Vol 1, No 2, 5 July 1999
C E N T R A L E U R O P E A N N E W S:
Donosy's Week in Poland
It's pouring - so far most intensely in the south. Rivers have over overflowed in a few places, but so far, only fields have been flooded. The rain has already lessened, so the disaster of two years ago is unlikely to be repeated.
The government accepted the outline of a bill allowing for restructuring and privatization of the arms industry.
The government also submitted the first draft of the new tax bills to the Sejm.
The Christian National Union (ZChN) says it does not trust Minister Balcerowicz's estimates of the consequences of the proposed tax changes and will attempt to modify the government proposal in the Sejm.
Nurses stopped blocking National Health Service offices to protest on the streets of Warsaw. They were supported by ambulance drivers. The Prime Minister repeated that he will continue urging the directors of hospitals to pay out wage increases but cannot force them to do so.
Handicapped employees and their employers protested in front of the Sejm and the Prime Minister's Office against government plans to abandon the ability of firms employing handicapped workers to claim tax deductions and substitute for it a system of subsidies. The government claims these tax deductions are often misused and are of little benefit to handicapped workers.
The Lustration Court decided there is no evidence to support the suspicion that Jerzy Buzek cooperated with the Special Service Agency of the Polish People's Republic, and the Court dropped the investigation. As a result, the complaint of deputy Karwowski was dismissed. The Court's decision is final. Karwowski probably foresaw such a verdict, because he had, in the meantime, sent a notice to the Public Prosecutor's office informing it that documents in Buzek's case have been fabricated by the Special Service Agency.
Hanna Suchocka lost overwhelmingly in the first round of the elections for the General Secretary of the European Council and withdrew from the election.
If elections were to happen today (or actually a week ago) the Social Democratic Party (SLD) would have won (37%) followed by the Solidarity Union (AWS, 25%), Freedom Union (UW, 13%) Polish Peasant's Party (PSL, 8%), according to a public opinion survey. Another survey addressed that support for President Kwasniewski is a few steps ahead of all of the right wing candidates.
Polish soldiers are ready to go to Kosovo to join the KFOR forces. Obtaining a consent for their transit through Romania and Bulgaria is still in process. A battalion of 800 will be transferred. A farewell ceremony was held for the soldiers.
The Sejm confirmed the National Radio and Television Council by the votes of the Freedom Union (UW), Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and Polish Peasants Party (PSL), with the Solidarity (AWS) opposed. The Council was criticized on the basis of a AWS motion for insufficient opposition to violence in the media and for limiting broadcasts of channels 2 and 4.
The Sejm also discussed educational reform. The minister supports the reforms and the opposition opposes them. The Ministry should approve new textbooks by the end of August, which is unfortunately too late to print them for the coming school year.
Workers from Lucznik demonstrated again in Warsaw. When the demonstrators attempted to force their way into the Ministry of Defense, the demonstration turned into a battle with the police. There were injuries on both sides, most seriously a Nasz Dziennik photographer who lost an eye.
The Association for the Defense of Patients Rights demonstrated in front of the Sejm. It was a small demonstration because, as the Association leader explained, the group's membership base lies in the cemetery.
The President of Ukraine was in Poland accompanied by Ukrainian industrialists for talks concerning economic cooperation.
The Spokesperson for the Public Interest called a special press conference to refute the Confederation for Polish Independence (KPN) accusations against Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek. In particular, he informed reporters that there is no file of signatures named by Sejm Representative Karwowski. The Security Forces had 85 agents using the pseudonym "Karol", but Buzek was not one of them. "Karol" was the pseudonym that Buzek used in his underground activities during the martial law period.
The Supreme Control Board (NIK) confirmed the press accusations of financial irregularities in the Ministry of Health last year (which had led to the resignation of Minister Maksymowicz several months ago).
First quarter economic growth was 1.5%, largely thanks to the construction and service sectors. At least the predictions of zero growth were not borne out.
The Treasury Ministry sold two banks this week: PEKAO SA and Zachnodni (Western). A consortium formed by the Italian UniCredito and the German insurance firm Allianz bought 52% of PEKAO SA for over a billion dollars. The buyers also committed to substantial investments in the coming years. Zachodni was bought by the Irish firm AIB for over half a billion dollars. Analysts suggest that Poland received a good price for Zachodni, but that PEKAO SA was sold fairly cheaply.
The Festival of Songs began in Opole.
Donosy's Week in Poland appears in Central Europe Review with the kind permission of Donosy-English:
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