Episode 34

The EU Confronts Poland on Russian Law & more – 13th June 2023

The EU against the Russian influence law, Poland and the EU didn't agree on a migration agreement, Poland became a member of the ECOSOC of the UN, the ruling party fixed its relations with its coalition partner, and much more!

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 13th June twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Let’s see what is new in foreign affairs.

The EU challenged Poland over a recently accepted controversial law.

On Wednesday, the 7th, the European Union announced that it had opened a case against the controversial law on Russian influence that passed in the Polish parliament recently. The law indicates that a commission in the parliament will monitor and punish Russian influence on politicians without a court decision. The EU took its first legal action against the law by stating that it may prevent the opposition from competing in the next elections.

The opposition will also challenge the Polish government.

On Friday, the 9th, reporters stated that the main opposition party is preparing to respond to the controversial law. Previously, the opposition said the new law aimed to punish Donald Tusk, the leader of the main opposition party. Amid these concerns, reporters stated that the main opposition party is preparing to establish a counter-committee in the Polish Senate, in which the opposition has the majority. It is not yet clear how the opposition-led committee will work.

The relations between the EU and Poland may get even worse with the new migration agreement…

On Thursday, the 8th, the European Union reached an agreement to allocate refugees in Europe to its member countries, including Poland. With the agreement, the EU will share the burden of refugees, especially those from Italy and Greece, with member countries. Poland and Hungary voted against the agreement, yet it did not affect the outcome.

On Sunday, the 11th, the Polish government reacted negatively to the decision. Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, challenged the agreement harshly and said that the government would not allow any migrants to go to Poland under the dictates of the European Union. He said that Poland already took on a lot of responsibility by accepting Ukrainian refugees. Yet, reporters stated that if Poland refuses to accept refugees, the EU will charge the country almost twenty-two thousands dollars for each not-accepted refugee.

Speaking of refugees…

On Friday, the 9th, a group of migrants attacked Polish patrol guards on the Belarusian border. Anna Michalska, spokesperson for the Border Guard, said that twenty-two people were trying to cross the Polish border from Belarus when they attacked border guards with stones and bricks. The previous day, eighty-five people tried to cross the Polish border. Authorities say that Belarus is encouraging and helping migrants penetrate the European Union.

Let’s not forget about Russia’s attack…

On Wednesday, the 7th, Poland officially condemned Russia’s destruction of a dam in Ukraine.Krzysztof Szczerski, Poland's envoy to the United Nations, defined the attack as ‘another outrageous act of Russian barbarity’. He said that the incident will have consequences across the European Union as well such as reduction of food export to Europe. He also said Poland will take all necessary steps to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes.

In UN-Poland relations…

On Friday, the 9th, Poland became a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, or ECOSOC. The ECOSOC is the place where countries discuss social and economic issues concerning the international community. 177 countries in the United Nations voted for Poland's membership. Krzysztof Szczerski, Poland’s Ambassador to the UN, thanked all countries for their support on Twitter. He said the overwhelming support for the Polish candidacy shows the country’s credibility in the eyes of the international community.

On Monday, the 12th, the Polish, German, and French presidents met in France. Andrej Duda, the Polish president, held private talks with his counterparts. All the leaders emphasized that they would continue to support Ukraine at all costs amid the invasion of the country. Duda specifically underlined the importance of Ukraine joining NATO, while others preferred not to say anything about it.

Let’s talk about the domestic sphere…

On Wednesday, the 7th, the ruling government challenged a court decision to halt the operations of a lignite mine in Bogatynia City. On Tuesday the 6th, the Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw suspended the environmental license of a mine called Turów following a complaint from an environmental organization. On Wednesday, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, reacted harshly, as the ruling government argues the Turów mine is vital to Polish energy security. The prime minister expressed that the government would do everything to reverse the Regional Court’s decision.

Speaking of the ruling party…

On Friday, the 9th, reporters stated that the ruling party, Law and Justice, and its coalition partner, Sovereign Poland, had repaired their worsening relations. Previously, there were several tensions between the two parties; the break up between the two parties was called into question. Yet, reporters stated that the two parties, including the Kukiz'15 party, will compete in the election with a joint list. Party officials will work on details before they announce their final agreement for the fall elections.

On that note about the election…,

On Monday, the 12th, a group of political scientists are saying that the opposition should form a coalition to get the most votes and secure the majority in Parliament, since the current system favors the party that gets the most votes, while other minor parties that have less votes get relatively fewer seats. They advised that the opposition should compete in the elections with a joint list

The government announced the changes in the budget…

On Saturday, the 10th, the executive announced its amendments to the government budget for twenty twenty-three. The government budget consists of 170 billion dollars this year. The executive stated that it would channel more funds to agriculture as the country suffered from the influx of cheap Ukrainian grain. Also, it will channel money for the defense industry and arm purchases as Poland is increasing drastically its defense spending.

In economic news…

On Saturday, the 10th, a group of reporters made a comparison between the prices of two neighboring countries, Poland and Germany. They evaluated the prices of the same market chain operating in both countries. The results showed that there is almost no difference in prices, while in both countries, incomes are totally different. In Poland, the hourly minimum wage is six dollars, while in Germany it is thirteen dollars. Yet reporters emphasized that the Polish economy has grown notably in the last decade.

Furthermore, the Polish government announced a rise in the minimum wage…

On Tuesday, the 13th, the Polish government proposed a minimum wage increase starting next year. Reporters stated that the government plans to increase the hourly minimum wage from six dollars to seven dollars in January twenty twenty-four. The executive also considers another increase in the middle of twenty twenty-four.

In unrelated news…

On Tuesday, the 13th, the government announced detailed abortion guidelines after a pregnant woman lost her life in a hospital. Last month, a pregnant woman passed away because doctors did not perform an abortion on her, even though she risked a life-threatening birth. The public condemned the incident and questioned if it happened because of the country’s restrictive abortion law. Adam Niedzielski, the health minister, said that it was a medical error, that it had nothing to do with the law, and he provided more detailed guidelines about abortion to hospitals after the incident. According to the law, a pregnant woman can have an abortion if her life is at risk.

And that's it for this week. Another quick question. How are we doing on bias? Ax grinding? We try to be independent and stick to the facts and context with favor and fear of none. How are we doing? So do we seem even a teensy bit biased? Tell us at poland@rorshok.com

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