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The Warsaw Voice » Law » December 3, 2008
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December 3, 2008   
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Plaudits for Garrigues
The Spanish law firm Garrigues, which has worked in Poland for over a year, has topped a prestigious list of the best independent law firms in Europe, compiled by TopLegal International magazine. The Spanish firm outclassed the competition thanks to its ability to accurately predict trends on the market for legal services and build new segments of the market using the firm's innovative, global strategy.

Garrigues is the oldest law firm in the Iberian Peninsula and apart from its 25 offices in Spain, it also has branches in London, New York City, Brussels, Shanghai, Lisbon, Oporto, Casablanca, Warsaw and Bucharest. Garrigues employs over 2,000 lawyers around the world.

Savings Safer
If a bank were to fail, deposits held by it would be fully guaranteed up to the equivalent of 50,000 euros per depositor, according to the new Bank Guarantee Fund (BFG) bill signed by President Lech Kaczyński Nov. 24. That provides security for deposits totaling about zl.188,000 (the current rough equivalent of 50,000 euros) for each customer of all banks that are participating in the BFG. A list of participating banks can be found on the BFG website, www.bfg.pl

Less Crime
The most burdensome crimes for citizens are on the wane, and sharply so, said Justice Minister Zbigniew Ćwiąkalski, summing up the first half of the year. From January to September, police recorded 800,000 fewer crimes than the same period last year. The sharpest fall was in car thefts, which dropped 20 percent. In second place was burglaries, which fell 15 percent. Homicides decreased 14 percent and theft, other than cars and burglaries, dropped 12 percent. Prosecutors and courts are also working more efficiently.

Against GMO, But Not Quite
The government will try to keep Poland free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) but still intends to follow EU directives on the issue. The government recently adopted a framework under which Poland will allow "closed use" of GMO products in Polish research and will permit local governments to establish "GMO free zones."

The government remains opposed to having GMO unrestricted in the environment. "The government also wants Poland to be a country free of GMO," a statement said. "It will speak up in the European Union's institutions against the spread of GMO."

Local Road Construction Program
The construction and modernization of municipal and county roads will be co-financed by the state budget, according to the principles of the National Local Road Rebuilding Program. The new direction required amendment of the Nov. 13, 2003 law on the financing of self-governing entities. This was done by Parliament Nov. 21.

A total of zl.1 billion has been set aside for the program in the 2009 budget. For 2009-11 the overall budget is zl.6 billion, half of which will come from the central budget.

Eastern Workers Welcome
Polish authorities will simplify the requirements for foreigners working in Poland as of Jan. 1. Obtaining work permits will be simplified, and in the case of seasonal laborers, the grace period for working without a permit will be extended.

The Ministry of Labor also proposes to get rid of the institution of promised workplaces and of a series of formal requirements. The administration will also forego the so-called labor-market tests, which requires a prior search for candidates for vacancies among unemployed Poles.

The new measures will mostly benefit Poland's eastern neighbors who do not belong to the EU. Preferential treatment will also be extended to citizens of Moldova, Georgia and Turkey.

For the first time, Polish authorities will introduce less restrictive measures not only for laborers, but also for highly trained specialists. Among those to benefit will be foreign language teachers, students and doctoral candidates.

Poland Must Ease Telecom Law
The EU Court of Justice has ruled that Polish telecommunications law does not respect EU directives. The court found that Poland imposes cooperation among telecom operators in a restrictive manner and grants too much power to the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) to enforce it. As a result of the ruling, Poland will have to amend its telecommunications law.
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