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The Warsaw Voice » Law » May 31, 2012
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Law in brief
May 31, 2012   
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Justice for Growth
The Justice Ministry is working to reduce the number of fines and penalties for businessmen, in keeping with the European Union’s Justice for Growth program. The ministry has drafted a proposal that has been submitted to social partners for consultation.

Poland tops the list in Europe in terms of the number of penalties for businesses, with new ones constantly being added.

In all, there are more than 300 economic crimes specified in 60 different laws in Poland. The problem is that most of these provisions are dead letter, the authorities say. What’s more, many penalties are regulated by laws which are in conflict with other laws.

Drive for E-Government
The Ministry of Administration and Digitization has drafted regulations to upgrade the law on e-government. The amendments are designed to improve the quality of public services by requiring that every public institution should create an electronic service for document filing by citizens, and improve access to official documents in electronic form, including application forms, and online communication with the public.

According to Michał Boni, minister of administration and digitization, services provided to citizens need to be improved at both the central and local government levels. Boni wants to make electronic signature procedures simpler by supporting a widespread use of the “trusted profile”, a simple form of e-signature. It would be used by the public, civil servants and public institutions.

Another challenge Boni wants to tackle is to ensure wide access to broadband internet. Under the draft, a private individual or entrepreneur will be able to give a public institution his or her e-mail address and ask to be contacted exclusively by e-mail from then on.

TPSA: A Monopoly or Not?
The European Commission is expected to rule in three months on whether or not Poland’s largest telecommunications operator TPSA has monopolized access to the fiber optic network in the country.

In March, Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (URE) gave TPSA a lot of leeway in collecting charges from other operators for access to the fiber optic network it has developed. In this way, the office wanted to encourage the leading operator to invest more in the development of the new-generation network.

But the European Commission fears that TPSA will take advantage of the situation to monopolize the fiber optic market in Poland.

Poland is using European Union funds to expand its fiber optic network. By 2013 the country can expect to receive up to 1.5 billion euros from EU coffers for this purpose. There is one condition though—the projects must be conducted in areas where no fiber optic network has been built so far. Prospective investors—local government and telecommunications operators—are delaying their decisions to invest, waiting for specific regulations to be sure on what terms, if at all, they will be able to use the existing network sections already constructed by TPSA.

Some observers say this could lead to Poland losing EU funds earmarked for the expansion of the network.
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