Episode 64

Farmers’ Blockade & more – 9th Jan 2024

Farmers partially ending blockade, date for local elections, lack of ambulances in Zakopane, activation of air defense systems, new purchase of military equipment, closed Polish schools in Belarus, and much more!

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 9th of January twenty twenty-four A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Starting a new week with updates on the farmers' protest…

On Sunday, the 7th, farmers partially ended their blockade of the Polish-Ukrainian border after the new government proposed a new deal to give them corn subsidies worth 250 million dollars and new loans worth 650 million dollars. Also, the government promised not to increase taxes in twenty twenty-four. The farmers will clear the blockage once the executive fulfills its promises. The Minister of Agriculture said they are waiting for ratification of the deal from the European Commission because the EU doesn’t allow member states to act independently in farming policies.

The government also focuses on the issue of rising prices…

The executive launched a project to stop the rise of house prices, which have been increasing in recent years. On Thursday, the 4th, the government announced a program named ‘Flat for a Start’ to help people buy their first flat. The project will provide loans to people under thirty-five in accordance with the number of family members they have. The program is still in the proposal stage and will launch in mid-twenty-twenty-four. However, the Left Party, a member of the ruling coalition, was against the project, saying that it would not halt price increases. They proposed that the state build new houses instead of subsidizing current ones.

In twenty fifteen, a Warsaw court sentenced Maciej Wasik and Mariusz Kaminski, two former heads of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, or CBA, to two years in prison because they abused their powers in two thousand seven and conducted an illegal operation. However, President Duda pardoned them at that time because they were members of his party. But in December twenty twenty-three, another court again sentenced Wasik and Kaminski to two years in prison for power abuse. The problem is that Maciej Wasik is now an MP. So, Szymon Hołownia, the speaker of the parliament, has launched a project to lift the politician's immunity. Yet, the president said that he didn’t support the court decision because he had already pardoned the two politicians in twenty fifteen, and it is illegal to judge them again. He sent a letter to Hołownia to terminate the immunity-waving process.

On Wednesday, the 3rd, Donald Tusk, the prime minister, announced that the local elections might take place on the 7th of April. The candidates will compete for mayor positions in the cities. Tusk hopes the parties that compose the ruling coalition: the Civic Platform, the Poland twenty fifty Party, the Polish People’s Party, and the Left, will form a similar alliance to the one they formed for the parliamentary elections.

Moving on with another social security project…

On Monday, the 8th, the council of ministers reviewed the new project called Holidays from the Social Insurance Institution, or ZUS. Krzysztof Hetman, the Minister of Development and Technology, said that from twenty twenty-five, entrepreneurs will be able to postpone compulsory social insurance payments for up to three months. Hetman added that tax payments overburdened businesses, especially when they have to pay them in a short period of time. The aim of the project was to relieve entrepreneurs from some financial responsibilities.

The winter isn’t over, but Zakopane faces challenges with ambulances all year round…

Zakopane, a city in the south of the country, hosts a lot of tourists, especially during the winter season, because of its high mountains, which are perfect for skiing. Tytus Chałubiński, the coordinator of rescue teams in the city, complained that the Zakopane has only three ambulances in service despite a population of 70,000 people, plus 200,000 in the Christmas and New Year's season. As a solution, he encouraged the permanent residents of the city to learn first-aid techniques to help people when the ambulance is late. His medical team also opened a YouTube account and published videos on how to help people with cardiac arrest and bleeding.

Winter is a challenging time but not only for people…

This week, an organization named ‘Shelter for Homeless Animals in Krakow’ started a campaign for people to adopt homeless dogs from shelters for the winter period to protect them from upcoming frozen weather and heavy snows. After winter, everyone willing to help can take the dogs back to the shelter. The organization mentioned that people have temporarily adopted 123 animals so far.

Currently, all the shops in the country are closed on Sundays to give all workers an official rest day. However, some people are not satisfied with the law and demand that the government allow shopping on Sundays. Agnieszka Dziemianowicz, the new minister of Family, and Social Policy, responded that she is against Sunday shopping because most of the cashiers are women and work all week long and deserve at least one day off..

Speaking of work…

On Tuesday, the 9th, according to a ManpowerGroup study, companies suffer from a lack of talented workers in the country. Sixty-six percent of companies stated that they have difficulty recruiting appropriate candidates for IT, logistics, sales, marketing, and customer service areas..

Moving on to external affairs…

On Monday, the 8th, the Operational Command in Warsaw announced that they had activated the air defense systems after the Russian missile entered the country's airspace last week and after Russia's intense missile attack on Ukraine. Moreover, Polish and NATO countries’ F-16 patrols went to the eastern border of the country to shoot down Russian fighter jets that may approach the border.

On that note about defense, last year the government signed a deal with the US to purchase 116 modern Abraham tanks to protect against a possible Russian attack. On Tuesday, the 9th, the country received twenty-nine Abraham tanks and seventy-nine other armored vehicles. Also, the opposition Law and Justice party accused the new government of reducing the military capacity of the country. However, Władysław Kosiniak, the new defense minister, said that the new government’s top priority is the country's security and will continue signing contracts to modernize the army.

On Saturday, the 6th, Belarusian authorities closed another private Polish language school in Minsk. The Belarusian government has been closing Polish schools in the country since December twenty twenty-three, saying that they have financial improprieties and incorrect documentation. This was put into question as Belarus might not want any Polish influence in the country.

Poland’s relations with Germany are also tense after the former ruling Law and Justice party accused Germany of trying to rule over Poland because the country refused to pay World War II compensation. On Monday, the 8th, Andrzej Szejna, the new government’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, said the Law and Justice party was unwise to argue with Germany and should’ve considered the strong business and trading relations between the two countries. Szejna added that the current government will discuss with Germany how to resolve the World War II compensation issues.

Let’s take a look at cultural updates…

On Sunday, the 7th, Polish scholar Anna Nasiłowska announced that she will publish the English version of her book titled ‘A History of Polish Literature’ next month. The book tells how Polish Literature has impacted European identity from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century.

Aaand that's it for this week!

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