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The Warsaw Voice » Society » July 30, 2012
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From the editor
July 30, 2012   
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It’s the middle of the vacation season: tropical heat waves, American-style tornadoes, and homegrown hailstorms. But at least people are happy when it comes to sports (see our extensive coverage in this issue), freeways, railway stations and airports. Euro 2012 spurred the country on and things got done.

The opposition is smiling a little, too; it would be a shame, after all, to spoil the party when people are in high spirits and the government isn’t boasting too much.

But you can see signs of the autumn. As Thomas Mann noted in Joseph and His Brothers, there is an end in every beginning, and a beginning in every end. In Poland the days grow shorter from the first day of summer and longer from the first day of winter.

The autumn will be heavily political again. The Civic Platform (PO) is deciding what approach to take on family policy, ethical and social issues. Top of the list are regulations on and financing of IVF: Law and Justice (PiS) wants to send medical professionals to jail if they provide patients with IVF treatment, while within the PO there is huge controversy over the issue. Moves to give cohabiting couples similar rights to those of married couples are also guaranteed to spark a political row.

The key issues, however, will be the economy and related welfare problems. The EU economy as a whole is slowing perceptibly. GDP growth in Poland is estimated at 2.9 percent this year but a less dynamic 2.1 percent next year. People have to get through 2013 somehow. The worse they feel, the worse for the government. In Poland, like the rest of the EU, simple belt-tightening—though necessary—is no longer enough. Unemployment is rising; not as fast as in Spain, but still worryingly. This and other problems need a response; employees, employers and the government’s political opponents are all demanding answers.
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