Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 301

Posts Tagged ‘Poland’

Tolstoy, Causes, Poland and the Aegean

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 aprile 2019

On 29 May 2018 the Batory Foundation and ESI published a joint report on the rule of law in Poland. We made a concrete recommendation: that the European Commission take Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to challenge its Law on the Supreme Court, which violated core principles of the legal order of the European Union. On 2 July 2018 the European Commission started the procedure which led to Poland being taken to the CJEU in September. The court issued an interim decision to stop implementation of the law. The Polish government withdrew its changes. It was a victory for the rule of law.On 22 March 2019 the Batory Foundation and ESI published a second report on the rule of law in Poland. We made another concrete recommendation: “the European Commission needs to take Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as soon as possible for infringement of the EU’s fundamental values and principles, focusing on disciplinary procedures and the executive’s control over judges. The case is strong, and the need is great.” We argued that the system of disciplining judges violated core principles on which the legal order of the European Union is based:
“A Polish judge given a sensitive case, perhaps a business deal involving members of the governing party or a criminal case the government has strong views about, is not “protected against external interventions or pressure liable to impair her independent judgment”, which is what the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg requires of all courts in the EU. Polish ministers of justice, in this or any future government, can threaten, pressure and punish judges. New disciplinary procedures make this all too easy. And it is already happening.”
We added a legal opinion to make a tight argument for another infringement procedure. We presented our proposals to European officials and in the European Parliament in Brussels. We sent a newsletter to 36,000 readers. We sent another newsletter in Polish, a first for ESI.Then we learned that the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Poland. Its press release on 3 April stated:”The new disciplinary regime undermines the judicial independence of Polish judges by not offering necessary guarantees to protect them from political control, as required by the Court of Justice of the European Union … the Commission is of the opinion that Poland failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 19 of the Treaty on European Union read in connection with Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which enshrine a right to an effective remedy before an independent and impartial court. Polish law allows to subject ordinary court judges to disciplinary investigations, procedures and ultimately sanctions, on account of the content of their judicial decisions.” (by European Stability Initiative (ESI)

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Poland’s most dangerous politician – Juncker’s legacy

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 30 marzo 2019

Zbigniew Ziobro, Poland’s minister of justice, is not a household name across Europe today. He should be. For if Ziobro’s vision and policies prevail in Poland the European Union will soon face an existential crisis. Zbigniew Ziobro will have secured a form of Pol-exit. While his country would not formally leave the EU it would break up its legal unity from within.
Polish courts are under siege. A Polish judge given a sensitive case, perhaps a business deal involving members of the governing party or a criminal case the government has strong views about, is not “protected against external interventions or pressure liable to impair her independent judgment”, which is what the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg requires of all courts in the EU. Polish ministers of justice, in this or any future government, can threaten, pressure and punish judges. New disciplinary procedures make this all too easy. And it is already happening.It does not take a law degree to understand what is at stake. Across Europe national courts accept the judgements of courts in other member states. Judges (must) assume that courts across the EU operate according to common values and principles set out in the European Union treaty and in its Charter of Fundamental Rights. Once judges across the EU have reason to doubt whether courts in any member state provide effective judicial protection, the legal order on which the EU rests collapses. This would cause a crisis far deeper than Brexit.
Zbigniew Ziobro was born in 1970. He studied law in Krakow. In 2001 he became one of the founders of the Law and Justice (PiS) party. In 2005 he became minister of justice for the first time. Since 2015 he has been a lead architect and the biggest beneficiary of his governments’ “judicial reforms”

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Rule of law in Poland: MEPs to check situation on the ground

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 19 settembre 2018

Civil Liberties Committee MEPs will be in Poland from Wednesday to Friday this week to assess the rule of law and respect for fundamental values. This delegation will meet representatives of the Polish government and judiciary, Poland’s ombudsman, and representatives of other authorities, organisations and stakeholders to gather insights into the latest developments as regards the rule of law in Poland. Meetings are also scheduled with media representatives and women’s rights activists. The visit takes place in the context of ongoing rule of law dialogue between the EU General Affairs Council and Polish authorities, begun in June, on the basis of EU Treaty Article 7.1. This is the first time that this procedure has been used with respect to an EU member state.

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Fraunhofer opens new project center for lightweight automotive construction

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 10 settembre 2018

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft opened its inaugural project center at the Opole University of Technology in Poland. The newly established research platform goes by the name of Fraunhofer Project Center for Advanced Lightweight Technologies (ALighT) and is the fruit of a partnership between the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU and the Opole University of Technology. This project center unites both partners’ expertise in the development of production processes, new design ideas and pricing strategies for the manufacture of lightweight hybrid components, in particular for the automotive industry.
Lightweight construction is one of the greatest challenges facing the automotive industry. Electric motors and hybrid engines increase vehicle weight, which must be compensated by lightweight components. Lightweight materials and innovative processes can help achieve a decisive reduction in fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and production costs. In order to support automakers in reaching these ambitious goals, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Opole University of Technology have joined forces to set up the Fraunhofer Project Center for Advanced Lightweight Technologies on the university’s campus. The new Fraunhofer project center was officially opened in the presence of: Poland’s Deputy Prime phD Minister Jarosław Gowin; Marcin Ociepa, permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology; Fraunhofer President Prof. Reimund Neugebauer; Arkadiusz Wiśniewski, Mayor of Opole; Prof. Marek Tukiendorf, Rector of the Opole University of Technology; Prof. Welf-Guntram Drossel, managing director of the Fraunhofer IWU; and Prof. Lothar Kroll, Division Director at Fraunhofer IWU and Managing Director of the Fraunhofer Project Center ALighT. (font: Fraunhofer)

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Rule of law in Poland: MEPs to monitor Commission’s work on Article 7

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 9 marzo 2018

Parliament will closely monitor the European Commission’s follow-up work on the situation of the rule of law in Poland.Following the Commission’s decision to trigger Article 7 of the EU Treaty to determine whether Poland is at risk of a serious breach of EU values, Civil Liberties MEPs have elected the Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) as the standing LIBE Rapporteur in view of the consent procedure. Moraes will be responsible for monitoring and reporting back to Parliament on the work of the Commission and the Council. “This is not about criticism of Poland but about us demanding that the rights accorded to Polish citizens by their membership of the European Union are protected. It is crucial to ensure that the Parliament continues to monitor the Commission’s assessment of whether there has been a clear breach of EU fundamental principles and values”, Moraes said.”We need a clear and unambiguous position, from the Parliament, the Commission and Council: the rule of law must be upheld in all EU countries”, he added.On 20 December, the European Commission proposed activating Article 7 (1) of the EU Treaty. Parliament backed on 1 March the Commission’s proposal, calling on the Council to swiftly determine whether Poland is at risk of a serious breach of EU values and if so, to propose solutions. The European Parliament would have to give its consent and the Civil Liberties Committee would be in charge of initiating such a procedure.

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First Abortion Drone flight a success, women in Poland receive medical abortions

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 28 giugno 2015

abortionThe Abortion Drone departed from Germany and landed at the opposite side of the river in Slubice, Poland. While the drones were crossing the German/Polish border, the German Police tried to intervene but the drone pilots were able to safely land the drones at the Polish side. Two Polish women swallowed the abortion pills that were delivered to them by the drones. The German police confiscated the drone controllers and personal iPads. They pressed criminal charges but it is totally unclear on what grounds. The medicines were provided on prescription by a doctor and both Poland and Germany are part of Schengen.
The current restrictive Polish abortion abortion law creates social injustice and affects especially the women without financial means or information.
According to the World Health organisation “In countries where induced abortion is legally highly restricted and/or unavailable, safe abortion has frequently become the privilege of the rich, while poor women have little choice but to resort to unsafe providers, causing deaths and morbidities that become the social and financial responsibility of the public health system” and “Laws and policies on abortion should protect women’s health and their human rights. Regulatory, policy and programmatic barriers that hinder access to and timely provision of safe abortion care should be removed.”
Germany, a country with 80 million population and one of the lowest abortion rates in the world (together with Belgium and the Netherlands) had around 99700 abortions in 2014 according to the German National Statistics bureau.The official number of abortions in Poland, a country with 38 million inhabitants, is only 744. If the abortion rate in Poland is as low as in Germany, in reality at least 48000 underground abortions take place in Poland every year!! Probably this number is much higher, as there is a lack of appropriate sexual education and accessible contraceptive services. Estimates are that at in reality least 5 times more, or 240000 abortions are done in Poland (44 per 1000 women in child bearing age have an abortion every year in Poland compared to 7 in Germany) There is also an urgent need for compulsory non-biased sexual education and easy access to all forms of contraceptives, including sterilization (which is also prohibited in Poland).
The medicines used for a medical abortion, mifepristone and misoprostol, have been on the list of essential medicines of the WHO since 2005 and are available in Germany and almost all other European countries. However this medicine is still not registered in Poland. Scientific research by the World health Organisation has shown that medical abortion can easily be done by women themselves at home without supervision by health professionals. A medical abortion has the same health impact as a spontaneous miscarriage. Usually women themselves without additional medical supervision handle a miscarriage. In Poland, a pregnant woman cannot be subjected to punishment for illegal abortion or for any other action leading to a miscarriage.For pregnancies of up to 9 weeks (63 days) a medical abortion is done:
1- A woman swallows 1 tablet of 200 mg Mifepristone
2- 24 hours later the woman puts 4 tablets (800 μg) of misoprostol under the tongue (sublingual).
Even women who would be allowed to have an abortion under the restrictive law, are refused treatment by doctors and hospitals such as the case of the 14 years old raped girl P, who was denied access to safe and legal abortion services due to harassment and intimidation by hospital workers, the police and others. Alicja Tysiac suffered severe health consequences and won the case against the Polish Government In European Court of Human rights for denying a her a access to a lawful abortion, but she is still affected by this.
Women in Poland are furthermore denied the possibility to benefit from scientific advances since medical abortion, one of the essential medicines of the Wold Health Organisation, is not registered in Poland. Restrictive abortion laws like the one in Poland are violating international human rights agreements such as the right to health. The World Health Organisation’s definition of health is: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

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Abortion reality in Germany and Poland

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 giugno 2015

Abortions-PhotoAccording to the World Health organisation “In countries where induced abortion is legally highly restricted and/or unavailable, safe abortion has frequently become the privilege of the rich, while poor women have little choice but to resort to unsafe providers, causing deaths and morbidities that become the social and financial responsibility of the public health system” and “Laws and policies on abortion should protect women’s health and their human rights. Regulatory, policy and programmatic barriers that hinder access to and timely provision of safe abortion care should be removed.” Germany, a country with 80 million population and one of the lowest abortion rates in the world (together with Belgium and the Netherlands) had around 99700 abortions in 2014 according to the German National Statistics bureau. The official number of abortions in Poland, a country with 38 million inhabitants, is only 744. If the abortion rate in Poland is as low as in Germany, in reality at least 48000 underground abortions take place in Poland every year!! Probably this number is much higher, as there is a lack of appropriate sexual education and accessible contraceptive services. Estimates are that at in reality least 5 times more, or 240000 abortions are done in Poland (44 per 1000 women in child bearing age have an abortion every year in Poland compared to 7 in Germany)
The medicines used for a medical abortion, mifepristone and misoprostol, have been on the list of essential medicines of the WHO since 2005 and are available in Germany and almost all other European countries. However this medicine is still not registered in Poland. Scientific research by the World health Organisation has shown that medical abortion can easily be done by women themselves at home without supervision by health professionals. A medical abortion has the same health impact as a spontaneous miscarriage. Usually women themselves without additional medical supervision handle a miscarriage. In Poland, a pregnant woman cannot be subjected to punishment for illegal abortion or for any other action leading to a miscarriage.For pregnancies of up to 9 weeks (63 days) a medical abortion is done:
1- A woman swallows 1 tablet of 200 mg Mifepristone
2- 24 hours later the woman can put 4 tablets (800 μg) of misoprostol under the tongue (sublingual). (photo abortion)

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Pierre Dutilleul, new FEP President

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 11 giugno 2014

20 Più libri più liberi 2009 foto MatteoMignaniThe Federation of European Publishers met in Vilnius on 10th June and elected Pierre Dutilleul, Director of External and Interprofessional Relations at Editis, the second largest French publishing group, as new President of the Federation. Mr Dutilleul, who has been working for more than 25 years at Editis, says, “We shouldn’t forget that publishing is a service industry and hence a creation industry, and, as the people in charge, we have to locate, ease, attract and develop the loyalty of those talents which makes the book, even in times of crisis, a priority good.” The assembly also elected Henrique Mota as Vice-President. Mota is Director of the Portuguese Publishing House Principia. The Treasurer is Rudy Van Schoonbeek, CEO of Vrijdag Uitgevers in Antwerp, Belgium. The outgoing President Piotr Marciszuk, CEO of Stentor Publishing in Poland, was thanked for all his achievements for FEP. An open meeting discussed digitisation of libraries’ collections and lending of ebooks

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World Jewish Congress welcomes Sejm opinion to keep kosher slaughter legal in Poland

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 4 aprile 2014

World Jewish CongressNEW YORK/BRUSSELS – The World Jewish Congress welcomed a statement by the Polish Parliament, the Sejm, saying that kosher slaughter of animals is permitted in Poland if performed for the needs of Jewish communities. Last July, the Sejm had voted against a government proposal that would have granted a general exemption for kosher and halal slaughter from the requirement to stun animals prior to killing them.“The Sejm did the right thing by clarifying the murky legal situation of kosher slaughter in Poland and by backing shechita for local communities’ consumption,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “We hope this statement will help to put to rest the controversy over shechita – which  hold to be a crucial religious freedom.”The Sejm said it still forbids kosher slaughter of animals for commercial and export purposes, according to media reports. For-export kosher meat was a worth US$ 500 million a year in Poland before the ban came into effect last year.  Last year, the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland appealed to the Constitutional Tribunal to keep shechita legal in Poland, and the Sejm’s statement is one of three opinions to be considered by the high court soon.

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Drugs: MEPs want harmful “legal highs” to be withdrawn quickly from the EU market

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 15 marzo 2014

drogheEU rules enabling harmful psychoactive substances, also known as “legal highs”, to be quickly withdrawn from the EU market were voted by the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday. MEPs want to protect the health and safety of young people from these substances, while ensuring that trade for industrial and commercial uses is not hindered. Criminals who breach the ban on severe risk substances could face up to 10 years in jail.
The proposed EU rules aim to tackle the emergence and rapid spread of new psychoactive substances (NPS), which imitate the effects of illicit drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine. More than 300 new substances have been detected in Europe since 1997 and the problem has worsened in recent years: the number of NPS identified between 2009 and 2012 tripled (from 24 to 73 a year). Last year, on average one new substance was detected every week in the EU. The current EU system for banning the so-called “legal highs” is not fit to respond to this growing problem.
A 2011 Eurobarometer survey showed that 5% of young people in the EU have used such substances at least once in their life, with a peak of 16% in Ireland, and close to 10% in Poland, Latvia and the UK.

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Greenpeace makes closing comment on COP19

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 25 novembre 2013

Português: Greenpeace promove atividades pela ...

Português: Greenpeace promove atividades pela Semana de Mobilização pelo Clima. Na Feira dos Importados, integrante do Greenpeace faz manifestação equipada com uma placa solar presa a um capacete capaz de gerar energia suficiente para acender lâmpadas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warsaw, As the gavel sounds today at the official closing of the UN Climate Negotiations, Martin Kaiser, Head of Delegation for Greenpeace International said:”The comatose nature of these negotiations sends a clear signal that increased civil disobedience against new coal plants and oil rigs is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change. Neither the industrialized countries nor the big developing nations were willing to move forward in offering concrete measures to reduce their emissions, or even agree on a concrete date for doing so. Apart from a pittance for the adaptation fund, the rich countries did not pledge any money to supporting developing countries in their efforts to tackle climate change and to build up climate friendly economies.It is irresponsible of the governments of Poland, US, China, India and EU to pretend to act against global warming and catastrophic climate change while agreeing on baby steps at COP19.The results of this climate conference shows that Greenpeace and other NGOs did the right thing in leaving this conference.A global treaty in Paris won’t be possible without a systemic paradigm shift away from fossil fuels and nuclear power, and towards renewable energy in the EU, the US, China and India.”

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Reaction to UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-Moon and Poland PM Donald Tusk speeches at COP19– Greenpeace

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 novembre 2013

Warsaw

Warsaw (Photo credit: TobyA)

 In response to statements made today by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and Polish Prime Minster, Donald Tusk, at the UN Climate Change Negotiations in Warsaw, Maciek Muskat, Director of Greenpeace Poland, addressing Tusks’s introductory speech said:
“Tusk claims to hear the consensus among climate scientists about the seriousness of climate change, but he fails to listen. Scientists say we must leave most of the known reserves of fossil fuels in the ground and that there is barely space for new coal plants in our carbon budget. Prime Minister Tusk, however, seems to live in a fantasy land where all technology can continue to be used in a climate afflicted world – including coal. The coal addiction of the Polish Prime Minister is the reason for his government’s blocking European climate goals. This is throttling the chances of having any meaningful international deal, and hurting the opportunity to pull Poland into a future based on renewables. It should be clear that in order to make the EU a true leader and push the COP presidency towards bigger ambitions in 2014, PM Tusk must stop being ‘The Godfather’ of coal interests in Poland.”

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Polish Environment Minister sacked in the middle of UN climate negotiations

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 novembre 2013

warsaw overview

warsaw overview (Photo credit: Nikos Roussos)

 Reacting to the firing of the Polish Environment Minister, Marcin Korolec in the middle of the UN climate negotiations in Warsaw, Maciej Muskat, Director of Greenpeace Poland
Replacing the Minister of the Environment during COP19 is further proof of Prime Minister Tusk’s lack of a clear intention to drive the climate negotiations towards a clear timeline to commit to meaningful climate action and phase out fossil fuels. While introducing the new Environment Minister, Prime Minister Tusk justified the change by a need to accelerate the exploitation of shale gas in Poland.The new Minister of Environment, Maciej Grabowski highlighted in his short opening speech the development of shale gas in Poland as his priority. In relation to his background on environmental issues, he has mentioned his previous interest in the exploration of hydrocarbons. Marcin Korolec will stay as the plenipotentiary of the Polish government to the climate negotiations.

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World Jewish Congress mourns passing of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, ‘architect of Polish democracy’ and ‘friend of Israel and the Jewish people’

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 29 ottobre 2013

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has praised Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland’s first prime minister after the fall of Communism, as one of the architects of the modern, democratic Poland and as a friend of Israel and the Jewish people. Mazowiecki died on Monday at the age of 86. “Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s silent but effective diplomacy ensured that his country’s transition was successful. Together with Lech Walesa, he laid the foundations for what is today the strongest country both economically and politically in Central and Eastern Europe,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.Lauder highlighted that the Mazowiecki government re-established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1990 and helped to open Polish airports for Jews leaving the then Soviet Union. He was also part of the group that successfully fought for the repeal of the 1975 United Nations General Assembly Resolution that “determined that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”.“The Jews are grateful to Tadeusz Mazowiecki for his staunch defense of their rights as Poland emerged from Communism, and for his help in resolving the crisis of the Carmelite convent on the grounds of Auschwitz in the early 1990s. He will also be remembered for speaking out against anti-Semitism clearly and unequivocally and exposing war crimes as special rapporteur for human rights in the former Yugoslavia. May his memory be for a blessing,” Lauder declared.

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World Jewish Congress welcomes support of Polish bishops for overturning of religious slaughter ban

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 1 ottobre 2013

NEW YORK – The support of the Polish Catholic Bishops’ Conference (KEP) for the campaign to overturn the ban on religious slaughter in Poland was “highly significant and warmly welcome,” World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder said on Monday in New York. “We appreciate this statement, and we will hope that it will lead Polish legislators to revert the wrong decision they took in July,” Lauder declared. He thanked the Catholic Church leaders for speaking out on the issue.
In a declaration on 25 September 2013, the Presidium of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate pointed out “that throughout our long history Polish legislation never questioned the right to religious freedom, including the right to maintain one’s own traditions and customs.” The bishops criticized a “lack of consistency of legislators with respect to two conflicting laws, the law on the protection of animals on the one hand and the law governing the relationship between the Polish state and Jewish communities on the other hand. The same problem was highlighted by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, which has applied to the Constitutional Court over the ban on kosher and halal slaughter.The KEP Presidium said that it shared “the view that Jewish religious communities and believers of Islam are entitled to preserve and implement their fundamental rights to freedom of religion and worship. It is their right to preserve their customs, including the ritual slaughter of animals.”At a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome earlier this month, the WJC leaders had raised the religious slaughter ban in Poland and asked the Catholic leader to speak out against it. The pope expressed concern about the ban and promised the Vatican would look into the matter.

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Ronald S. Lauder: Europe’s New Jewish Question

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 30 luglio 2013

NEW YORK – In March 1936, Poland’s Sejm (the lower house of parliament) almost succeeded in outlawing shechita (slaughter according to Jewish law). Only the Polish Constitution prevented an outright ban. Had the majority of legislators gotten their way, many of Poland’s 3.2 million Jews would have gone meatless.A few days ago, the ghosts of the past returned to the Sejm, when deputies rejected a government bill intended to keep religious slaughter legal. Even many of the bill’s supporters (including Prime Minister Donald Tusk) were concerned not with defending the rights of religious minorities, but rather with protecting meatpacking jobs.The vote was an assault on freedom of religion that flies in the face of Article 53 of the Polish Constitution, which states that “Freedom of conscience and religion shall be ensured to everyone” and specifies that the “performing of rites” is protected. It was also a slap in the face for Poland’s Jewish community, which has been part of the country’s social landscape for more than a thousand years, and which, despite the Holocaust, has witnessed a remarkable renaissance over the past two decades. Indeed, Poland, with its rich Jewish heritage and history, was believed to be among the most fertile environments for a Jewish revival after the fall of communism.Yet the Sejm’s decision raises the question: Do Poles really want Jewish life to return to their country? Or do they see Poland’s Jewish legacy only as something that benefits their tourism and food industries? Not every Jew keeps kosher, and some are vegetarians. Hence, not every Jew relies on kosher meat. But almost every Jew will defend the right of others to live according to Jewish dietary laws. Shechita is an indispensable, non-negotiable part of Jewish religious life.Today, Poland’s Jewish population numbers only a few thousand. Everyone knows why. That, of course, makes it easier for today’s politicians to ban shechita. Such populist measures are vote winners. The civil rights of small religious minorities do not matter much politically; the perceived rights of animals (and economic motivations) do.But was this decision really motivated by concern for animal welfare? For some deputies, it undoubtedly was; but others discovered their love of animals only when it seemed popular to do so. As The Economist noted succinctly, “Poland is not a country hitherto known for championing animal rights.” Indeed, it is hypocritical that hunting for sport and unsupervised home slaughtering continue to be permitted, whereas shechita, which is carried out by experienced people according to well-established procedures, is not.In recent months, Polish politicians became agitated about “ritual slaughter.” Granted, the term sounds archaic; but the Torah is the first systematic legislation that forbids cruelty to animals and mandates that they be treated with consideration and respect. Those who argue that ritual slaughter is “foreign” to Polish culture not only know nothing about their country’s history; they also exploit and reinforce anti-Semitic sentiment.Poland is not the only place where established religious practices are being questioned. In other Western countries, such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, heated debates about religious slaughter and circumcision have taken place recently.A year ago, a German judge ruled that religious circumcision was a cruel practice that inflicted bodily harm on boys and was therefore illegal – a view supported by many commentators in the media. But German politicians strove to find a solution that accommodated the concerns of the Jewish and Muslim minorities. They demonstrated real leadership. Within weeks, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government proposed legislation that put religious circumcision on a solid legal basis, with the support of most members of the Bundestag.In the Netherlands, a covenant was signed that allowed religious slaughter. It received the backing of the legislature, which had previously favored a ban.Likewise, in Poland, following a Constitutional Court ruling in November 2012 that struck down on technical grounds a provision permitting religious slaughter, the government promised that the practice would remain legal. Yet when legislators voted on the government’s bill earlier this month, following a sometimes-hysterical debate on ritual slaughter in the media, three dozen deputies from Tusk’s Civic Platform, the largest faction in the Sejm, opposed it.By taking this step, Poland has become the ringleader for those in Europe who want to deny Jewish citizens the right to practice their religion freely. If not halted, such measures could call into question the Jewish presence on the Continent in the longer term. Yet Tusk has ruled out a reversal of the ban, and one of his ministers asked the Jewish and Muslim communities to challenge it before the Constitutional Court.The relationship between Central and Eastern European countries and the Jewish people has always been characterized by both triumph and tragedy. In recent years, it has been strengthening, especially in Poland. Encouraging developments have taken place, such as the construction of a new state-of-the-art Jewish Museum in Warsaw.A few months ago, I participated in the March of the Living at Auschwitz. Many Jews with European roots who now live in America or Israel were in attendance. As usual, it was a bittersweet experience. For my part, and for many years now, I have tried to highlight the sweet.But now I am left wondering: Can the Jewish renaissance in the heart of Europe continue if essential elements of Jewish life are declared illegal? Or will Europe’s leaders stand up for the civil rights of their Jewish compatriots?As Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, recently remarked, one cannot be proud of the Jews of yesterday and tell the Jews of today that their religious practices are no longer welcome. The Jewish heritage is part of Europe’s heritage. It should be protected, not restricted.

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Lauder: ‘A bitter blow for Jewish life in Poland’

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 14 luglio 2013

NEW YORK / BRUSSELS The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has reacted with “immense disappointment” at the decision by the Sejm, Poland’s legislature, to ban on religious slaughter of animals in the country. “This decision a slap in the face of Jews and Muslims alike. It is a bitter blow for all those who undertook great strides to bring about a renaissance of Jewish life in Poland. I am wondering what sort of message those who voted in favor of the ban wanted to send to their non-Christian citizens,” Lauder said on Friday.The WJC president added: “Jews who observe the Kashrut [Jewish dietary laws] have reason ask themselves if they are still welcome in Poland. Today, the country that once had the largest Jewish community in the world has become the first European country since World War II to ban religious slaughter.“In the Sejm debate, some speakers even claimed that Shechita was foreign to Poland’s culture, a notion that is both upsetting and wrong. I wonder if the lawmakers are aware of the far-reaching implications their decision is going to have, and I very much hope that they will reconsider and repeal this ban soon,” he pointed out.The prohibition of kosher slaughter in Poland meant that observant Jews would from now on have to rely on expensive imported meat in the future, Ronald S. Lauder noted. Given that Poland was a major exporter of kosher and halal meat, including to Israel, he predicted that the ban would also adversely affect Jewish and Muslim communities outside the country.
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

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New Breed of European Shoppers Outpacing USA in Use of Technology

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 21 gennaio 2012

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London. A new breed of ‘Xtreme shoppers’ has been identified, amongst whom the European ones are outpacing their American counterparts when it comes to use of technology for shopping. Over nine out of ten European Xtreme shoppers (95 per cent) like to research products online, compared to just over six out of ten of the American Xtreme shoppers (66 per cent). This is despite a higher percentage of the US shoppers agreeing that shopping online is more efficient (90 per cent and 80 per cent respectively).These are the findings of a recent study by GfK into the Future of Shopper Marketing, which was carried out across the France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Spain, the UK and the USA. Alison Chaltas at GfK explains, “Xtreme shoppers are a new segment of consumers defined by their specific shopping attitudes and behaviours across all demographic groups. They are present across all seven of the countries in this study, accounting for over two out of five of the European consumers, and just under that in the US. More importantly, they appear to be a rapidly expanding segment that is largely made up of 25-44 year olds in full time employment – a prime target group for many retailers.” Born out of the combination of a belt-tightening economy and readily available technology, Xtreme shoppers show increasing levels of value-oriented shopping behaviour. The European ones are currently leading the way in use of the internet for researching and buying products, with three-quarters saying they are using the internet more than before to research products (75 per cent), compared to just over two-thirds of US Xtremes (68 per cent). Direct buying over the web is also increasing amongst this segment – with the European contingent leading the way here too, with seven out of ten using the internet more than before to shop for products (70 per cent). In Poland and the UK, in particular, three quarters or more Xtremes are increasing their use of the internet to purchase products, while the US tails the chart alongside Spain at 62 per cent – but well ahead of Germany at 52 per cent. Chaltas states, “There is clear indication that the trends we are seeing are set to rise, with the Xtreme shopper segment increasingly adopting their mobile phones and tablets to help them shop. This is especially strong in Russia and Spain, where a third of shoppers are using their mobiles more than ever to shop

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