Indeed, binding European funds with clear commitments from recipient countries sounds like a good idea. The big problem of a number of European policies and institutes is precisely the lack of an enforcement mechanisms, for example real penalties, which could help as a correction to a “misbehaving” member state.
The VAT base in Poland has its weaknesses due to both domestic and EU polices. National authorities overuse reduced rates, making the VAT system too complicated and problematic for businesses while a zero rate on intra-EU trade incentivizes fraud.
The Swedish think tank Timbro has presented its “Authoritarian Populism Index”. The index “aims to shed light on whether populism poses a long-term threat to European liberal democracies” (it includes the EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, and Montenegro)
Creating robotic Twitter accounts which generate automatic content on a selected topic became one of the most useful tools in the Kremiln’s disinformation propaganda. Over 80% of Russia-language tweets and almost half the English-language tweets on the NATO presence in Eastern Europe is created by pro-Kremiln robotic accounts.
Despite the craziness of the whole situation, this affair should not be underestimated. Given the escalating relations between Russia and Poland, it is not a very wise move for Warsaw to open another battlefront with Germany. If Poland should hold its positions against Russia, it needs as many strong allies as it can get.
On July 26, 2017, Marek Tatala, Vice-President of the Civil Development Forum, spoke at the U.S. Helsinki Commission briefing about democracy in Central & Eastern Europe, which was organized in Washington D.C. In his speech, Tatala emphasized challenges to democracy and rule of law in Poland, including independence of judiciary.
Poles do not know how much and on what the Polish state spends their money. Meanwhile, the structure and size of public spending have a direct impact on their daily lives by influencing the level of taxation and the availability of public services.
The European think tank network EPICENTER has published the second edition of The Nanny State Index, an indicator of state paternalism in the European Union. The index evaluates restrictiveness of regulations governing the sale and consumption of food, soft drinks, alcohol, tobacco, and e-cigarettes in 28 EU countries in 2016.
For over three decades, the position of the Constitutional Tribunal seemed to be solidly grounded in the Polish institutional landscape and the pluralistic public discourse. However, with the recent demolition of the Tribunal, we are faced with an end of an era.
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.