Tag: Poland

The Poles are leaving the Church- World Reviews
Europe

The Poles are leaving the Church- World Reviews

The Church: The memories of the squares full of young faithful in Poland, during the World Youth Days of Pope Wojtyla, are now a distant memory. Cardinals, bishops, and parish priests fear a future of empty churches abandoned by young people in Poland. The great pope Giovanni Paolo II country, an anti-Nazi partisan and later the first “global pope” and leader of the non-violent global revolution against communism. That was unveiled by the most authoritative and unsuspected source, the Statistics Institute of the Polish Catholic Church (ISKK) confirming the data of a growing trend of requests for apostasy, especially among young and old in the educated European urban middle classes. Just 9-9.2 percent of young Poles say they believe in the Catholic Institution or have a good opinion of it.

It is a historical turning point that will mark 2021 in the largest eastern member state of the European Union, NATO, and the free world. From the glorious centuries of the Kingdom of Lithuania and Poland and the Polish armies that stopped the Turks at the gates of Vienna, to the brutal partition of Poland between Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary; from criminal aggression and exterminating Nazi occupation in the decades of Communism and after, the Church has always played the role of refuge, critical voice and culture of the Nation and civil society’s protector.

“Notes from Poland” reported that the ISKK started to work on a study and census of Catholics and apostates for the first time since 2010. At that time, there were just 459 requests for apostasy, today polls and investigations reporting by media of every color herald an all-time high. Obtaining apostasy and leaving the Church today has become easy. But a crowdsourced “apostasy map” conducted in early December asking people to share their experiences of leaving the church in various parts of Poland, found that only 6.7% reported having had a difficult time receiving their apostasy certificate, while almost 76% had found it easy.

Just show up at the parish or diocese with an identity document and a baptismal certificate. Accompanying witnesses, contrary to yesterday, are no longer needed. “As far as we know, at the moment, the apostasies are still well below the number of baptisms, but the trend of farewell to the Church is increasing,” says the director of the Institute, Professor Monsignor Wojciech Sadlon. Several sources explain with solid arguments what is happening in Poland. Young people and the modern global and hard-working pro-European urban middle classes are disgusted by the cleric.

Members of the left-wing Spring (Wiosna) party launched an “Apostasy Counter” website to act as a “census of people who have left the church in Poland.” It demands people to email a copy of their apostasy certificate. Their anonymized details and year of apostasy are public on the website. The counter is approaching 1,000 entries, with the most commonly recorded year of apostasy being 2020. Some who have sought apostasy in Poland – where, according to Statistics Poland (GUS), a government agency, 92% of people are Roman Catholics – say that the process is not made easy by the church.

The disappointed faithful reproaches and aspiring apostates are precise: The Church has covered and continues to cover an enormous number of cases of paedophile abuse committed by religious. The institution is a spearhead of the hostile campaign of the national-American sovereign government freely elected and led by the Prawo I Sprawiedlywosc (PIS), Law and Justice, of the historical leader of the right, deputy premier and charismatic number one, an ally of Orbán, towards the struggle of the movement of women against the new laws and constitutional changes that prohibit abortion even in the case of lethal malformations of the foetus. Many Polish faithful have also had enough of the episcopate’s implicit but very perceptible hostility to Pope Francis’ line. The distrust of ecclesiastical institutions is such that it even leads to the false belief that the Church evades taxes.

EU Bloc Might Take Diversion Route Around Hungary Poland Resistance To Covid-19 Recovery Package
Europe

EU Bloc Might Take Diversion Route Around Hungary Poland Resistance To Covid-19 Recovery Package

EU Bloc Might Take Diversion: European leaders might have no choice but to bypass the disgruntled countries Hungary and Poland. Their efforts to get going with the urgent post Covid-19 recovery funds. 

Strangely, both these nations are the biggest beneficiaries of the European subsidies. Yet they are holding the rest of the 25 EU nations to ransom, over an argument that the rule of the law must not be applicable on them anymore. 

The EU bloc has created an autonomous system of judging good governance through the rule of the law, something that the whole bloc has adhered to. However, Hungary and Poland have their reasons to revolt against it. They have indulged in unfair and discriminatory actions against certain ethnic groups in their country. There has been systematic violation of human rights too; something the EU bloc has been vehemently opposed to. 

There has been war of words against the rule of law going on for decades, but to the dismay of both these overtly conservative dictatorial leaders, EU bloc has never succumbed to their political pressure. 

As the situation stands now, there are three more value creating ‘bypass’ routes being discussed. The former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has suggested one. He is a leading liberal in the European Parliament. According to Verhofstadt, the EU bloc could think of launching the recovery fund as a so-called enhanced cooperation among a group of only ‘willing states’ under the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

Going outside the treaty signed with Hungary and Poland. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has suggested a more radical approach of “re-establishing the EU without Hungary and Poland” or implementing the entire recovery package outside the existing treaties via an agreement among the 25 other governments. Nevertheless, any of the suggested deviations will come with legal ramifications.

It is being advised that the 25 European nations that are in tandem with the €1.8 trillion long-term budget and coronavirus recovery fund, should keep their safety net spread out- start the legal drafting work to establish the recovery fund outside the EU framework. But this should be treated as the last resort.

Recovery Fund, risks for Europe after veto of Poland and Hungary
Europe

Recovery Fund, risks for Europe after veto of Poland and Hungary

Risks for Europe: An unprecedented set of European resources (around 1,800 billion euros) risks of being frozen. If the heads of State and Government do not overcome the impasse caused by the veto imposed by Poland and Hungary at the European Council. The crux concerns respect for the rule of law. Poland and Hungary refuse that the disbursement of funds is subordinated to this, which is a founding principle of Europe, explicitly confirmed by a resolution of the EU Parliament. The mechanism provides that if one of the Member States violates the shared basic principles, including the independence of the judiciary from the executive power and freedom of expression, aid can be suspended by majority vote, while the two countries involved would like to unanimity.

The close link between the EU budget and the Recovery Fund.

The deal already for the 2017-2021 multi-year funds is worth 1,074 billion euros. To that, the EU added the 750 billion of the Recovery Fund. If member States not approve the budget by the end of the year, the European Commission cannot start the procedure for placing the 750 billion euros of Next Generation Eu loans. 

The consequence is twofold. 

The payment of the relative sums to be disbursed to the Member States will suffer an inevitable, further delay, and all this can only seriously affect the economies of the Old Continent grappling with the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The other consequence is that, in the absence of the green light to the multi-annual budget of the Union, the European Union must face the economic crisis without a real fund. And in provisional exercise, would loom for the second time in two years. If the beginning of the reference year, the annual budget has not yet been adopted, which becomes inevitable if the Multiannual Financial Framework is not approved, the provisional twelfths regime is triggered. That means the expenditure made monthly by the budget chapter cannot exceed one-twelfth of the appropriations authorized by the budget of the previous year or in the draft budget proposed by the Commission. Then the EU cannot fund any new expenditure. Only a few items of investment will be honored, such as subsidies to farmers, the salaries of Union employees, humanitarian aid, cohesion projects already underway. Instead, rebates for the countries benefiting from it would be suspended. And above all, there would be no funds available for the new Union policies, such as the Green Deal.

The current German presidency is working these days to identify a reasonable compromise that can break the deadlock. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel is a skilled and experienced negotiator. And therefore, an agreement on the wool thread seems still possible. In consideration of the specific interest of the Polish and Hungarian governments in being able to benefit from European funding, 62 and 20 billion respectively, which already in the current expenditure framework they see the two countries beneficiaries of the Union’s resources. The hard-line of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbàn seems to meet the favor of most of their respective public opinions. While the other European countries (starting with the so-called frugal) seem unwilling to give in on an aspect considered an impassable stake. The agreement reached in Brussels after the negotiation marathon, in July 17-21, had deliberately faded on the subject of respect for the rule of law. 

Possible alternatives.

Angela Merkel does not currently contemplate any plans B, should the impasse not be overcome. However, we are discussing possible ways out, starting with the use of “enhanced cooperation,” as suggested by France and the Netherlands. An instrument envisaged by the Treaties but rarely used up to now. Alternatively, the 25 member States could create an intergovernmental agreement to start the executive phase of the Recovery fund, excluding Warsaw and Budapest. But Angela Merkel seems very unwilling to exclude Poland in particular. The European Parliament chaired by David Sassoli is watching over the whole case, and unlikely he could make himself available to step backward on the subject of respect for the rule of law.

Hungary Poland Might Delay Post Pandemic Recovery Aid
Europe

Hungary Poland Might Delay Post Pandemic Recovery Aid

Hungary Poland Might Delay Post Pandemic Recovery: Hungary and Poland are jointly vetoing the accord of the jointly financed economic recovery package for the European Union.  Strangely, they are the biggest beneficiaries of the post Covid package. 

Both the nations have never seen eye-to-eye with the EU on anything. Earlier, there was a tiff over abortion ban that was strongly opposed by the EU bloc on the condition that it amounts to violation of human rights. 

A seven-year budget support was decided upon in July this year.  EU leaders also agreed to support the more needing nations with a robust stimulus program funded by joint debt. However, parts of this accord does need unanimous backing by member states.  Therefore, with Hungry and Poland raising up some kind of red flags, this is only going to hurt other needing nations like Italy or Spain for example. 

The pandemic situation had hit the economy of many EU member countries in bad ways. Most have lost their economic standing and are now finding ways to ensure their people can keep their jobs. Unemployment is a direct result of lack of trade in these countries. Italy and Spain for example, who depend heavily on their tourism related trade have been adversely affected due to second and third wave of the Covid-19 virus infection. 

This week, the EU member state leaders went ahead to sign off on a deal linking funds to the rule of law. Hungary and Poland have opposed the rule of the law from the very beginning. However, this part of the accord only needs an enhanced majority of member states. Further, debt issuance needs unanimity. This necessary money push to fund EU’s budget payments is being curtailed by Hungry and Poland’s resistance. Therefore, this sure shot chance to block the entire package remains a big possibility.

Polish economists feel this kind of resistance could mean investors would look for greener pastures elsewhere in Europe. The so-called ‘rule of the law’ principle is what has been the bone of contention for Hungary and Poland, which feel they are being pulled into autocratic function. But this political mishmash is a dangerous one to be in, because it will only delay the economic recovery help that most of the EU nations are in desperate need of. The result could be catastrophic- with only bureaucrats receiving salaries, some farm subsidies and humanitarian aid flowing into the various economies by the end of 2020. 

European Commission Finds It Tough To Get Poland and Hungary To Toe The Line Over LGBTQ Equal Rights
Europe

European Commission Finds It Tough To Get Poland and Hungary To Toe The Line Over LGBTQ Equal Rights

LGBTQ Equal Rights: Hungary and Poland seems to be hell bent to create an environment of exploitation and discrimination of the L.G.B.T.Q. community. Nevertheless, the European Union bloc is trying to curb this kind of behavior. 

It has now released certain policies to safeguard the fundamental human rights of LGBTQ community. It has been an initiative taken by the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union. As its first initiative, it has listed hate crime, including homophobic speech, on a list of “E.U. crimes”. The same list also contains offenses such as drug trafficking and money laundering.

Through this initiative, the bloc now has more powers to crack down on member nations. The proposal forwarded by the European Commission would also protect same-sex families in all 27 of the bloc’s members, and promises more funding for organizations promoting equality.

The move comes after a month long demonstration in favour of women’s rights has rocked Poland. The country has now put a ban nearly on all abortions. The protests have now extended to bring into the human rights of the LGBTQ community as well. 

Hungry on its part is also trying to muzzle people of the LGBTQ community by pushed its laws to target them, by including a bill that ties an individual’s gender to their sex and chromosomes at birth, restricting later modifications on official documents.

 The commission might find it difficult for compliance to fall through as two of the strong headed nations continue to be in loggerheads with the EU Commission. Hungry and Poland. For them, equality of the LGBTQ community is a foreign issue when for the rest of the member nations, it is a matter of respecting the fundamental rights of everyone irrespective of their sexual orientations.

Hungry is out on its way to alter its Constitutional Bill that will only recognize marriage between a man and woman and expects children to be raised in a Christian culture. 

There is no legal recourse available to the EU Commission. Its hands is tied to be able to impose itself on Poland and Hungary both. Both nations have revolted against the blocs centralized judicial system and stand on the rights of minorities. 

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