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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » May 20, 2009
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From the NEWS editor
May 20, 2009   
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UEFA has made up its mind and the European soccer championships in 2012 will take place in four cities in Poland-Warsaw, Gdańsk, Poznań and Wrocław. Poland is thus in a much better position than its Euro 2012 co-host Ukraine where, for now, only Kiev and one other city can count on holding games.

The other three candidate cities in Ukraine will only be accepted if they meet UEFA requirements, a feat they need to achieve within the next six months. The state of Ukraine's preparations for the championships has alarmed UEFA head Michel Platini to the point where it is even possible the closing Euro 2012 match will be played in Warsaw instead of Kiev.

In Poland, meanwhile, controversy smolders over events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first free post-war elections on June 4, 1989, which launched the transformation of the communist country into a market economy and a democratic state. Originally, the main celebrations, to be attended by international delegations of the highest level, were to take place in Gdańsk, where the Solidarity trade union movement was born. However, unionists from the nearly bankrupt Polish shipyards threatened protests the same day and, fearing they might get violent (police used pepper gas to disperse an angry mob in Warsaw earlier in May), Prime Minister Donald Tusk decided to relocate some of the anniversary events in Cracow. That has met with criticism from the unionists as well as many opposition politicians.

Poland scored a considerable success, on the other hand, in Prague during an EU summit devoted to the Eastern Partnership, a Polish-Swedish initiative to bring six former Soviet republics closer to the EU and European standards. Prior to the summit, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski had visited Moscow and managed to convince the Russians that the partnership was not an anti-Russian project. With no objections from the Kremlin, EU member states had no problems agreeing to launch the program.
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