Poland. According to
countryaah, Poland was severely affected by the cold wave
over Central Europe at the beginning of the year. Over 50
people froze to death, and many of them were
alcohol-affected as they slept in the cold. Prime Minister
Donald Tusk urged the municipalities to depart from their
rules and admit alcohol-affected persons into the night
Poland has signed the EU target of reducing greenhouse
gases by 20%, but has blocked the proposal to go further and
reduce by 25%. In March, Poland vetoed the EU strategy on
how the reduction should be implemented. The motivation of
the Polish government was that the country's economy would
Poland has the EU's fastest growing economy and the power
that drives growth comes from fossil fuels. Coal accounts
for about 93% of Poland's electricity. One fifth of the
country's electricity is produced in Elektrownia Bełchatów,
Europe's largest and most polluting cogeneration plant. The
company that owns the power plant plans to invest more than
$ 100 billion from 2012 to 2035 to reduce its share of coal
In May, the Polish Parliament approved a proposal to
raise the retirement age. This means that most Poles will
only retire at age 67, while the current retirement age is
60 for women and 65 for men. The retirement age is to be
gradually increased and reach 67 years for men in 2020 and
the same for women only by 2040. Women will be able to take
part pension at 62 years if they have worked for 35 years.
Men can do the same at age 65 if they have worked for 40
years. It was a compromise for Prime Minister Tusk to
receive support from the Polish Peasant Party in the
coalition for the new Pension Act.
The union bitterly resisted and threatened strike during
the European Football Championship. The increase in
retirement age is part of the tangible tightening that Prime
Minister Tusk's government is taking to reach the goal of
reducing the budget deficit to just 1% by the end of the
current mandate period, 2015.
When Poland and the Russian Federation met in the Warsaw
Football Championships in June, riots and violence erupted
among the supporters before and after the match. 157 Poles
and 24 Russians were arrested by the police. The street
battles arose when thousands of Russian supporters marched
Poland decided during the year to grant amnesty to
immigrants who have been in Poland for more than four years.
More than 8,500 people living illegally in the country
accepted the offer of a two-year residence permit and work
permit. Poland is estimated to have around 40,000 immigrants
living in the country without a permit.
Prior to the European Football Championships, the
construction of the Warsaw-Berlin motorway was completed,
which, as well as the construction of a ring road around the
capital and a metro, received EU funding. According to the
government, since 2008, 1% of GDP growth has been through EU
cohesion funds and structural funds, and almost 300,000 jobs
have been created in that way. The EU funds must be matched
with their own investments, which has contributed to
Poland's per capita GDP growing from just over 40% of the EU
average at the time of entry into the EU in 2004 to almost
70% in 2012. According to the government, it would have
taken Poland two decades to achieve the same own hand.
1995 The Communists regain power
1994 was marked by constant conflicts between the
president and the government. The conflicts did not
particularly change economic liberalization policy, although
some reforms were slowed to reduce their social impact. The
former Communists' return to power was complete when
Aleksander Kwasniewski in November 95 defeated Walesa by 52%
of the vote in the second round of the presidential
election. The outgoing president had based his campaign on
anti-communism, and with his support for the "Christian
values" insisted on the necessity of maintaining the ban on
In January 96, the communist Prime Minister Jósef Olesky
was forced to resign after the Interior Minister accused him
of acting as a stalker for the Soviet KGB. The following
month he was replaced by Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.
Right-wing parties united in anti-communism and social
conservatism formed a new coalition led by Marian
Krzaklewski. It was named Solidarity's Election Campaign. In
the 97 parliamentary elections, the coalition defeated the
ruling SLD by 33.8% of the vote, and chemical engineer Jerzy
Buzek of Silesia was named prime minister. It was he who
shaped the economic policy of the coalition.
Economic growth was 7% in 1997, making it the sixth year
of growth, but at the same time it was estimated that the
increase in consumption was mainly due to the increasing
prevalence of loan offices.
Poland's desire to apply for membership in the EU sparked
some debate in 98. Partly about the modernization of
agriculture - one of the demands of the EU - and partly
about the use of the subsidies Poland would receive if
necessary. In February 1999, 409 parliamentarians voted for
the country's accession to NATO. Only 7 voted against.
The economic reform policy the government implemented to
pave the way for the country to join the EU, threw thousands
into unemployment and was extremely unpopular. In September,
more than 30,000 peasants and workers staged a protest
demonstration in Warsaw, accusing Prime Minister Jerzay
Buzek of ignoring the country's financial problems. At the
same time, they called for the acceleration of elections.
In April 2000, Buzek stated that Poland now met all the
criteria and was ready for accession in the EU, but
negotiations are lengthy and it is doubtful whether the
country will be able to be admitted by 2003.
During the October elections, Kwasniewski became the
first elected president to be re-elected since the
transition to democracy, receiving 54% of the vote. His
closest opponent, Adrei Olechowski, had to settle for 17.3%.
The election also marked Lech Wales's withdrawal from
politics. He didn't even get 1% of the vote.
The lowest voter turnout in the country's history was
recorded the following year in the parliamentary elections,
when it reached only 41%. A host of corruption scandals
during the Solidarity government's tenure and the miserable
economic situation - especially in rural areas, led
anti-European movements and groups to emerge. Thus, Andrzej
Lepper's Self Defense Movement (MAD) got 10.2% of the vote.
The ultra-Catholic also went ahead: their League of Polish
Families got 7.87% of the vote. The Social Democracy (ADI)
got 41% of the vote and thus became the victor of the
election. It formed a coalition government with the Peasant
Party (PSL) and in October a government could be formed with
Leszek Miller as prime minister.
Miller declared from the start that he would not get
bored at the Prime Minister's post. The main immediate
challenges were resolving the state's economic crisis,
accelerating economic growth and bringing the accession
negotiations to an end to the EU. Ifht. the last issue was
to pose a serious problem to the Farmer Party, as its
support is based on the opposition to the EU, which was
particularly present in rural areas. At the EU summit in
Copenhagen in December 2002, Poland was one of the 10
countries included in the list of countries to be included
on May 1, 2004.
Germany and Austria demonstrated early resistance to
opening their borders to workers from the new Member States,
and a transitional arrangement was therefore decided in the
EU to keep workers of the new Member States out for 7 years.
It merely increased opposition to the EU in Poland. In the
countryside, on the other hand, the "invasion" of residents
of other European countries - especially Germany - was
feared, as agricultural land in Poland is 30 times cheaper
than in other parts of the EU. Therefore, in April 2002,
Poland reached an agreement with the EU that EU citizens
from other countries cannot buy land in Poland until 12
years after its accession. Still, for example, Danish
farmers after taking up land in the country.
In May 2002, the authorities of the southern Malopolska
region registered the first case of madness in the country.
Poland exports meat to the EU and will therefore, for the
next 30 months, subject all its cattle to continuous
On May 1, 2004, Poland, along with nine other Central and
Eastern European countries, joined the EU. That same month,
Miller resigned and left the prime minister post to former
Finance Minister Marek Belka. He secured himself in June by
a vote of confidence in parliament.
In June 2005, a number of heads of state from around the
world met in what was once the Nazi concentration camp in
Auschwitz for the purpose of marking the 60th anniversary of
the liberation of the camp. Even though the US today runs a
concentration camp in Guantanamo, also the president of the
superpower participated in the selection.
Warzaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski of the Conservative Party of
Law and Justice became president after winning the second
round of elections in October 2005. He got 54.04% of the
vote, winning his candidate Donald Tusk from the Citizens'
Platform. Kaczynski's election pledge had focused on tax
cuts and a new "morally renewed" Poland, designed to protect
workers' rights and develop the welfare state.
In December, Kwasniewski dismissed news reports that the
CIA was running secret terrorist prisons in Poland. That
same month, Kaczynsky took over the presidential post and
declared shortly afterwards that Poland would continue its
presence as part of the Iraqi occupying power - at least
until the end of 2006. At the same time, he declared that
the number of soldiers would be reduced from 1,450 to 900.