Christian's Feed
Sep 9, 2013

High level defection cuts Polish government majority again

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s majority in parliament was reduced to two seats on Monday by the departure of the leader of a conservative faction following months of internal wrangling and falling opinion poll ratings.

Jaroslaw Gowin, who unsuccessfully challenged Tusk for the party’s leadership in a formal vote last month, is the second MP to depart in the past two weeks amid disciplinary action against members of the conservative grouping.

Sep 8, 2013

Political reality forces Poland to dilute pro-market ideals

WARSAW (Reuters) – For years, Poland has been a liberal economist’s dream: a country where government made decisions based on market logic rather than the political imperatives that have often intruded elsewhere.

That changed this week.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced he was transferring a large chunk of assets from private pension funds to the state, freeing the government’s hand to boost public spending in the run-up to a national election in 2015.

Aug 14, 2013

Walesa, Poland’s flawed hero, given redemption in film

WARSAW (Reuters) – Veteran director Andrzej Wajda has earned an honorary Oscar for his catalogue of powerful movies, but he felt he had one more mission to complete before his long career ends: to tell his story of Poland’s anti-Communist icon Lech Walesa.

Premiering in a few weeks at the Venice Film Festival, Wajda’s film “Walesa. Man of Hope” is the 87-year-old director’s attempt to remind the world about the achievements of Walesa, a flawed hero who helped bring an end to the Cold War.

Jul 29, 2013

European Court to hear new CIA jail case against Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has agreed to consider a second case against Poland over allegations it allowed the CIA to run a secret jail on its soil, intensifying pressure on Warsaw to reveal how closely it was involved in the U.S. “war on terror”.

The Strasbourg-based court will consider an application from Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah, who alleges that he was held illegally about a decade ago in a CIA-run facility on the grounds of an intelligence training academy in a Polish forest.

Jul 27, 2013

Hungarian PM urges ethnic kin, scattered by history, to unite

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, called on ethnic Hungarians around the world on Saturday to unite to build a strong nation, tapping into nostalgia for a country dismembered when Europe’s maps were re-drawn nearly a century ago.

Many Hungarians today view the 1920 Treaty of Trianon as a national tragedy because it took away two-thirds of the country’s territory and left millions of ethnic Hungarians living in what are now Romania, Slovakia, and Serbia.

Jul 26, 2013

Hungary PM says not planning a ‘Blitzkrieg’ on banks

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday a measure he is planning to help borrowers struggling with foreign currency mortgages would not wreck the country’s financial system.

Investors have already been battered by nearly four years of aggressively pro-consumer policies under Orban that have cost them huge sums of money and are bracing for more pain after his government said it was preparing more help for borrowers.

Jul 18, 2013

Weak economy clips wings of Poland’s fiscal hawk

WARSAW, July 18 (Reuters) – Poland’s decision this week to
suspend one of its budget rules so it can run a bigger deficit
was a U-turn for Jacek Rostowski, the finance minister who has
built a reputation as one of Europe’s toughest fiscal hawks.

Rostowski had been left with no choice but to accept the
policy shift, analysts said, under pressure from an economy that
has slowed more sharply than he expected and a prime minister,
Donald Tusk, worried that he will lose the next election if his
government does not stimulate growth.

Jul 16, 2013

Lithuania accused of stonewalling over CIA jail case

WARSAW/VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lawyers for a man who alleges he was held in a secret CIA jail in Lithuania have accused the Baltic state of failing to give proper answers to judges considering the case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah alleges that he was held, seven years ago, in Lithuania as part of a global CIA program to detain and interrogate suspected al Qaeda operatives.

Jul 9, 2013

Chevron wants more dialogue on Poland shale gas rules

WARSAW (Reuters) – Energy major Chevron (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Tuesday it was committed to shale gas exploration in Poland though it wanted more consultation with the government on draft amendments to rules before they are adopted.

Three foreign firms – Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Talisman (TLM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Marathon (MRO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) – have pulled out of Polish shale gas, citing difficult geology and short-comings in the regulatory environment.

Jun 19, 2013

Dozing prince a cult hero for disenchanted Czechs

PRAGUE (Reuters) – It was a moment of high drama: the Czech prime minister stood up in parliament to try to salvage a political career torpedoed by the arrest of an aide, and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, sitting next to him, had dozed off.

Schwarzenberg’s habit of napping has, instead of being a liability, made him popular among Czechs fed up with their political class and its endemic corruption, and desperate for someone who breaks the mould.