Central Europe Review Call forpolicy proposals...
Vol 3, No 19
28 May 2001
front page 
our awards 
CER cited 
jobs at CER 
CER Direct 
e-mail us 
year 2000 
year 1999 
by subject 
by author 
EU Focus 
music shop 
video store 
find books 


News from Poland News from Poland
All the important news
since 19 May 2001

Wojtek Kość

Outspoken SLD MP criticized

Social democratic MP Jan Syczewski surprised everyone last week in Minsk, Belarus, when he praised Belarusian authorities for their "democratic course" and at the same time criticized Polish democracy.

View today's updated headlines from Poland

He said that both Poland and Belarus were young democracies undergoing transformation, but each in its own way. He hinted that democracy in Poland is only seemingly controlled by people, whereas in reality it is controlled by other states.

He also scorned the way privatization had been conducted in Poland so far. According to the MP, privatization in Poland means selling out national property, whereas in Belarus such a thing is out of the question and profits from re-privatization serve the needs of the whole society, not a select group of businessmen.

Syczewski came under heavy criticism himself when he returned to Poland. His own party, the Social Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), announced Syczewski would be asked for clarification of his statements, which according to SLD spokesman Michal Tober is "completely in dissonance with our program."

Syczewski was also criticized by Belarusan circles in Poland. Nevertheless, he claimed that those were his own views and he had any right to express them.


New EU entry date, says Saryusz-Wolski

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, head of the European Integration Committee (UKIE), caused another surprise in Poland and abroad last week when he officially stated on 21 May that Poland would no longer pursue the date of 1 January 2003 as the date of the entry to the European Union, and that 1 January 2004 should be considered an official entry date from now.

He also said during the following day's meeting with head of the European Commission Romano Prodi, that Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek would admit that 2003 was "unrealistic."

Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and chief negotiator Jan Kulakowski both said the Saryusz-Wolski did not consult his statement with anyone and the whole affair was a negative surprise to them. In a special statement, issued on 24 May, he wrote that his previous enunciation "was not consulted with Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek."

The opposition obviously took the advantage of the confusion. Social Democratic Left Alliance's leader Leszek Miller said that moving the date of Poland's entry to the EU to 2004 would mean "a total collapse of the current negotiation strategy."

Józef Oleksy, also of SLD, said that conflicting statements from government officials "make Poland appear not serious and as if it doesn't have a common policy towards the European Union."

Bronislaw Geremek, chairman of Freedom Union, and former Foreign Affairs minister said: "I'd prefer there were not contrary statements. The one about 2004 I did not understand." "Poland's stance about readiness to join the EU and the ultimate entry date remains unchanged.

"Due to the confusion and opposition's attacks on the government and the Prime Minister himself, which I caused, I decided to hand my resignation to the Prime Minister," Saryusz-Wolski said. Buzek, however, did not accept the resignation.


Sejm increases police powers

The Polish parliament, or Sejm, decided to very much increase the arsenal of means police can apply in order to fight crime. The decision, still to be passed in the Senate and signed by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, was not without its controversies.

If the bill takes effect, the police will able to obtain classified information from banks and telecommunication, freely perform so-called "police provocation" (eg making controlled purchase of illegal material) and equally freely make video and audio recordings in order to facilitate investigations.

Replying to the SLD's criticism that such huge privileges could easily lead to abuse, Internal Affairs and Administration Minister Mrek Biernacki said: "A fundamental bill has been passed; it remains in accord with regulation of the European Union and standards of human rights and it improves fight with crime." He added that the new bill would also help fight corruption as the police would from now on be entitled for "bribe provocation" (offering bribes to officials to check their honesty).

According to the chairman of Transparency International, Prof Antoni Kaminski, such expansion of the police rights is needed, but the police themselves should be supervised.

Wojtek Kość, 25 May 2001

Moving on:

Today's updated headlines from Poland

Powered by moreover.com Powered by moreover.com


Read CER's review of
last week's news from Poland

Read CER's review of
last week's news from Poland

Return to CER front page



Shane Jacobs
Bulgaria's Pomaks

Sam Vaknin
Is Not Bosnia

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Safe Haven

Andrew Cave
Poland's Slow Politicians

Brian J Požun
Slovenia's Summit

Elke de Wit
Karmakar's Manila

Andrew James Horton
Code inconnu

Bernhard Seliger
Estonia and Europe

Štěpán Kotrba
Sow and Reap

Brian J Požun
Shedding the Balkan Skin

Martin D Brown
Czech Historical Amnesia

Dejan Anastasijević (ed)
Out of Time

Gusztáv Kosztolányi
Hungarian Oil Scandal

Sam Vaknin
After the Rain

Czech Republic

CER eBookclub Members enter here