Tag Archives: Warsaw

Visegrad 4 cools on Europe, and each other

Doubts grow on how bloc of 65 million can function at critical time in EU history.

Central Europe’s unity is cracking.

The common purpose the region rediscovered during the refugee crisis has frayed in recent months amid differences over matters large and small, concerning everything from regulatory fine print to the future of Europe.

Continue reading Visegrad 4 cools on Europe, and each other


Exexe Completes Centor HQ And Showroom In Warsaw

polish studio exexe has completed a showroom for australian doors company centor in warsaw. the multi-functional space marks the first central/eastern european headquarters for the business, and possesses a minimalistic mindset meant to spur creativity while simultaneously presenting all centor has to offer.

exexe centor headquarters showroom warsaw poland designboom

the semi-narrow, rectangular interior is defined by three folded-wall objects created specifically for the space.  their shapes sub-divide the overall expanse into smaller, consecutive areas; each of which is used for a different purpose.

Continue reading Exexe Completes Centor HQ And Showroom In Warsaw

Putin threatens to take Warsaw, Riga, Vilnius and Bucharest in two days

Putin threatens to take Warsaw, Riga, Vilnius and Bucharest in two days

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has stated that he can bring troops into Warsaw, Vilnius and a number of other capitals of the EU and the NATO countries.

This information is revealed in a short message of the EU foreign policy service, a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung writes.

As stated by the newspaper, Putin had told so to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.

In his turn, Poroshenko passed along the content of the conversation to the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, “Evropejskaya Pravda” informs.

Putin: Russian army may enter Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania in few days

“If I had wanted, I would have brought troops within two days not only to Kyiv, but to Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest,” Putin told to Poroshenko.

Besides, as the German newspaper informs, Putin recommended the Ukrainian president “not to rely on the EU too much”, as if required, he can “influence and block passing a decision at the level of the European Council.”

Poland’s presidential election — Swinging right

A young challenger’s win kindles worries that Poland could return to its erratic days under the Law and Justice party

MANY dismissed it as a fluke when, in the first round of Poland’s presidential electionstwo weeks ago, the heavily favoured incumbent, Bronisław Komorowski, finished second to Andrzej Duda of the conservative Law and Justice party (PiS).

On Sunday Mr Duda (pictured) showed that the prior result was no accident, defeating Mr Komorowski in the runoff election by a margin that late-night exit polls put at 52% to 48%.

Some of the credit goes to Mr Duda, an energetic young candidate who started the race as a relatively unknown member of the European Parliament. Yet Mr Duda’s win also reflects widespread disillusionment with Mr Komorowski and the ruling centre-right Civic Platform party (PO) that backed him.

It could presage a PiS win in parliamentary elections this autumn. After eight years of centrist government, Poland appears to be swinging back to the right.

At Mr Duda’s election event in Warsaw, supporters impatient for the results after a two-week interval found themselves waiting an extra 90 minutes when a death at a polling station delayed the presentation of the exit polls.

By the time they were announced, the temperature was tropical, and the sweaty crowd jeered at a projection screen showing Mr Komorowski conceding defeat. Mr Duda was more circumspect, thanking his rival politely and promising an “open presidency” that would welcome a wide range of initiatives.

Mr Komorowki’s backers put much of the blame for defeat on his lacklustre campaign. After Paweł Kukiz, a former rock star, won 20% of the vote in the first round with a campaign demanding that Poland switch its electoral system from party lists to single-member districts, Mr Komorowski tried to court his supporters by promising a referendum on the issue.

The hurried move only dented Mr Komorowski’s credibility. (Meanwhile, the referendum has been approved by the Senate and will take place in September.) Mr Komorowski’s efforts to portray Mr Duda as a dangerous radical proved ineffective, as the PiS candidate kept his rhetoric carefully moderate.

“Each of us is a bit rational and a bit radical, but we need to look for shared values,” Mr Duda said on the campaign trail last week.

The danger is that Mr Duda’s election could herald the return of the erratic and confrontational Poland of PiS’s previous term in power from 2005-2007, which was characterised by domestic and international paranoia, particularly towards Germany.

The cover of one news magazine showed Mr Duda peeling off a rubber mask to reveal the face of Jarosław Kaczyński, the veteran leader of PiS, who is a more divisive right-wing figure. PiS is trying to avoid that association; at Mr Duda’s election event, Mr Kaczyński was nowhere to be seen.

One area where many fear a PiS president could cause damage is Poland’s reputation in the European Union. That has risen dramatically over the past decade, as evidenced bythe appointment of Donald Tusk, the former prime minister, as president of the European Council last autumn.

Last week five former Polish foreign ministers, including Radosław Sikorski, who held the position under Mr Tusk, published an open letter in support of Mr Komorowski.

“Rowdiness, complexes and conflicts lead to alienation,” they wrote, referring to the PiS’s term in power. (Anna Fotyga, who was foreign minister under the PiS in 2006-2007, did not sign.)

Mr Duda has tried to defray such anxieties, but he must also play to the more nationalist voices in the PiS. In a televised debate last week, Mr Duda said it was important to build good neighbourly relations, but added that

“we cannot assume that we are a category B [second-rate] country.”

Mr Duda may in fact be a new breed of PiS politician. His relatively moderate language and efforts to cultivate cross-party support are very different from the xenophobic nationalism practised by the previous PiS-backed president, the late Lech Kaczyński (Jarosław’s twin brother).

He certainly has political talent: at 7am on the morning after his victory, while most victors might have been resting on their laurels, Mr Duda was at Warsaw’s central metro station handing out cups of coffee to passersby.

In any case, the Polish presidency is non-partisan, meaning Mr Duda will have no official links to PiS. And while the president has veto powers, he is mainly a ceremonial head of state.

The greater risks lie with the PiS in parliament. The party is strongly sceptical of the EU, and many of its voters are fond of religious nationalism and conspiracy theories. Mr Duda’s victory is a painful reminder to the PO-led government that its time is running out.

Ewa Kopacz, the prime minister, will try to secure a third term for her party in parliamentary elections this autumn, but she has not built the kind of support Mr Tusk enjoyed. Polls already give PiS a narrow lead, and Mr Duda’s success is expected to widen it.

“We could feel the juices draining out of us after so many years of electoral losses,” said one jubilant PiS politician after it became clear Mr Duda was ahead.

Poland’s liberals dread the possibility that the PiS may be getting its old juices back.

Polish masterpieces fare poorly on Warsaw backstreets

A bid to inject high culture into some of Warsaw’s more down-at-heel backstreets has had mixed results, with prints of oil paintings from the National Museum apparently vandalised by locals.

French artist Julien de Casabianca specialises in attempting to rejuvenate deprived districts of large cities.

On 14 March, he set up a series of photographic prints on streets in Warsaw’s Praga district.

A detail from Jacek Malczewski's 'Polish Hamlet' in Warsaw's Praga district. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak
A detail from Jacek Malczewski’s ‘Polish Hamlet’ in Warsaw’s Praga district. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

The prints included details from paintings by such masters as Jacek Malczewski, Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowiczowa and Aleksander Gierymski.

Nevertheless, local portal wawalove.pl noted that within two days, most of the paintings had been vandalised.

In spite of the damage, the paintings still make a strong impression.

De Casabianca has taken part in similar projects in New York, Barcelona and Paris.

Polish Rioting Over Teen’s Death Leaves 8 Hurt, 21 Detained


WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Rioting in Poland sparked by the death of a teenager, who apparently choked to death while trying to swallow a drug packet as narcotics officers tried to stop him, has left eight people injured and 21 detained, authorities said Tuesday.

Hundreds of people turned out Sunday and Monday evening in front of the police station in the town of Legionowo to remember a 19-year-old man, identified only as Rafal W., in line with Poland’s privacy law.

Butelką w twarz został trafiony jeden z policjantów

The teen passed out while trying to swallow a small drug packet when narcotics officers stopped him and some other men on a street during a raid last week, authorities said. He died in a hospital hours later.

Initial autopsy results say a small packet was found in the teenager’s trachea, a spokeswoman for the investigating prosecutor, Renata Mazur, told The Associated Press. She refused to say what it contained, but said it was related to the anti-drug raid.

Media reports say it was marijuana.

Protesters have blamed the man’s death on police. The gatherings turned into rioting when groups of aggressive young men, some under the influence of alcohol, joined in, throwing stones and bottles, police said. Another gathering is planned for Tuesday night.

Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said it is the duty of the police to react when public order is violated.

Police spokesman Mariusz Mrozek said that 13 people were detained Monday night and a policeman was injured by a bottle. Seven other people, mostly policemen, were hurt and eight were detained Sunday night, he said.

Map: These will be Europe’s most polluted cities by 2030

When Europeans talk about air pollution, they often think of India or China, but rarely consider their own continent to be at risk. And while levels of air pollution have decreased throughout Europe over the past decades, a new study by Austrian scientists concludes that smog is far from being defeated on the continent.

Scientists with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis predict that by 2030, many European cities will be faced with air pollution levels far above limits set by the World Health Organization and the European Union. Whereas many Europeans already live in polluted areas today, conditions will worsen in certain cities if no significant measures are taken to stop the deterioration.

“We show the potential and the need for further emission controls to achieve safe levels of air quality – current legislation will not do the job,” researcher Gregor Kiesewetter, who led the study, said on the Web site of his institute. “Air pollution has a major impact on human health, contributing to lung and heart disease,” the scientists warned.

What is surprising is that the cities which will suffer most are not necessarily the biggest ones. London, for instance, is expected to have harmless levels of pollution, despite its current smog, which has led to an E.U. lawsuit against Britain for the country’s failure to reduce pollution levels.

An alarming presence of dangerous microparticles is primarily predicted for eastern Europe. In the proximity of Krakow, one of Poland’s oldest cities, smog will be particularly widespread by 2030, according to the Austrian researchers. Warsaw and Sofia are also predicted to have alarming levels of microparticles.

In western and northern Europe, the cities hardest hit will include the industrial Spanish port of Gijon, Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, southern Germany’s Stuttgart, northern Italy’s Milan and Turin, and the French capital.

Smog in Paris could have devastating consequences: As one of Europe’s largest cities, air pollution would potentially endanger more than 12 million people in the French capital and its suburbs.

Such high levels of air pollution would not come as a total surprise to most Parisians, though. On Mar. 17, 2014,  Paris was plagued by thick smog that was even worse than the one in Beijing that day. Back then, authorities responded with an unprecedented measure — banning half of all cars and making public transport free for one week.

In January, the mayor of Paris announced that polluting trucks and buses would no longer be allowed to enter the city, starting in July. It’s only the latest measure taken to tackle the Parisian air pollution problem: In December, for instance, the city decided to prohibit the use of open fireplaces.

The air pollution problem of Paris was widely reported internationally and has been used to mock the city, but as the Austrian study shows, other cities are equally at risk.

Some consider the recent Parisian measures to be exaggerated, but supporters of a tough anti-smog stance have a strong counter-argument: Outdoor air pollution is blamed for the deaths of at least 100,000 and, according to some estimates, even as many as 400,000 Europeans each year.

Most of these deaths could easily be prevented, according to the Austrian researchers. “If the most efficient air pollution control technologies that are currently available were implemented across Europe, 99 percent of European monitoring stations would see air pollution levels reduced below E.U. limits by 2030,” they concluded.