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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » April 2, 2008
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From the news editor
April 2, 2008   
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The row between Poland's prime minister and president over ratifying the Lisbon Treaty flummoxed the rest of the EU and even had Poles scratching their heads. And little wonder. President Lech Kaczyński and his twin brother Jarosław, the former prime minister who heads the main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, stood in the way of ratifying the very treaty they themselves negotiated only last year.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his senior ruling coalition party, the Civic Platform (PO), were determined to have the treaty ratified, even if they had to take it to a national referendum. After lengthy talks, the prime minister and president finally appear to have reached a compromise. Those who feared that the row might delay approval of the treaty and weaken Warsaw's position in the EU will be breathing a sigh of relief.

Recent developments in Tibet have caused concern and anger across the world. Politicians, otherwise reluctant to upset the authorities of the People's Republic of China, have been forced to take a firmer than normal stance when faced with abuses of human rights by a superpower. Just months before the Olympic Games are due to start in Beijing, a debate has erupted about how the sporting community and politicians can show solidarity with Tibet and condemn the use of force against peaceful demonstrators. Poland was among the first to protest the violence. Polish politicians and social organizations have run the risk of damaging international relations and even of sparking a diplomatic row by sharply criticizing Beijing.

The effects of rapid economic growth and a rise in investment, together with the flight of 1.2 million Polish workers to Western European countries, are being felt on Poland's labor market. Unemployment, until recently Poland's greatest economic woe, has fallen to 11.5 percent and is expected to drop below 10 percent in the near future. Employers are no longer in a position to dictate terms to employees. If anything, the opposite is now true. Some industries are short of skilled workers and have little option but to offer higher salaries.
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