Polandian on Sunday #3

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Welcome to Polandian on Sunday with a brief summary of what happened this week in Poland.

1. Eurovote? Poles couldn’t care less

This spring over 500 million Europeans will vote for 736 Members of the European Parliament. European Parliament is a legislative body which has a say (together with EU Council comprising heads of governments) on the EU legislation, which is then binding for the member states.

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Eurostat asked European Union citizens in all 27 member states whether they will take part in the upcoming elections. Results of the study show Poland, which is assigned 54 seats in the chamber, as one of the countries where people are least interested in casting a vote. 19% of the Polish respondents say they will not vote, which is the second highest score after the UK (30%). As little as 13% say they will vote  – the lowest of all EU countries.

Jarosław Zbieranek, director of The Institute of Public Affairs, told Gazeta Wyborcza daily that he thinks there are 3 main reasons for this desinterresement:
– the public doesn’t have enough information about the election and about the EU parliament;
– EU elections are treated by the media and parties rather as a barometer for the national politics, than an event with broader europan dimention;
– parties choose candidates for their popularity rather, than their competence: opera singer, several Big Brother participants, cosmonauts, sports-people, tv presenters.

Number of people who declare will take part in the PE election
Belgium: 70%
Luxembourg: 62%
Malta: 56%
Denmark: 56%
EU Average: 34%
Slovakia: 25%
Portugal: 24%
United Kingdom: 22%
Austria: 21%
Poland: 13%

2. President most insulted figure on social websites

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Social networking website Nasza-klasa.pl, helping to get back in touch with former classmates, is the most popular service of its kind in Poland. 25% of all Poles have an account there. As the Dziennik daily reports, Lech Kaczyński – the President of Poland, has over 60 fake accounts registered on his name on nasza-klasa.

All of the 60 accounts are full of vulgar insults and threats. Dziennik contacted some of authors of offensive comments. 18-year-old Adrian, who called the president a “prick”, explains that he thinks the state of Poland deteriorates because of Lech Kaczyński. He blaims the president for creating conflicts and sees him as corrupted by power. 21-year-old Mateusz wrote under one of Lech Kaczynski’s photos that if he had a gun he would kill “a duck like this one”.

Offending the head of state is a crime in Poland. A crime for which one could be sentenced to up to three years of imprisonment. However, in this case, the police and the public prossecutor are helpless. As the spokesperson for the Wrocław Police told the daily: the police have no possibility to access nasza-klasa.pl. This, and similar websites are blocked on their computers, so that officers wouldn’t spend their time chatting to friends on-line at work.

3. Should the Polish government pay compensations to former Auschwitz homeowners?

When Poland lost the September 1939 campaign, and the attacking Germany and Soviet Union divided Polish territory between themselves – the town of Oświęcim was annexed by Germany and renamed Auschwitz. And by this name it is known around the world – as the place where Germans conducted most unimaginable crimes against humanity in the history of Europe.

To build the concentration camp, Germans expelled many residents from the town suburbs. Those, who owned properties, call for compensation now – 64 years after the end of the war. Members of Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, prepared an act to satisfy those demands from the Polish Treasury. This motion gained support from all political powers.

Half of the former property owners have already received part compensations in 2001 from the Polish-German Reconcilliation Foundation powered by the money from the German government. However, as the President of the Association Of The Victims Of The Third German Reich In Relation to Expulsion From Oświęcim says, 250 families did not manage to produce a valid claim at that time. The victims – he explains – are elderly and sick people, while the foundation gave them a four-month deadline.

It is not possible to demand any more compensations from Germany now, as Poland, signing a treaty establishing the reconcilliation foundation, agreed not to file any more claims in the future. The governemt also rejects the proposal of Polish-funded compensation. Jan Borkowski, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs told journalists: ‘Germany is a perpetrator, Poland is a victim. We cannot take responsibility – this would send a wrong message’.

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GOING UP

New regulations in outdoor advertising – Advertising got out of control in many Polish cities in recent years. Huge ads cover many buildings in city centres. Billboards are being installed wherever a free space is spotted. Public complaints foreced the government to work on this matter. Expecting state regulations to arrive soon, the Chamber of Outdoor Advertising has come up with their own regulations of the market, hoping to set a standard. This is the first step in the right way.

GOING DOWN

TVP Polish public television – which terminates its subscription of the most popuar Polish broadsheet, the liberal-leftish Gazeta Wyborcza. Many governments wanted to rule the TVP in hope to rule the hearts. A strategy that never succeded. This time, the neo-fascists with which the formerly ruling Law and Justice party was in coalition – got into the top management of the firm. Wyborcza daily is campaigning against the new managment. TVP continues to deteriorate.

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8 thoughts on “Polandian on Sunday #3

  1. Kuba says:

    My opinion is that the Germans constructed the camps and are responsible for taking land from whoever was on it. They are responsible and should pay not Poland. They were not Polish camps there were Nazi camps located in Poland.

  2. Scatts says:

    People had their chance to claim and whilst 4 months is not exactly long, it’s not short either. Just because it’s Auschwitz is no reason to make exceptions for those who missed a deadline. IMO. If they are soooooo very angry about the whole thing, what have they been doing for the last X years?

    Sounds to me like a lawyer chancing his arm with a promise of 25%.

    So. The president can’t be arsed to have his ace investigators mess around on nasza-klasa but he’s happy to set them loose on others he doesn’t like? Surely, if there’s a law, there’s a law! Or does he just exercise his power in a random way as suits his majesties mood that day – “Off with his head!”

  3. Pawel says:

    Scatts, I wonder how will this Auschwit case end. I’m surprised a bit with what the govt says it cannot take resposibility for other countries’ actions. Poland did pay compensations to Poles expelled from what today is Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus…
    The last X years is not such an easy matter either:) You know there was no property ownership in communism, so there was kind of no way to get something back. Communist government took properties from many many more people anyway.

    The “offending the president” crime is investigated by the prosecutors office regardless any intervention from the President or lack thereof. Its always prosecutors decision whether to press charges. Prossecutors’ policies are very odd sometimes – so I’m not surprised with such a simple double-standard:)

  4. Gabriela says:

    Here in Lima we have the same problem with advertising panels that went out of control. The Panamericana (highway connecting Peruvian coast that faces the Pacific Ocean and, therefore, all the beaches) became so “crowded” that it started to be a safety issue.
    And in the city, almost every building holds a very big advertising panel.
    Mayors are dealing with this right now.
    ¡Saludos!

  5. adthelad says:

    “TVP continues to deteriorate” – something to back this up would be appreciated.

    scatts – The understanding I got was that some claims were rejected on the basis they didn’t submit a valid claim – not no claim whatsoever. The criteria or reasons are not given, but a time limit is highlighted as restrictive. Seems strange that given the number mentioned a fund was not set up to encompass additional claims that would try to cover as many injured parties as possible rather than to exclude them.

  6. Ania says:

    Just off the rp.pl, accidentally – there are also mansions still not returned to owners:http://tiny.pl/ztmf. Perhaps because this is the case of Auschwitz, something will be reopened rethought reorganized and made possible. Otherwise the Germans should give back land returned to them:
    http://tiny.pl/ztmc

    I wonder how long will Euro and EU last, since Germany is mentioning letting the ‘weaker’ go. Spain for example might be seen as slowing the German economy.

  7. Pawel says:

    Gabriela,
    Thankfully billboards are banned from roads in rural areas:) So at least we have one advertising problem less. BUT it means it gets worse in the cities, and ALSO at the historic sights. There is this website that nused photoshop to show how would rome, paris and london look with polish advertising on it. here is collosseum: http://lh4.ggpht.com/kurczeblade.pl/RyOYxz_ZleI/AAAAAAAAAKI/RL83ALsSvMU/s400/koloseum.jpg :)

    Adthelad,
    Is his really necessary? First things that come to mind:
    – taxpayers money used to fund mind-numbing soaps and idiotic, badly made, entertainment shows – instead of funding young Polish talents of film, comedy, graphic design, theatre etc.
    – erasing local stations and local programming (tvp3), and replacing it with a news programme that is worse than both competitors’ (tvn and polsat news)
    – pushing culture away from mainstream channels to tvp kultura and making culture just as boring as their entertainment shows
    – selling off sopot festival to tvn, and then when they realised what they’ve done – making ANOTHER festival in sopot.
    – complete lack of creativity; no intent to challenge the audience
    – erasing all the youth and education shows that were there in the 90s. (“5 10 15”, “teleranek”, “30 ton”, and the whole educational block broadcast daily between 12-15 with shows like “physics in the kitchen”). And giving nothing in return apart from more soaps.
    – news shows serving political parties

    Ania,
    I hope govt deals with the previous owners one wayor another, as having this matter open causes so much trouble when investing in cities. Especially in Warsaw. Up to now, things were mostly returned to the politically powerful Catholic Church (sometimes receiving more than ought to)- while nobdy cares about the individuals

  8. Ania says:

    I agree – with both the teleranek issue and with property of individuals. The management of my poor dear country is in shambles, every next idea is just causing more loses. It’s a shame that the mission TV puts ups shows like stars on ice, but it’s a sign of how little the urzędasy understand of ‘duty’.

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