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Poland

Yearbook 2009

Poland. The relationship between Conservative President Lech Kaczyński and Liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk remained tense during the year. The big battle issue was the fight against corruption. Lech Kaczyński's twin brother Jarosław Kaczyński set up during his time as prime minister the anti-corruption agency CBA, which was accused by the new government's supporters of conducting political witch-hunting. Several politicians within the ruling Citizens' Platform were singled out in a corruption legacy called the Blackjack Gate. They were suspected of contacts with forces trying to stop a bill on tax increases on gambling. A number of designated politicians resigned but at the same time denied the allegations. In October, both the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior and the Deputy Minister of Finance left their posts. According to countryaah, Prime Minister Tusk then decided to replace the head of the CBA, Mariusz Kaminski, who had led the corruption hunt against the politicians within Tusk's party. Kaminski was prosecuted for violating his powers, and a parliamentary commission would investigate Blackjackgate. Tusk promised that the tax increases on gaming operations would be implemented.

2009 Poland

When President Barack Obama announced in September that the United States had decided to scrap the old plans for a robot shield located in Poland (and the Czech Republic), Poland's reactions were mixed. At the Conservative president's office, people first spoke of failure, but Prime Minister Tusk later explained that Poland saw the new plans for a mobile missile defense as interesting and ready to participate.

During the year, Poland led nine countries from the former Eastern bloc in opposition to the EU's unified proposal for the international climate summit in Copenhagen in December. Among other things, it was considered that Brussels allocated Poland too few allowances, which also the EU court agreed in its ruling in September. Poland also opposed the Swedish EU Presidency's proposal on how funding for the poor world climate measures should be distributed within the EU. Poland considered that the burden should be distributed according to GDP size. In addition, they were required to use unused allowances that they did not need to use in the so-called Kyoto Protocol. A compromise was concluded by writing that other EU countries should assist them by the Union members who have problems with climate financing.

In September, Parliament passed a law forcing the chemical castration of men convicted of rape on children under 15 or incest. In November, the president signed the law, which thus became the first of its kind in Europe. The law came into being since a man was arrested for having had his daughter as a sex slave for years.

On September 1, a ceremony outside Gdańsk was held for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. Heads of government from all over Europe participated, including from Moscow and Berlin, where the two main enemies were. Prime Minister Tusk wrote a letter to Europe's leaders during the year calling for support for an upgrading of the museum at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz outside Kraków that was about to expire.

Poland was the only EU country that looked to see growth in the economy during the year. In the first three quarters, GDP grew by 0.8, 1.1 and 1.7 per cent, respectively. Nevertheless, Poland was so affected by the economic crisis that in July the government decided to roll out plans for euro accession in 2012. A new and longer timetable must be worked out. Unemployment was around 12 per cent during the summer.

In the EU parliamentary elections in June, the ruling Citizens' Platform more than doubled its voting share to over 44 percent, taking half of Poland's 50 seats. The right-wing party Family League, which came second in the last EU elections in Poland, now fell out of the European Parliament. The newly elected EU parliamentarians appointed Poland's former Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek in July as new president. He thus became the first politician from the former Eastern bloc to lead the European Parliament.

In April, at least 21 people died in a fire in a shelter for homeless people in Kamień Pomorski outside Świnoujście.

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