When, back in April 2015, I had the honour and pleasure of setting up NowoczesnaPL with Ryszard Petru and 19 other eminent individuals, we didn’t expect that Law and Justice (PiS) would be able to ruin Poland to the extent that it has. For ruining the country is exactly what it is doing.
Including new member states to ensure further cohesion in wider Europe, while at the same time continuing to address inequality, racism, and nationalism are the pathways that should be followed for the EU to avoid less desirable scenarios.
There are liberal democratic parties such as moderately conservative Civic Platform (formerly led by Donald Tusk) or liberal Nowoczesna. They can base their voter’s value proposition on individualism yet their resources are far from Kaczynski’s party. There are other players, too.
On the whole, CEE countries – including Poland – still positively stand out in this respect among its European peers. Yet, this might soon come to an end as Poland’s governing party (LAw and Justice) is planning to introduce significant restrictions on Sunday trade.
Numerous needed reforms and laws guaranteeing and protecting equal rights and freedoms have not been passed in Latvia due to lack of political will or poor public administration (or perhaps both). And in the era of the rise of populism, these advances seem more and more distant and unrealistic.
In some countries (including Poland) parental leave can be fully flexibly divided between both parents. This sounds great, but in reality reinforces gender inequality. Therefore, the Commission has recently proposed the parental leave to become an individual right for mothers and fathers without a transfer of the four months to the other parent.
The government in Warsaw is considered to be one of the most conservative in the EU. In the country with practically no regulations for LGBT+ community, Law and Justice – the ruling party – manages to find the way to limit their rights even further.
On June 3, 2017, the delegates of the Extraordinary Convention of .Nowoczesna have endorsed Paweł Rabiej – the co-founder of .Nowoczesna – as the person who would run for the office of the Warsaw mayor. Thus, .Nowoczesna has become the first party to officially present a candidate.
Last Tuesday, the minister said in the parliament that UNESCO “illegally” added the Polish Białowieża primeval forest to the World Heritage list (sic!). Luckily, Polish activists and the friends of the Białowieża forest from all over the world are still fighting.
Unfortunately, in 2016, the populist Law and Justice government decided to reverse the reform – the pseudo-economic rationale was the infamous lump of labor fallacy. They wrongly claimed that lowering the retirement age would be a perfect tool to fight youth unemployment – retiring seniors would (in their opinion) leave their jobs for young Poles.