Notes from Poland is a leading English-language source of news, insight and analysis on Poland, with a combined 50,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. We are now expanding, with a new website that will feature daily news coverage, original journalism, and content from expert authors.
Thanks to the success of our fundraising efforts, we have secured resources to launch the new service later this year. As such, we are seeking to:
- hire two paid editorial staff members
- build a network of freelance contributors and partner institutions
- offer opportunities for interns and volunteers
See below for more on each of those positions. Learn about our history, our plans and our team here. And familiarise yourself with our current activity via our Facebook and Twitter feeds (which is where our work until now has been focused) and the articles on this, our old website (which will soon be replaced by the new one pictured above). Continue reading
by Daniel Tilles
Poland’s European elections resulted in a clear victory for the ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which won by an even greater margin than polls predicted. Their 45.5% share of the vote was the highest any party has ever received in an election in post-1989 Poland, and put it seven percentage points ahead of the European Coalition, an alliance of opposition parties, on 38.5%.
The only other party to pass the 5% threshold required to wins seats was the social-democratic Spring, founded by Robert Biedroń earlier this year, which took 6%. That left the far-right Confederation alliance (4.5%), anti-establishment Kukiz’15 (3.7%) and left-wing Together (1.2%) with no representation.
As the dust settles, and following a frantic few days of commentary and debate in Polish political and media circles, here are five takeaways from the vote and a look ahead to autumn’s vital parliamentary elections.
Notes from Poland is expanding, to create a new service offering comprehensive news and analysis. But we can only do this with your support. If, like us, you think that informed and independent reporting on Poland is more important than ever, please read more about our plans and join our crowdfunding campaign here: https://igg.me/at/notesfrompoland
The controversial memory law, though amended, is still in place, the Polish government’s historical narrative is stronger than ever, and Israel and the US appear to have accepted it.
One year ago, Poland triggered an international diplomatic crisis and months of bitter debate when, the day before international Holocaust Remembrance Day (HRD), it passed legislation criminalising the false attribution of German crimes to the Polish nation or state. This year’s official HRD ceremony at Auschwitz highlighted the fact that the Polish government has emerged victorious from this dispute. Continue reading
By Stanley Bill
Poland is faced with a stark choice: either it will be smaller and poorer or it will be more diverse. This is the inevitable conclusion to draw from the country’s present demographic situation. With a fertility rate of just over 1.3 – one of the lowest in the world – Poland’s population will shrink without increased immigration, bringing negative consequences for economic growth and capacity to support an ageing society. At present, there may be as many as two million Ukrainians working in Poland, filling gaps in the labour market. Many of them could soon leave for other European destinations, with Germany already preparing to liberalize its rules to attract them. Poland will need to find replacement workers from further afield, even if some Polish nationals also return home from Brexit Britain. The problem will only intensify as the effects of the demographic crisis become more severe.
Polski rząd pragnie czerpać korzyści ekonomiczne z imigracji, jednocześnie przekonywając swoich sprzymierzeńców, że jest jej przeciwnikiem. Biorąc pod uwagę rekordowe liczby obcokrajowców przyjeżdżających do Polski, ta próba pogodzenia sprzecznych interesów przypomina balansowanie na linie, z której akrobata prędzej, czy później spadnie na łeb na szyję – przekonuje Daniel Tilles. (Ten artykuł został przetłumaczony z oryginału w języku angielskim przez Sarę Wacławik.)
W 2016 roku krajem Unii, który wydał najwięcej pierwszych dokumentów pobytowych obywatelom spoza UE była Wielka Brytania. Podczas gdy ta informacja nie jest specjalnie kuriozalna, państwo na drugim miejscu jest z pewnością dla wielu osób zaskoczeniem. Krajem tym jest mianowicie Polska, która wydała 586 000 pozwoleń, czyli jedną piątą wszystkich pozwoleń wydanych w UE, znacznie przewyższając liczbę pozwoleń wydanych w Niemczech (505 000), które uplasowały się na trzecim miejscu. Continue reading
by Daniel Tilles (również w języku polskim)
Poland’s government wants to reap the economic benefits of immigration while persuading its supporters that it remains opposed to it. With foreign workers coming to the country in record numbers, this is a balancing act that will inevitably collapse – with potentially dangerous consequences.
In 2016, the UK issued more first residence permits to non-EU citizens than any other member state. That’s not a great surprise; but ask people to guess which country came second in the list and few would get it right. The answer is Poland, which gave out 586,000 permits, almost a fifth of all those issued across the entire European Union and well ahead of third-place Germany, with 505,000. Continue reading
By Daniel Tilles
Critics accuse Poland’s government of seeking to introduce measures that would limit free speech. But it is often overlooked that they already have a powerful set of tools at their disposal to stifle debate, restrict artistic freedom and intimidate opponents.
This month, a 67-year-old man was charged with the crime of insulting a monument for placing a t-shirt reading ‘constitution’ on a statue of former President Lech Kaczyński (pictured above). Last month, prosecutors launched an investigation into whether two men at an LGBT pride parade who added a rainbow flag to the national coat of arms (pictured below) had publicly insulted a state emblem, an offence that carries a prison sentence of up to one year. Earlier this year, a poet, Jaś Kapela, was found guilty of contempt for the nation after changing some words of the national anthem (adding a reference to refugees). Although he successfully challenged the verdict, the appeals court instead found him guilty of contempt for the anthem of the Republic. Continue reading