Polish Briefing 13 June, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: EC: the same rights across the EU. Penalties for not accepting refugees

What goes in Poland on 13th of June.

EC: the same rights across the EU

The European Commission wants the same social rights for all employees in the EU. The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary are concerned about the new project. Whereas, Slovakia, which has adopted the Euro, is less skeptical.

The EC is planning, among others, to equalize labor rights in all EU countries across all kinds of contracts, and to finance the activation of unemployed young adults. The reform draft also includes the suggestion to introduce one minimum wage across the EU. The program is called the European Pillar of Social Rights and its goal is to implement the propositions, the EC President Jean-Claude Juncker had presented in the White Paper on the Future of Europe.

The reform package, on which the EC has been working since March 2016 are to encompass Euro Zone states. The others will be able to join them voluntarily. This solution is criticized by three members of the Visegrad Group (V4): Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. Slovakia which adopted the Euro in 2009 is less critical of the proposition.

The V4 politicians are afraid the European Pillar of Social Rights is in essence the continuation of reforms, such as the Posted Workers Directive, which in their opinion facilitates the protection of interests of the Euro Zone countries. At the same time, these kinds of regulations infringe on the subsidiarity principle with regard to social policy, which is in the competences of Member States.

Juncker wants penalties for not accepting refugees

The EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, gave an interview in the latest “Der Spiegel” issue, where he supported opening infringement procedures against states that refused to accept refugees from Italy and Greece.

“And we will have to address the issue next week of whether we will open infringement procedures or not. (…) The decision hasn’t been made yet, but I will say this: I am for it (…),” stated Juncker. He also added that he was thinking about, among others, Hungary and Slovakia, as well as “other countries”.

The point is to “make clear that decisions that have been made are applicable law, even if you have voted against it,” explained the EC President. In his opinion what is at stake is “the European solidarity, which cannot be a one-way street. The traffic has to move in both directions.”

Changes to the Agricultural Market Agency act

The government will attend to updating the February amendments to the Agricultural Market Agency act. This will be done at the request of the Polish Chamber of Trade (Polska Izba Handlu, PIH), which submitted a relevant letter to the Law and Justice MP, Adam Abramowicz. The act’s February amendments forced businesses to sign written contracts for the purchase of agricultural goods. They also obliged them to archive the agreements regardless of whether relevant  invoices have been issued.

“Our suggestions will solve a problem these amendments have created for thousands of Polish entrepreneurs. Every, even small and medium, business has been forced to sign agreements – from a few to over a dozen daily. These changes also put an additional burden on farmers who sell their products, and impeded their access to the market,” stated PIH’s President Waldemar Nowakowski in a letter to Adam Abramowicz, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for Supporting Entrepreneurship and Economic Patriotism.

Changes in the information system of the health service

The government will also attend to amending the Act on the Health Service Information System. In July, IT companies will be able to test their programs for electronic prescriptions.

According to the Health Ministry, electronic prescriptions will be introduced as of 1 January 2020. This is important because until the end of 2018, medical facilities have to be ready to introduce e-prescriptions. In accordance with the amendments to the Act on the Health Service Information System, replacement of paper documents with electronic medical documentation (EDM), will be delayed and will be divided into stages. The Ministry decided not to replace the paper documents with EDM as of 1 January 2018, because the service providers are not ready. According to research conducted by CSIOZ in last November, EDM is present in ca. 41% of hospitals. Directors of health facilities also suggested they would not be able to introduce the required IT systems on time.