited Ukraine, the country is bolstering the Belarusian border, Poland is purchasing the Patriot air defense system, the government opposes the EU’s immigration agreement, African heatwaves will reach Poland, and much more!

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 4th of July twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Let’s kick off this update with some news on foreign affairs.

On Wednesday, the 28th, Andrej Duda, the president, met with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, in Kyiv. Both leaders appeared to be very friendly and intimate in the pictures. Duda also held talks with the Lithuanian president in Kyiv to discuss NATO’s next summit in Lithuania. Both leaders expressed their support for Ukraine’s possible membership in NATO. Also recall that last week, a group of Russian-paid soldiers, called Wagner, moved to Belarus after the internal revolt in Russia. Duda commented about it, and he said he would urge NATO to take security measures.

Speaking of the Wagner Group, Jarosław Kaczyński, the fresh deputy prime minister, said that, so far, over 8,000 Wagner soldiers have gone to Belarus. He said this was a threat to both Ukraine and Poland so the latter will bolster its eastern borders by sending more soldiers and military equipment to the Belarusian border.

Another development took place regarding Polish-Russian relations.

On Friday, the 30th, Authorities detained an alleged Russian spy. Poland’s Internal Security Agency, or ABW, continues its nationwide operations against foreign spies, primarily Russian and Belarusian. The Russian spy was a professional hockey player, and he helped provide information to Russia about the arms supply to Ukraine.

Amid the rising threats, Poland continues to strengthen its army…

On Thursday, the 29th, Poland made a historic deal with the United States on the Patriot air defense system. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that the US Department of State has approved the sale of forty-eight Patriot air defense system launchers to Poland. The system will cost almost fifteen billion dollars. The agreement now awaits the approval of the US Congress.

On Wednesday, the 28th, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, announced the arrival of fourteen Abram tanks from the United States and called the tanks ‘the armored curtain’. Also, Mariusz Błaszczak, the defense minister, said that the arrival of the tanks would deter Russia. More tanks will arrive in Poland from the United States by twenty twenty-six. Poland is the second member of NATO to use Abram tanks after the US.

On EU-Polish relations…

On Thursday, the 29th, the prime minister, said that Poland would veto the EU’s mandatory migration agreement. Previously, the EU countries agreed to allocate immigrants to member countries. He made the announcement two days before an EU summit and said that the EU should protect its borders against illegal immigration. He said he will propose a plan to the EU about the protection of the bloc’s borders.

The president met with the Polish diaspora.

On Friday, the 30th, Duda and the First Lady, met with the Polish diaspora representatives in the presidential palace. After the World Congress of Poles from Abroad, Duda hosted the diaspora representatives and thanked them, as they helped enhance the prestige of the country abroad. He underlined the importance of the diaspora’s activities in foreign countries, as he said that some countries (like Russia) try to undermine Poland.

Now, in the domestic sphere, on Sunday, the 2nd, politicians criticized Donald Tusk, the leader of the main opposition party called the Civic Platform, over his words on immigrants. Tusk shared a short video on Twitter where he said that the ruling party is bringing immigrants from Muslim countries while attacking foreigners and immigrants at the same time. He said it is very easy to get a visa or work permit in the country for immigrants. Other politicians criticized him and said he is already the Donald Trump of Poland, and some others criticized him for being anti-Muslim.

When it comes to other parties…

On Saturday, the 1st, The Third Way party announced its nine promises on the economy. The Third Way is made up of an alliance between the Poland twenty fifty Party and the Polish People’s Party. The leaders of the alliance underlined that they will reduce the amount of taxes and create new regulations to help entrepreneurs. They also said that the more children a family has, the less they will pay in taxes.

Unlike The Third Way, the Left Party focused more on public services.

On the same day, the Left Party also announced some of its promises. The party leaders said that, unlike The Third Way, they will focus more on citizens than business people. The party stated that Poland needs more public services, like health care and early childhood education.

In some news about the elections…

On Sunday, the 2nd, a poll conducted by SW Research showed that Poles want the fight against inflation to be one of the main points of the election campaign. More than fifty percent of the participants think the economy should be the center of the campaign, while thirty-seven of them specifically expressed their concern about rising inflation. Other participants also underlined the problems with the rule of law.

Also On Sunday, the 2nd, Poland won fifty medals in total at the twenty twenty-three European Games. Polish athletes earned thirteen gold, nineteen silver, and eighteen bronze medals, which marked the country’s best performance ever at the European Games. In the number of medals, Poland took the 6th place, and Italy ranked number one.

On Wednesday, the 28th, Polish Muslims celebrated the feast of sacrifice. As most Polish Muslims live in the eastern Podlaskie region, they attended mosques and prayed there. Authorities state that Poland currently has more than sixty thousand Muslims, five thousand of whom were born in Poland.

On Thursday, the 29th, an educational foundation listed the best universities in Poland. The study ranked universities according to their prestige, scientific potential, and graduates' placement in the labor market. According to the result, The Jagiellonian University and the University of Warsaw took first place equally.

In unrelated news…

On Monday, the 3rd, the government announced the ‘First Home’ program for Poles to buy their first homes. Poles will be able to buy a house with only a two percent interest rate and a ten-year payment period. The maximum amount of credit that Poles can get from the program is 125,000 dollars. Also, for anyone who wants to save money to buy a house in the future, the government stated that it will help them protect their money against rising inflation.

And to close this edition, on Sunday, the 2nd, the Institute of Meteorology in Poland announced that an African heat wave will reach the country on the 11th of July. The Institute said the temperatures will go up to ninety-five Fahrenheit or thirty-five Celsius throughout the country. Authorities warn people about excessive time spent under the sun. Also, two days later, on the 13th of July, the institute expects the temperatures to fall drastically, up to sixty-two Fahrenheit or seventeen Celsius, and rise again quickly in the next few days. Authorities warn about possible thunderstorms and heavy rain between the 13th and the 16th of July.

That’s it for this week! Thanks for joining us!

This Poland Rorshok Update is one of the country-specific podcasts we do.

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