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The Warsaw Voice » Law » May 7, 2008
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May 7, 2008   
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Green Laws Need Amending: Hübner

Poland urgently needs to adjust its laws on environmental protection to EU standards, Danuta Hübner, the EU commissioner for regional policy, has said.

"Otherwise, Poland may miss out on billions of euros in EU help handed out in 2007-2013. Time is ticking. These are not changes that could be made overnight," Hübner told the Reuters news agency.

The European Commission told Poland it needed to amend the law in 2005 for the first time. Brussels audits show that changes carried out so far have turned out to be inadequate. "Unless Poland speeds the work up, the danger of losing funds will get worse," Hübner has said.

EU subsidies allocated to Poland for 2007-2013 total 67.3 billion euros.

International Commercial Law Online

The www.laweye.de web page is the second part of the www.transnational-law.de website devoted to international commercial law. The English-language website is designed to help lawyers and others interested in the subject to find information on laws regarding international contracts. The website does not contain legal information as such, instead, it offers links to informative websites. The featured subjects include international trade (covering laws on competition, intellectual property and electronic trade) and international arbitration in trade disputes.

One in Ten Illegally Employed

One in every ten people in Poland works in the "gray zone," or the under-the-table, tax evading economy, and for 90 percent of such people this is the main source of their income. A majority of such people are poorly educated and take illegal jobs because they have no other option. For the better educated, such jobs supplement their regular income. Most illegal workers take jobs as household help, in the construction sector, agriculture, catering and the hotel trade, usually with companies with up to ten employees.

These findings come from a survey the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy commissioned last year. In the survey, 70 percent of respondents say they negotiated the conditions of their illegal jobs, while 23 percent say their employers forced them to work illegally. Half of people who have such work would prefer legal jobs, but 45 percent say illegal work is the best solution for them.

The survey also shows that illegal workers are willing to give up some of their rights by accepting longer working hours, shorter terms of notice and lack of severance pay and bonuses.

Registration of Chemicals

New EU rules on the registration of chemicals require changes in Polish regulations. The government will soon start work on amending the law on chemical substances and preparations which will be submitted to parliament in May.

The new EU regulations require that chemical substances and preparations produced domestically or imported from outside the EU are registered at the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki. Applying to both small and large companies, the requirement does not depend on the size of a given enterprise, but on the amount of substances the company (or an individual) puts onto the EU market, and their planned application. Registration is required for those who produce or import over one tonne of chemical substances.

The rules also apply to construction materials and substances used in stationery products. Polish law will specify who can penalize a company for failing to meet the requirements and it will set out the penalties. In most cases, these will be fines of up to zl.500,000, but the regulations will also bring in prison sentences of up to two years. Inspectors may also order production to be stopped or prohibit production to prevent unregistered substances and preparations from reaching the market.

Cross-Border Mergers Made Easier
Parliament has completed work on changes to allow cross-border mergers of companies in the EU, such as a merger of a Polish and a German company. Deputies accepted three changes that the Senate introduced to an amendment to commercial law. Up to now, in order to merge companies in two countries, for example EU member states, one of the companies has had to buy out the capital of the other (even though they remained two separate businesses) or establish a new, merged business.

Once the new regulations enter into force, they will enable cross-border mergers resulting in the establishment of an acquiring company or a new one. Whether the new company is Polish or foreign and which country's law it is subject to will depend on the course of the merger and where the parties decide to locate the new company headquarters. Such mergers will be possible in any situation where the Polish law allows mergers.

In "old" EU states, cross-border mergers are the norm.
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