Episode 33

Poland Update – Opposition Protest & more – 6th June 2023

The opposition parties held a protest, international condemnation of the Russian influence law, a cyberattack, training Ukrainian pilots to use fighter jet F-16s, the Family 800+ program, and much more! 

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 6th of June A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Let’s kick off this edition with a massive rally.

On Sunday, the 4th, The main opposition party and other smaller parties held a huge protest in the capital city, Warsaw. Reporters said that at least half a million people attended the rally. They protested against inflation, the cost of living, and they wanted the recognition of the rights of women and the LGBT+community. Also, people protested the recently accepted law to punish Russian influence on politicians. Reporters stated that the leading figures of the demonstration were Donald Tusk, the leader of the main opposition party, and Lech Walensa, the former president.

Just before the rally, the ruling party initiated an internet campaign undermining the protest. The PiS, or Law and Justice created a hashtag #MarszNienawiści or the Rally of Hatred to depict the rally as a protest full of hate. Also, the opposition reacted to a video that shows police violence under the rule of Donald Tusk, the previous prime minister. The opposition said that the police is a non-political entity, so it had nothing to do with Tusk's term of office.

On Sunday, the 4th, Minister Morawiecki, the prime minister, spoke sarcastically about the rally. He said it was not a civil protest, but rather a rally that some opposition supporters attended.

Speaking of the opposition,

On Tuesday, the 6th, the Left Party encouraged all the opposition to work on a common pact ahead of the election. Włodzimierz Czarzasty, co-chairperson of the Left Party, said that opposition parties should show that they can stand together. He told other parties that they should not attack each other during the election process, and work together to form a coalition, although some opposition parties are not that interested.

When it comes to last week’s debate on a very controversial law…

On Thursday, the 1st, the tension increased in the European Parliament as the session was about the recent controversial law approved in Poland about Russian influence. This law would allow a commision, without a court decision, to determine and punish politicians under Russian influence. If the commission decides that a politician is under Russia’s influence, they would prevent him from holding public office. Besides, individuals would not be able to object to the verdict of the commission in court.

The members of the European Parliament gathered in France to discuss Poland’s recently approved law. The European Commissioner for Justice expressed his concern about the law as it may block some individuals from competing in the political sphere in an anti-democratic way.

Amid the international condemnation of the law,

On Friday, the 2nd, Polish President Andrej Duda announced that he would make an amendment to the controversial law. The government in Poland stepped back after the intense debates and international reaction. Duda said that the law would not deprive individuals from holding public office. Also, he said that the commission will only include non-political members, and individuals would be able to go to a court to object to the verdict of the commission.

Let’s also talk a bit about the economy…

On Thursday, the 1st, the European Union statistics agency said that Poland has the lowest unemployment rate among all the member countries. While the unemployment rate in the European Union reached six percent, Poland and the Czech Republic had the lowest rates among all of them. Poland had a three percent unemployment rate, while Spain had the highest one, at thirteen percent .

Poland continues to strengthen its military power…

On Thursday, the 1st, the defense ministry announced that Poland is considering producing one million artillery shells per year. Amid the invasion of Ukraine, Poland continues to strengthen its army drastically.. Mariusz Błaszczak, the defense minister, approved a state-sponsored company order to produce hundreds of thousands of shells . He said producing a million shells every year is very challenging, but it is vital to ensure Poland’s security.

Speaking of the military,

On Thursday, the 1st, Mateusz Morawiecki announced that Poland will train Ukrainian pilots to use F-16s. In the next few days, Western allies are likely to send F-16s to Ukraine to boost its air defense amid the invasion. . Poland will only help by training pilots since it has only a few F-16s for itself.

More about Ukraine and Poland,

On Monday, the 5th, the European Union extended the agreement to ban Ukrainian grain in five member countries, including Poland.

When we come to Polish-Belarusian relations,

On Friday, the 2nd, Stanisław Żaryn, a senior official, said that an incoming festival in Belarus may put pressure on the Polish border. In July, Belarus will organize an art festival where people from seventy-three different countries will attend, free of any visa requirement. Żaryn claimed that there can be an influx of people trying to cross the Polish border and go deep into Europe.

Speaking of Belarus,

On Saturday, the 3rd, authorities finally found the hot balloon that entered Polish airspace on the 13th of May from Belarusian airspace. They announced that they found the remains of the balloon in Biała Piska town. They reported that it was very likely a weather balloon.

Tensions with Belarus are growing, and relations with Canada are improving…

On Friday, the 2nd, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, held a meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, in Toronto. Morawiecki and Trudeau discussed bilateral relations, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the security of Poland and the entire eastern flank of NATO. Morawiecki also visited energy executives, as Poland and Canada aim to work together on nuclear energy technology.

In unrelated news,

On Wednesday, the 31st, a major cyberattack hit Poland. Authorities revealed that hackers had accessed several million passwords belonging to Poles on some websites as well as banks. These include Facebook, news agencies, online shopping sites, and major banks. Hackers initiated the attack via a virus that revealed the browser-saved passwords of the users. Officials said that Poles could check whether this attack affected them or not via an official website You can fin the link to it in our show notes.

On Tuesday, the 6th, authorities gave some details about the Family 500+ program that millions of Poles are waiting for. The Family 500+ program helps parents financially support their children under eighteen years old with 120 dollars per month. With the last amendment, the program name became Family 800+, as parents will get 800 PLN, or 190 dollars, starting next year. Although the main opposition party proposed that the new program start in July, the ruling party did not support the idea.

Aaaand that's it for this week. You know every week we work hard to pick what the most important stuff is in Poland. What's talked about the most, what's big but flies under the radar. All the main stuff. Are we getting the mix right? Not a specific thing we have missed? What types of information do you want more or less of? Let us know at poland@rorshok.com

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