Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 1, No 5, 26 July 1999

C E N T R A L   E U R O P E A N   N E W S:
Last Week in Poland

Compiled by Donosy and Joanna Rohozinska

News from Poland since 14 July 1999

The Constitutional Court decided in favor of the Union of Doctors as it ruled that they were to be paid overtime wages for hospital duty. Some individuals served up to 300 hours a year on hospital duty, while their overtime may have amounted to only 150 hours.

Negotiations began in Washington concerning reparations for forced laborers from the Second World War. The Polish negotiators have formed a united front with those from the Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to demand that the amount of reparations not be dependent on the current place of residence of the workers and that the German government, as well as the employers concerned, pay reparations.

Recent polls have revealed that among farmers, opposition to EU integration has risen from 21% to 45%, while in Poland as a whole it has risen from 19% to 26%. The highest rate of support was among owners of large farms of over 10 hectares.

Pop artist-sculptor Wladyslaw Hasior died at age 71. The controversial artist, one of the best known Polish sculptors, used items found in the trash of modern civilization as his materials.

Parking meters were introduced in Warsaw. The city administration hopes they will draw 500,000 zlotys annually and serve to cut down traffic in the downtown core of Warsaw.

The Polish delegation at the EU negotiations in Brussels demanded reciprocal inspections on agricultural products from the EU. This comes as a response to increasing pressure by the EU for Poland to begin accepting agricultural goods prior to it being allowed to begin exporting its products to the EU. The demand was prompted by the controversy which erupted earlier this year, when goods known to have been tainted with carcinogens and dioxins that were supposed to have been destroyed were found to have been sold for export to Poland. Poland is well within its rights to demand reciprocal inspections yet this marks the first time that an EU candidate state is pressing forward with such demands.

Minister Kazimierz Kapera received sharp criticism from every direction after committing a serious social blunder, when he made what were largely interpreted as racist statements on a radio program. The minister stated: "We do not have to fear that there will not be enough food for all the nations of the world. We only must fear that we, as Europeans, as members of the white race will not have a say in the future." Official government spokesman Krzysztof Luft commented that while there was an unfortunate choice of words made, he was certain that the minister was merely expressing his concern over the falling birthrate in European countries.

Prime Minister Buzek met this week with both the Freedom Union (UW) and the Solidarity Election Action (AWS) caucuses. After the meeting with the UW, he told reporters, "We accomplished over half the items in our coalition agreement and implemented serious changes in the system of running our country. Now, we are discussing the shape of our program for the next two years."

Deputy Prime Minister Leszek Balcerowicz signed a decree which allows the transfer of 200 million zlotys to the Agency of Industry Development. This is the first part of a 400-million-zloty loan which will be used to pay laid-off miners.

Compiled by Donosy and Joanna Rohozinska

SOURCES (outside of Donsoy-English)

Gazeta Wyborcza

Prawo i Gospodarka

Zycie Warszawy


Donosy's Week in Poland appears in Central Europe Review with the kind permission of Donosy-English:
Donosy-Polish Editors: Lena Bialkowska (Editor-in-Chief), Michal Jankowski, Michal Pawlak, Ksawery Stojda (founder)
Copyright (c) 1999
Donosy-English editors and translators: Lidia Trojanowska and Lawrence Schofer
Circulation: Wojtek Bogusz
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