Tag Archives: Poland

Germany observes Poland’s economic miracle for post-COVID growth | Business | Economic and financial news from a German perspective | DW | Instant News

Since Law and Justice Party (PiS) came to power in 2015, the EU’s sixth largest economy has drawn attention mainly to alleged backsliding democracy. However, at the same time, the resilience of the Polish economy is astonishing.

The Eastern European Development Bank (EBRD) expects 3% growth in 2021, which will make Poland the only EU member to reach pre-crisis levels by the end of 2021. The country has grown from 49% to 70% of average EU economic wages since joined the EU in 2004 and in November Poland is again number three in the EU in terms of industrial production growth.

Economy Minister Jaroslaw Gowin told the German business daily Handelsblatt recently: “Many Polish companies have used the pandemic to reset themselves, digitize more, and step into where other supply chains have been crushed.”

Jaroslaw Gowin plans to oversee the massive restructuring of the Polish economy

And EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik told the same newspaper that two aspects would differentiate Poland’s recovery from others in Europe: diversity and flexibility. “Both of them have served the country well during the coronavirus pandemic,” he said, adding that during the coronavirus crisis a “generous package of support” has been helpful.

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Since the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, the Polish and German economies have become increasingly intertwined. In the city of Lodz, German home appliance maker Bosch-Siemens Hausgeräte, for example, not only saw washing machines roll off the production line, but also researched new household technologies.

In the Walbrzych special economic zone near Wroclaw, Daimler has expanded its newly built engine production site with a second battery plant, which is the latest Industry 4.0 standard and is CO2 neutral, powered from a wind farm 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) away. Meanwhile, Volkswagen not only produces Caddy, Crafter and Transporter models, but aluminum castings also come from Poznan which are distributed throughout the VW network around the world.

The Volkswagen car factory in Poznan is visible from the outside

VW is well established in the city of Poznan in western Poland

Germany’s trade with Eastern Europe suffered in the 2020 pandemic, falling 8.4% to € 423 billion ($ 512 billion), according to Germany’s Eastern Economic Committee. However, trade with Poland remained almost constant at € 123 billion despite the crisis, while imports from Poland to Germany even increased by 1%. Poland rose to fifth place among Germany’s most important trading partners, behind China, the Netherlands, the US and France, still ahead of Italy, Switzerland, Britain and Austria. Trade with Russia fell 22% to € 45 billion.

“Put simply, there is little that may not prove beneficial in terms of economic success in Poland from a German perspective and vice versa,” said Marek Wasinski, head of the foreign trade team at the Polish Institute of Economics.

“The diversity and size of Poland’s economy was key to its resilience during the crisis,” he told DW. “The strong relationship with the German economy was another factor shaping this success.”

Wasinski pointed out environmental technology as the most attractive potential for future growth in Poland. “From a transformational point of view – changing the energy mix, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings or electrifying the economy, but also related to tradels – Poland is largest trolleybus exporter in the European Union – it is very well positioned in the European battery supply chain, it is the fifth largest exporter of ‘green’ goods in the EU, “he said.

Aerial photo of the smog-covered city of Kattowice

The city of Katowice in Silesia is at the heart of new thinking on Poland’s energy sector

Energy is the key

Above all, the planned restructuring of the energy industry, away from coal and towards renewable energy, could become a major area of ​​activity for German companies. Minister of Climate and Environment Michal Kurtyka recently announced that Poland wants to invest “a total of € 240 billion by 2030.”

Poland’s energy transition appears to determine the country’s medium-term economic success. Three-quarters of the electricity generated there still comes from coal-fired power plants. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Silesian district, place the miner cut close to the black chunks tight at the seams, was the largest corona hotspot in Vistula province last summer.

Some 61 Polish cities are on the list of most polluted places in the EU. The largest lignite power plant in Europe and number two in the world in Belchatow is the largest single emitter of CO2 in the EU – bigger than the whole of Ireland or Slovakia.

Kurtyka wants to reduce the share of coal to between 28% and 11% within 20 years, depending on how fast the investment required for the energy sector flows in by 2030. By 2040, wind power alone should generate 8,000 to 11,000 megawatts of electricity. Apart from state funds, which mostly come from the EU, huge private investment must also be made and billions must be obtained from electricity through environmental taxes.

An image showing Turow's coal-fired power plant and the center of protests from environmental activists

Turow Power Station is one of many that will undergo major changes

Poland’s energy transition through 2040 is estimated to cost 1.6 trillion zlotys (€ 355 billion, $ 430 billion). Of this, changes in the fuel and energy sector will total around 890 billion zlotys, including up to 342 billion zlotys in investment in power generation, according to Polityka Insight, a leading think tank for political and economic analysis.

In total, about 745 billion zlotys will be spent on transitions in the industrial sector, by households, services, transport and agriculture, notes Warsaw-based Polityka Insight.

“Poland needs major investments in heating grids and energy infrastructure,” said Robert Tomaszewski, an energy analyst at Polityka Insight. Many coal-fired power plants are owned by small local governments and unable to invest in renewable energy or reduce gas emissions, Tomaszewski told DW.

Private capital is needed to decarbonize the district heating sector with around 100 billion zloty to be invested over the next 10 years. “This opens a window of opportunity for foreign companies,” Tomaszewski added, noting for example that German power company e.on, which has heating assets in Szczecin and Opole, is looking to expand in Poland. Veolia France, which has a district heating network in Warsaw, has similar plans.

The offshore industry also has enormous investment potential, said Tomaszewski because Poland wants to expand its offshore wind power plants to a capacity of 5.9 gigawatts by 2030. As for gas, this form of energy will gradually replace coal. in the Polish energy mix.

In both wind and gas sectors, German engineering company Siemens seeks to play a role by working with Polenergia, one of Poland’s largest private energy companies, and in delivering gas turbines for energy projects at the Plock and Rybnik power plants.

“In nuclear space, there may be a strong reaction from the German Green Party [party] after September [general elections in Germany], while the Nord Stream 2 Baltic pipeline is likely to encourage Poland to accelerate its gas diversification plan, “noted Tomaszewski.

Another key sector

Another sector to watch is business and IT services, where Germany is only the fifth largest investor, in the chemical industry, with the investment needed to reduce emissions, as well as in the pharmaceutical industry, said Wasinski.

“There is also a growing potential for cooperation in the automation and digitization of the Polish economy and particularly the manufacturing sector,” he added.

Germany and Poland, Wasinski is confident of becoming the industrial hub of Eastern Europe, capable of developing value chains that “benefit both partners”.


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Airbus CEO calls for trade war ceasefire and relaxation of COVID travel bans | Instant News

PARIS (Reuters) – The chief of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus on Saturday called for a “ceasefire” in a transatlantic trade war over aircraft subsidies, saying tariffs on planes and other goods had worsened the damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis. FILE PHOTO: Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury attends the Airbus annual press conference on 2019 results in Blagnac near Toulouse, France on February 13, 2020. REUTERS / Regis Duvignau / File PhotoWashington has gradually imposed 15% import duties on Airbus jets from 2019 after a protracted dispute at the World Trade Organization, and the EU responded with equivalent tariffs on Boeing jets a year later. Wine, whiskey and other products are also affected. “This dispute, which is now an old dispute, has put us in a losing situation,” Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said in a radio interview. situation where wisdom would normally dictate that we have a ceasefire and that we resolve this conflict, ”he told France Inter.Boeing was not immediately available for comment. Brazil, which has waged separate battles with Canada over subsidies for small regional aircraft, on Thursday dropped its own lawsuit against Ottawa and called for a global peace deal between producing countries on support for aerospace. Faury said the dispute with Boeing had been particularly damaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely affected air travel and led to travel restrictions or border closures. He said he was particularly concerned about the widening of bans in Europe. “We are extremely frustrated with the barriers that restrict personal movement and it is almost impossible today to travel to Europe by plane, even at national level,” he said. 1 for countries in general is to reopen borders and allow people to travel on the basis of tests and then possibly vaccinations. The comments come as companies put increased pressure on governments to reopen economies as coronavirus vaccine deployments accelerate across Europe. defended the recently introduced border restrictions, saying they will help the government avoid a new lockdown and remain in effect at least until the end of February. Germany last Sunday installed border controls with the Czech Republic and Austria, sparking protests from Austria and concerns over the offer. Poland said on Saturday it had not ruled out imposing restrictions on the country’s borders with Slovakia and the Czech Republic due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, Tim Hepher’s report; Edited by Kirsten Donovan.

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Germany concerned about Poland’s nuclear energy plans | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW | Instant News

Poland is working to reduce its dependence on coal and is moving ahead with plans to start producing nuclear energy. His Polish Energy Policy Strategy (PEP), which the government approved earlier this month and will begin in 2026, includes construction of six reactors at two sites. It is planned that the first reactor will start operating in 2033 and the six reactors will be operational in 2043.

EU members must find new sources of energy to meet the bloc’s climate, energy and environmental targets. Poland currently depends on coal for 70% of its energy and is therefore one of the EU’s most polluting countries.

But Poland’s energy transition is not driven by external pressure alone. Brown coal mining in central Poland, which currently supplies 20% of the country’s energy, will stop by 2035.

Brown coal mining will stop in 2035

There will also be a shortage of natural gas once the agreement with Russia ends at the end of next year. Russian gas currently accounts for 5% of Poland’s energy needs. But due to rising costs and political tensions with Moscow, Warsaw is not looking to extend the agreement.

The seemingly perfect solution

Nuclear reactors are considered by many to be the perfect solution. Plans to develop nuclear energy began in the 1970s and construction had begun on two Soviet-designed reactors at Zarnowiec, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Gdansk, but was halted thereafter. the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. All subsequent attempts to relaunch the project failed. Now, new reactors will likely be built in Zarnowiec and near Lubiatowo-Kopalino.

An engineer inspects engine room damage at the Chernoybl nuclear power plant

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history

However, Poland was unable to fund the reactor, which will have a capacity of six to nine gigawatts and is estimated to cost € 30 billion ($ 36 billion). Last year, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the ideal partner for the project, both in terms of technology transfer and funds, is “a proven partner of NATO and the western world.”

US or France?

The ideal partner for Poland is the US. Former President Donald Trump raised high hopes when he visited his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in June 2020 and pledged support from US companies. The prime minister said the meeting had “moved Poland in the right direction.”

The two countries signed an initial agreement to cooperate on the development of Poland’s nuclear energy program less than a month before Trump’s election defeat.

Donald Trump and Andrzej Duda address the press outside the White House

Last year Poland and the US reached an agreement on developing the Warsaw nuclear energy program

But with Trump outside the office, Poland lost its closest ally. Now France is in play. On February 2, the day the government approves the energy strategy, French Foreign Trade Minister Franck Riester visited Poland to offer support.

The CEO of state-owned Electricite de France (EDF) spoke to Polish media and proposed a deal to fund two-thirds of the project while promoting the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), already operating in Taishan, China. With a capacity of more than 1000 MW (1 GW), this giant reactor is in line with the government’s wishes.

Potential risk

However, energy expert Marcin Roszkowski of the Polish think-tank Jagiellonian Club disagrees. “Now there are reactors that are much smaller, with capacities of 50 and 100 MW,” he told DW. “This is a modular reactor that can be combined. They can spread over a wider area and supply energy to cities and individual factories. “

Photo by Marcin Roszkowski

Polish economist Marcin Roszkowski is a member of the non-partisan Jagiellonian Club

“This will prevent a major nuclear catastrophe,” he said. He explained that the smaller reactor, currently used in nuclear-powered icebreakers, may be commercially available within a few years. In 2019, Polish billionaire Michal Solowow offered to build such a reactor, signing an agreement to cooperate with Japanese-US giant GE Hitachi. Other experts say that Poland’s plans go against the current trend in the EU to move towards gas and renewable energy.

“With current technology, it wouldn’t be difficult to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 80%. The 20% that was lost was due to the Polish winter, when there was little wind and little sun,” Marcin Popkiewicz, a nuclear physicist at the University. Warsaw, told DW, pointed out that building nuclear power plants is also very expensive. “For customers, the cost of nuclear energy can be five times the cost of renewable energy.”

Lagging behind

The government’s energy strategy includes renewable energy, however slow progress. Their share of the energy mix has stagnated at 14% over the years. This is lower than the EU average of 20% (2020). This could change in 2025 when Poland’s first wind farm on the Baltic coast begins operating. It is slated to reach 8 GW of capacity by 2040.

Wind turbines next to a village in Poland

Poland’s renewable energy sector is stagnating

The main problem facing the government is how to stop the use of black coal, which currently accounts for 50% of the energy mix. It will continue to be mined until at least 2050. More than 100,000 jobs depend on the sector, which is why the government is hesitant to close the mine pits.

Paradoxically, nuclear energy, which is “clean” in terms of CO2 emissions, can slow the process even further. If Poland’s CO2 emissions drop due to nuclear power plants, the pressure from the EU will decrease to reduce coal production.

The Laziska fossil-fueled power station is covered in snow

For now, fossil fuels are the largest contributor to Poland’s energy supply

Germany wants to stay informed

Poland’s plans are already causing resentment in neighboring Germany. According to an expert report commissioned by the Green Party parliamentary faction in Germany’s Bundestag in January, Poland’s nuclear power plant, only a few hundred kilometers from the German border, would pose a high risk to the population.

“Experts evaluate everything based on weather data for the last three years. There is a 20% chance that Germany will be affected by an accident at a planned nuclear power plant,” the chairman of the Bundestag Environment Committee, Ursula Kotting-Uhl, said DW. “In the worst case scenario, 1.8 million Germans will be exposed to radiation from more than 20 milisieverts. At that rate, we have to start evacuating. Berlin and Hamburg could be affected, which are densely populated.”

Poland’s Ministry of Climate and Environment insists that an environmental impact assessment has been carried out.

Germany wants to stay involved in Poland’s nuclear energy plans. “For the government, it is imperative that if Poland starts producing nuclear energy it ensures the highest possible level of security, radiation protection and security for neighboring countries that are potentially directly affected,” read a statement provided to DW by Germany. Ministry of Environment. He added that in the event of a potentially significant impact on their affairs or environment, states have an internationally binding right to be informed and heard.


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The Czech PM asked the Michel of the European Union to help facilitate German border controls for trucks | Instant News

FILE PHOTOS: German border police officers stop cars and trucks on highway A17 near the Czech-German border, after control between Germany and the Czech Republic has been reestablished, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Breitenau, Germany, 15 February 2021. REUTERS / Matthias Rietschel

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Central European countries are asking European Council President Charles Michel to help ease controls imposed by Germany on the Czech and Austrian borders to free up the flow of industrial goods and components, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday.

Germany installed border checks on Sunday, raising concerns about supply chain disruptions.

The restrictions along the normally open border have been sparked by concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region which is spreading faster and causing more disease.

A long line of trucks has formed on the Czech-German border every day since Monday as German authorities have only allowed the driver and a few passengers who tested negative for the coronavirus.

“What is happening on the German border is of course against the internal market and a big problem for all of us,” Babis told a news conference after Visegrad Group leaders from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia met Michel in the Polish city. from Krakow.

The region’s industry is closely integrated with Germany. Large quantities of goods from Hungary and Slovakia and further southeast were also passed on to Germany via the affected Czech and Austrian borders.

“We told Charles Michel about it and asked for help,” Babis said at a televised press conference.

“The conditions for our drivers are very strict. I understand Germany but when the (border) situation reversed in the first wave (of the pandemic), we were very flexible. We can’t knock out international freight, manufacturing and other production. “

The Czech Republic reported 12,486 new cases of infection on Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 8, and the country’s health minister warned hospitals across the country may overflow in two to three weeks unless trends change.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Edited by Bernadette Baum


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The Ambassador of Poland, Lithuania in UK asks for support from Belarus – The First News | Instant News

The Polish and Lithuanian ambassadors to Great Britain, in an article published by the British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, asked for the support of the Belarusian state that fell victim to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

Sunday is celebrated as International Day of Solidarity with Belarus, marking six months since protests began against “Europe’s last dictator,” as the article referred to Lukashenko.

“As the Belarusian nation is the victim of a brutal state crackdown following mass protests against the fraudulent presidential election results, we must show our support to the Belarusian people and our gratitude for their courage and strong will,” Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki and Lithuanian Ambassador Besar Renatas Norkus co-wrote with Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in an article published on Sunday.

They recalled that in the six months that had passed since the fraudulent presidential election, Belarusians from all regions and walks of life continued to demand democracy and freedom, showing their perseverance and courage.

“Protesters who are peaceful, battered and injured, remain against the ruthless dictatorship that has used unprecedented violence and police brutality,” the article wrote.

“One of the strong symbols of the Belarusian struggle is the white-red-and-white flag. Any protester who carries this – the flag representing independent Belarus – can be fined, arrested or even beaten. They are punished simply for expressing their desire to fight towards a normal country and democracy, which respects the human rights of its citizens, “write the authors.

“As a European and international community, we must not turn a blind eye to Belarusian suffering, especially since we had a similar experience three decades ago. Just as Europe united to defeat communism 30 years ago, it must lead the way now and show solidarity with the Belarusian people who are strive for a fair and democratic process in their country, “said Rzegocki, Norkus and Eyal.

They point out that just as Poland 40 years ago started a series of revolutions that ended Soviet rule in Central and Eastern Europe and paved the way for democracy in the region, Belarus in August 2020 embarked on a process that cannot be stopped or revoked. They argue that the West should invest in this change and provide support to Belarus, no matter how long.

The authors of the article note that Poland and Lithuania have shown that they are ready to take the lead in defending democratic Belarus. They pointed to the “Solidarity with Belarus” plan announced by Poland and the support provided by the two countries for oppressed Belarusians, medical assistance for victims of violence, assistance for students and scientists, including visa facilitation.

They also pointed out that on the initiative of several member states, including Poland and Lithuania, the European Union adopted three packages of sanctions against nearly 100 people responsible for human rights abuses and seven entities supporting Lukashenko’s regime. In addition, the EU provided EUR 24 million in support to civil society and presented the EU’s economic plan for Belarusian Democrats with specific and long-term comprehensive support for the country.

Rzegocki, Norkus and Eyal also write that Poland, Lithuania and Britain are among the most outspoken supporters of Belarusian civil society and independent media.

“Today, as strong as ever, we condemn the use of force. We call on the Belarusian authorities to refrain from further acts of violence against their own people and to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained unjustly. On this important day, we are stands with Belarus, “they wrote.


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