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.
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
EU Average: 34%
United Kingdom: 22%
2. President most insulted figure on social websites
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’.
↑ 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.
↓ 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.