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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » October 28, 2009
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From the NEWS editor
October 28, 2009   
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The scandal surrounding the supposed lobbying by prominent politicians of the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party on behalf of businessmen from the casino and arcade game industries is still a long way from being cleared up. A fierce battle is being waged in parliament to set up an investigative committee to look into the matter. Now another scandal has erupted, this time over the state security services tapping the telephones of journalists. This has sparked a debate on having the services monitored by parliament or the government. Many politicians openly admit to their powerlessness against the many state services who are legally empowered to engage in various forms of surveillance over citizens and who, according to most observers, are notorious for their abuse of this power.

Polish-U.S. relations have chilled over the past few months. It is evident just from looking at public opinion polls that the traditional Polish empathy for the United States has been seriously eroded. The situation is pretty much the same in another two Central European countries that had pinned their hopes on the missile shield bringing closer ties with Washington, only to see Barack Obama's administration scrap it. U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden has flown to Warsaw, Prague and Bucharest to reassure his hosts that they are still valued as important partners. After talks with the Polish president and prime minister, all concerned were at pains to point out that there is every reason to be optimistic. Political pundits, however, were equally quick to point out that Biden has given nothing more than a smile and a few friendly words.

Influenza has hit Poland harder than in previous years. Around 1,000 people have been coming down with the illness every day over the past few weeks, according to official statistics. Admittedly, Poland has not so far added its name to the long list of countries in which people have died from the new A/H1N1 virus, so-called "swine flu." The flu does, however, remain a serious threat and experts recommend vaccination as the best course of action. That Poles are not standing in line en masse for injections is partly due to financial reasons.

The Polish economy is getting on top of the crisis. The European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have all upgraded their forecasts for Poland. Their latest reports indicate that the country's GDP will grow over the next two years. Just a few months ago, international financial institutions were predicting recession, or at best stagnation, for Poland. Foreign banks, for their part, have lowered their inflationary forecasts for this country.
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