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Two heavyweight media outlets confronted Polish governmental practices

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The Guardian and Bloomberg published two articles about Poland, both are full of harsh criticism towards PiS. Some excerpts from them are necessary.

Bloomberg Markets article, named ‘Investor Haven destroyed a Year After Polish Election‘ casts shadow on the performance of Polish stocks and bonds.

The stock market is under water. Currency volatility has jumped. And the country’s bonds are lagging behind almost 90 percent of their peers.Bloomberg article by Konrad Krasuski and Adrian Krajewski

One year on from the Law & Justice party’s parliamentary election victory, Poland’s market scorecard isn’t looking good.

It’s a landscape that amounts to an investor vote on a government that has told listed state-controlled companies to prioritize Poland’s national interests before their own, imposed the European Union’s highest taxes on lenders and is locked in a standoff with Brussels over democratic standards. Once considered a haven of stability in emerging markets, Poland has seen investment sentiment erode over the past year as the government implements what it calls “patriotic” policies and shuns the “EU mainstream.”

“Poland is no longer a great story,” said Viktor Szabo, a London-based money manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, which oversees about $10 billion of emerging-market bonds and stocks. “In the short term you will enjoy the benefits of looser fiscal policy and stronger domestic demand, but this is unlikely to be sustainable.”

The Guardian’s article

“Xenophobic, authoritarian – and generous on welfare” is the title of the newsletter piece.

Not since the communist era has a Polish government faced as much criticism from the west as the one in charge today. It is now exactly a year since Law and Justice (PiS), a socially conservative, Eurosceptic and nationalist party, swept to power, winning a parliamentary majority with 37.5% of the vote. This followed the triumph of PiS’s Andrzej Duda in the earlier presidential election, giving the party full control over Poland’s executive arm of government.

Since then, the ruling party has come under heavy fire from western media and institutions, which have accused it of dismantling democracy with policies designed to limit civil liberties, control media, politicise the civil service and neuter judicial independence. In July this year, the European commission issued Warsaw with a three-month ultimatum to address threats to the rule of law or face potential sanctions. PiS reacted scornfully, with party leader Jarosław Kaczyński calling the commission’s ultimatum “amusing”. Kaczyński has also been widely criticised in Europe for claiming migrants arriving on the continent could cause “epidemics” due to “various parasites and protozoa, which don’t affect their organisms, but which could be dangerous here”.

Yet, despite the barrage of critical opinions from the western world, which Poles have historically aspired to, PiS remains the most popular party in Poland, currently polling at 38%, which is higher than the combined support of all other parliamentary parties put together. There are several reasons for this, revealing dynamics observable not only in the wider eastern European region, but further west as well.

While PiS is strongly rightwing on social issues, its economic approach can be described as leftist. It emphasises the need to tackle inequality and propagates strong welfare policies. It introduced unconditional monthly cash payments equivalent to £100 for all parents who have more than one child towards the upkeep of each subsequent child until he or she is 18. So if you have three children, you get £200 per month and so forth. For parents with one child, the payment is conditional on low income.

No previous government ever embarked on such a generous social programme. PiS’s approach puts many Polish leftists in a bind. On the one hand, they deplore the party’s unashamedly xenophobic rhetoric; on the other, they like its economic views, especially in comparison to the main opposition parties, Civic Platform and Nowoczesna, both dominated by folk still enamoured with Hayek. In effect, some on Poland’s left are not as mobilised against PiS as they could be.


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