Poland and the Czech Republic seem to be heading in different directions over the euro.
The Czech Republic has long been one of the region’s greatest sceptics on joining the common currency, preferring to hang on to the koruna and enjoy a reputation for fiscal and monetary probity at least equal to that of the EU and the European Central Bank.
Czech governments have for years refused to set a firm date for entry. But now Milos Zeman, the country’s new centre-left president, said in a German press interview that his country could be in the euro by 2018 – a marked departure from the eurosceptic views of his predecessor Vaclav Klaus, who famously even refused to fly the EU’s blue banner over his residence. Continue reading »
Poland’s justice minister seems to have been an overly avid fan of the classic thriller The Boys From Brazil, a book in which twisted German scientists play with genetics in a bid to clone Adolf Hitler.
Jaroslaw Gowin is accusing German labs of buying frozen Polish embryos for research purposes – an accusation that seems to be unfounded in fact, which German researchers deny, and which has made the conservative minister a target of the growing ire of premier Donald Tusk. Continue reading »
Poland’s treasury minister got the chop on Friday from a furious premier Donald Tusk, who was enraged that he had not been informed about negotiations with the Russians over a possible expansion of a natural gas pipeline running across Polish territory.
The talks were held between the Russians and Polish state-controlled gas and pipeline operators and, according to Tusk, did not violate Poland’s national security. However, Tusk was wrong-footed earlier this month when word leaked out that a preliminary agreement had been signed with the Russians without his knowledge. Continue reading »
Poland reacted frostily to an surprise announcement on Friday by Russia’s Gazprom that it had signed a preliminary agreement to build a new gas pipeline across Polish territory, saying it had no desire to increase its dependence on Russian energy.
“Strategically speaking, we do not want to expand the pool of Russian gas,” premier Donald Tusk said on Friday. Back to you, Gazprom! Continue reading »
It’s onwards and upwards for Poland’s finance minister Jacek Rostowski. Prime minister Donald Tusk on Wednesday promoted the London-trained economist to deputy prime minister.
The move came amid a broader government reshuffle which saw Tusk appoint a new chief of staff and a new interior minister. Tusk said the changes reflected his government’s priorities, whatever that may mean. More likely, he wanted to show he was responding to recent signs of decline in his once-high popularity rankings. Continue reading »
The Polish government’s junior coalition partner unexpectedly changed its leader over the weekend, resulting in a visibly outraged Waldemar Pawlak on Monday quitting as deputy prime minister and economy minister. However, stocks and the zloty were both strongly up – a sign that politics are not having much of an impact on positive perceptions of the economy, at least for now. Continue reading »
The debacle at Warsaw’s National stadium – where a Poland-England match had to be scrubbed on Tuesday night because the brand new ground failed to close its roof despite a deluge of rain – tested the talents of Polish and English Facebook and Twitter jokers.
The most popular photo shared online seemed to be a black-and-white one of men in flippers trying to kick a ball, but the football fiasco points to a deeper problem with Polish infrastructure. Continue reading »
Poland’s opposition parties look at the country’s slowing growth and see a possible opening for attacking the government of Donald Tusk, in power since 2007 – as attested by a large street protest in Warsaw over the weekend which drew about 50,000.
But the window for such criticism may be small, if the slowdown proves to be short-lived – at least that’s the word from Jacek Rostowski, the finance minister. Speaking to beyondbrics earlier this week, Rostowski predicts that the economy could return to more robust growth by late 2013. Continue reading »
As Poland hosts the European football championships, many visiting fans are discovering the changing character of the former communist country for the first time. It’s clear that Poland is a country in full expansion mode, catching up with its western neighbours.
But when the cameras turn away, and the Polish return to their daily lives, how much of the progress and enthusiasm will be left? The FT takes a look on Thursday in a special report. Continue reading »
Herbert Wirth helped turn Poland’s KGHM copper miner into a global force thanks to the recent acquisition of Canada’s Quadra FMX – but will that be enough for him to retain his job?
Wirth’s term as head of the company is expiring and his running to keep his job but faces stiff competition thanks to the growing prominence of KGHM. He will be hoping that the treasury ministry-dominated board will remember the FMX deal when it votes on naming a new CEO this June. Continue reading »
Central European countries are taking advantage of the recent turn in sentiment towards emerging markets to lock in financing needs for this year and get a head start on 2012, when market conditions are expected to be worse.
Last week Poland offered $2bn in 10-year bonds priced at 280 basis points above the USD benchmark, attracting $8bn in total demand. Continue reading »
Poland doesn’t have an amusement park worthy of the name – but the stomach-dropping thrills of roller coasters can easily be replicated, first in the wild fluctuations of the zloty against the euro, dollar and Swiss franc, and now in the huge variability of opinion polls just days before Sunday’s parliamentary election.
The election is turning out to be more difficult than expected for the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party of premier Donald Tusk, which is battling the nationalists of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party. Continue reading »