Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Tough Task for Tusk

The government of Donald Tusk has been firmly holding power in Poland for the last six years. British Economist wrote that now the ship and its captain are in trouble. What is going on? After all, a year ago, the same Economist admired and praised his achievements in the development of the "Green Island" (Polish propaganda cliché name of the country).

According to the magazine, under the leadership of Tusk, Poland has become a "rising star of the European Union." He managed to build a close and warm relationship with Germany, and retained his personal reputation and the reputation of his party Civic Platform (CP) that stayed away from the corruption scandals that have become the bane of existence for many countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The emotional tone of the article and the political focus of the analysis indicate that the material was ordered. It can be concluded that the magazine that describes itself as an economic publication is grist for the mill of the opposition party "Law and Justice" of Jaroslaw Kaczynski. This is not an accident, as Tusk recently announced his intention to run in the parliamentary elections in 2015 as the leader of the party and obtained his third mandate.

In addition, the author's lack of professionalism is obvious from the absence of a discussion of corruption scandals in the CP. What about the gambling scandal when the chief of the parliamentary club of the party, chairman of the Sejm on public finances Zbigniew Chlebowski and Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki offered a businessman preferences in exchange for the transfer of additional 10 percent of tax from his winning on sports development. Another shameful event for the CP was the scandal with a party member Beate Sawicki who received a bribe of 20,000 dollars to facilitate privatization of a hospital.

In fact, only one paragraph of the article is dedicated to the analysis of the economic conditions in Poland. The magazine notes that recently the Poles have been disappointed by the lack of reforms and sluggish economy. The author only cited the unemployment statistics that rose from 12 percent in 2012 to 13.6 percent in the middle of this year (12.5 percent is the EU average). But all the macroeconomic indicators in Poland (budget deficit of about three percent of GDP, the national debt - 55 percent of GDP, inflation below four percent) are far better than those of their neighbors. Another question is, why? This is because Poland is the main subcontractor of Germany.

If we talk about the failures of Tusk and his government, we have to mention a sharp drop in tax revenue, an increase in the budget deficit, and inefficient development of the infrastructure (the government was unable to access any of the transport corridors in the east-west and north-south).

"Not everyone benefited from our economic growth, and many Poles live below the poverty line. There is no comparison with Europe, since, according to the indicators, in a period of prosperity we live worse than the Greeks during the crisis in their country," wrote a Pole named Krakauer in his article "Are there any countries that are jealous of us?" published on the portal obserwatorpolityczny.pl. Indeed, the minimum wage in Greece (approximately 600 euros) is higher than the minimum wage in Poland (376 euros). "If it does not seem convincing, let many millions of Polish immigrants be objective evidence. This is an irrefutable fact: the number of our citizens has decreased," continued the author. Indeed, Poland faces the issue of population decline. Young Poles immigrate to Western Europe, and only a few of them come back. The number of births is decreasing, while the number of divorces is on the rise. According to the Central Statistical Bureau, this year the number of deaths exceeded the number of births by 21,000 people.

Further, although the macro-economic indicators are still good, contemporary Poland "returned" to Europe formally, says Michal Sutovsky, a Polish politician and member of scientific initiatives. "Along with other countries of Eastern Europe, Poland has become a part of the economic and political margin of the European Union. The country's economy is based on low cost labor and significant unemployment. Poland is highly dependent on the export performance of Germany, it is a subsidiary of the German group of economies and in the long term the "agreement" with Germany could cost Poland dearly," continued Sutovsky. "This will happen when the German trade balance becomes negative, then the function of Poland as a subcontractor for Germany will disappear."

However, we cannot but agree with the Economist that the popularity of the prime minister and his party is declining. This is evidenced by the public opinion polls. In June, a survey has shown that if parliamentary elections were to be held today, 26 percent of voters would support the opposition. Only 23 percent would vote in favor of the ruling party. The magazine noted that in June the party lost the elections in the largest Baltic city of Elblag, and that is up for a referendum on the resignation of the Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. In addition, according to the agency TNS Polska, the government's work today is negatively assessed by approximately 70 percent of Poles, while 63 percent do not approve of the prime minister. These numbers can be explained by the proposal to increase the retirement age and the support of the law on same-sex cohabitation that was not adopted by the Sejm.
The latter circumstance is the main reason for a pending split within the party. Minister of Justice Jaroslaw Gowin is ready to compete with Tusk for the party leadership and even create his own party. According to the Economist, this could cause the majority a loss in the parliament. The Polish media noted that if Tusk has a rival, it is not Gowin, but Grzegorz Schetyna, the former Marshal of the Sejm, who acted as president for a few months in 2010 following the death of Lech Kaczynski. However, he is not Tusk's competition in the upcoming elections.

Tusk's image in the country has slightly faded, but it is supported by the European Union allocating billions of dollars for the "European integration" to their favorite. Jaroslaw Kaczynski's conservative camp in this sense is much more unpredictable, and it will not rush to join the Eurozone.

Lyuba Lyulko