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The Warsaw Voice » Law » February 6, 2008
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February 6, 2008   
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Brussels Scolds Poland Over UKE
Poland may face the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for making the Electronic Communication Office subject to political influence, the Reuters agency quoted an unofficial source in Brussels as saying. Poland's Infrastructure Ministry is busy working on an amendment to the telecommunications act to comply with EU regulations. Otherwise, the ECJ may rule that Poland has infringed on EU law, imposing a fine on the government.

The Law and Justice party, which governed Poland for two years until last October, made the UKE head subject to dismissal by the prime minister. That is contrary to EU regulations under which such an official must be independent of political pressure. The Infrastructure Ministry's amendment will define in detail when the UKE head may be removed from office.

Longer Work Permits for Foreign Workers
As of February, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians are allowed to work in Poland for six months continually. The previous limit was three months. This is after Labor Minister Jolanta Fedak changed a ministry regulation on workers from non-EU countries neighboring Poland; they are now allowed to work in Poland without the need to obtain a work permit.

Before the government decides to further open the Polish job market to foreigners, the ministry said it will analyze employer needs and examine the possibility of meeting these needs by those who are currently unemployed.

More Jobs in Norway
Norway Jan. 1 implemented new labor regulations that make it easier for companies to employ citizens from new EU member states, including Poland. The new regulations have been introduced under pressure from Norwegian employers. Until recently, foreigners could only start working in Norway after receiving an official permit. Now they will be able to take up employment while their work permit will be processed. The Norwegian authorities have promised to shorten the permit-issuing procedure to five days.

Easier Buybacks
The Polish government has approved an amendment to commercial law that benefits stock exchange-listed companies. If the parliament passes the amendment, companies will find it easier to buy back their shares should their prices fall. Purchases will no longer be limited by a company's initial capital. Now companies will be allowed to buy up to 20 percent of their stock. But the purchase can exclusively be financed from companies' surplus funds that could otherwise be used for paying out dividends.

More Flak From Brussels
The European Commission has launched legal action against Poland for failing to implement EU regulations on airport security and the European emergency phone number 112. The EU directive on airport security unifies the rules and procedures in inspecting planes from non-EU countries that land at airports in member states. The other legal case is a result of delays in the implementation by Poland of EU rules on the European emergency phone number 112. The European Commission wrote in a statement that Polish-as well as Latvian-emergency services are unable to establish the whereabouts of callers who dial 112 on their cell phones. Consequently, rescuers often cannot reach the scene of an accident quickly enough.

Taxing Student Brains
Some 250 college students in Poland have entered a competition designed to test their knowledge of tax rules run by international consulting firm Accreo Taxand. The competition, called the first Taxand Challenge, is open to students at Polish institutions of higher education.

"The competition is popular not only with law students, but also students with majors such as marketing, management and economics," said Justyna Piesiewicz, marketing and public relations director at Accreo Taxand.

The best contestants will meet in the competition's finals Jan. 12 during which they will take part in a simulated trial before an administrative court. They will also get to test their proficiency in legal English. The top prize is an internship abroad.
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