Episode 60

Tusk, the Prime Minister & more – 12th Dec 2023

New Prime Minister, the freezing of energy prices, hacking attack, the end of truck drivers' protest, immigrants improving the economy, and much more!

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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 12th of December twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

The new year is on the horizon, and so are upcoming changes…

On Monday, the 11th, the eight-year rule of the conservative Law and Justice party officially ended after Mateusz Morawiecki lost the vote of confidence in his premiership in parliament.

The country entered a new era after MPs elected Donald Tusk, the leader of the Civic Platform party. After his victory, Tusk spoke in parliament. He said that the government change was historic and that he would bring democracy back to the country.

The conflicts between the opposition and the ruling party accompanied the government change. When Tusk, in his speech, was dedicating his victory to his grandfathers who suffered from Nazi Germans during WW2, Jarosław Kaczyński, the president of the ruling party, rushed to the parliamentary stage and called Tusk a ‘German Agent.’ It happened because the ruling party said that Tusk served the German interest. Following the incident, the ruling party MPs shouted, ‘To Berlin’. The speaker of the parliament interfered to defuse the tension.

During the election campaign, Donald Tusk promised to stop funding the church in the first 100 days of his premiership. Currently, the state pays for the clergy's health insurance, supports educational activities, and funds the renovation of historic churches using the people's taxes. Yet, according to the results of a poll by Wirtualna Polska, published on Monday, the 11th, almost half of Poles are against the government withdrawing the funds. On the same line, Donald Tusk’s coalition partner, the Third Way parties, proposed a different fund system where only voluntary citizens will donate money to church.

In another expected change…

The citizens of the European Union countries will choose the Members of the European Parliament in June twenty twenty-four. On Wednesday, the 6th, the Eurobarometer public opinion survey indicated that nearly seventy percent of Poles would vote in the EU elections next year, which means their interest in the election increased by sixteen percent compared to five years ago. Unlike the conservative government that opposes the EU, seventy-five percent of Poles think EU membership is important for the country. Another interesting piece of data showed that Poles are more interested in the EU than the citizens of other member countries. On average, sixteen percent of citizens of other EU member countries think that the European Union is inefficient in providing safety, security, and economic growth to Europe. In comparison, only ten percent of Poles think so.

On Thursday, the 7th, the parliament accepted a proposal to freeze energy prices in the first half of twenty twenty-four.

Speaking about the parliament, it approved a plan to create a commission to investigate the twenty twenty presidential election. In twenty twenty, the ruling party organized the presidential election via postal vote due to the outbreak of COVID-19. EU officials and the opposition criticized the decision because they suspected the ruling party of vote rigging. A new commission will investigate whether the ruling party committed electoral fraud in the twenty twenty presidential election in which Andrzej Duda, the current president, won.

Along with the investigation commission, the government introduced a citizens' assembly to address the legalization of abortion…

On Thursday, the 7th, Szymon Hołownia, the new parliament speaker, said that the parliament would include citizens in the decision-making process next month and proposed a referendum on the legalization of abortion. He said the government planned to create a citizens' assembly in the parliament to address Poles' ‘‘real problems’’.The ruling party is against abortion, and they will reject future bills, unlike the Left party, which supports the legalization of abortion.

Moving on to countries' security...

ian hacker group known as UAC-:

Amid the increasing hack attempts from Russia, the Polish Cyber Army and Microsoft combined their forces to prevent Russian hackers from gaining unauthorized access to email accounts.

On that note about Russia...

Hungary is the only EU member that supports Russia and disagrees with the sanctions against the country. Similarly, Hungary threatened to boycott the next European Council meeting, where member countries will discuss Ukrainian membership. On Wednesday, the 6th, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, the current Polish foreign minister, and his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó held a meeting in Budapest. The Polish side advised Hungarian officials to break off their close relations with Russia and encouraged them to support Ukraine’s EU membership and the Union’s proposed financial aid to the country.

Despite the government's support for Ukraine, there is an increasing hostility towards immigrants in the nation…

On Wednesday, the 6th, the Polskie Radio news agency stated that several studies showed that immigrants have played a crucial role in Poland’s economic growth in the past twenty-five years. The country has the highest growth rate and is the sixth-largest economy in the EU, and it will need more immigrants to keep this upward trend. Moreover, the majority of immigrants in Poland are from Ukraine. However, Andrzej Korkus, CEO of the EWL Foundation, said Ukrainians currently prefer Germany over Poland, and the Polish government needed to find ways to hold Ukrainians in the country by being more welcoming towards them.

Since we mentioned Ukraine, recall that Polish truck drivers were blocking the passages between Poland and Ukraine to protest the increasing costs of their businesses due to the influx of cheap Ukrainian goods to Poland and the EU. On Monday, the 11th, Oleksandr Kubrakov, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, stated that the truck drivers decided to end their blockade of the passage, where several Ukrainian truck drivers died while waiting in the traffic for days. The situation is back to normal.

In other news…

Before, a shoplifter had to steal 125 dollars worth of products to go to prison. If the thief stole less than that amount, the punishment was a 100-dollar fine. Yet, last month, a government regulation increased this threshold to 200 dollars because of inflation and the rise of prices, which encouraged shoplifters as they knew that they would not serve time in prison for stealing. On Monday, the 5th, shop owners called for a decrease in the threshold to seventy-five dollars because shoplifting has increased since the regulation changed. From January to September, police reported at least thirty-three thousand shoplifting incidents.

Next up...

On Friday, the 8th, the EU decided to give six million dollars to Poland to help it clean the Baltic Sea from unexploded ammunition and chemicals from the World War II era. The country is now looking for a company to carry out the task.

Speaking of pollution…

On Thursday, the 7th, a campaign was launched to show citizens around the country how much polluted air they inhale. More than 200 thousand digital screens will display lugs that will change their colors to gray in accordance with the level of smog. The campaign aims to encourage people to decrease coal burning in their households.

Aaand that's it for this week! So here's to a bit of holiday spirit. We wanted to thank you for listening, learning, thinking, and for joining us on this new thing called Rorshok we're all doing together. Really. Thank you.

Do zobaczenia!

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