Polish Briefing 10 August, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: Talks on security of gas delivery via Ukraine to take place in autumn

What goes on in Poland on the 10th of August.

Talks on security of gas delivery via Ukraine to take place in autumn 

According to Russian media, the European Union proposed Moscow to open consultations on the transit of gas via Ukraine in October this year. The information was supposed to have been released by Russia’s Energy Ministry, which believes the state of the gas transmission system in Ukraine was getting worse every year. Russian portal Wzgliad reported that in September the EU Council will discuss the European Commission’s negotiation mandate on Nord Stream 2.

RIA Novosti quoted the EC Vice-President responsible for establishing the Energy Union. In a conversation with the agency he supposedly said that each year the Russian ministry informs about the worsening state of the Ukrainian gas transmission system and insufficient investments in its modernization.

RIA Novosti also wrote that in line with earlier announcements, the consultations were supposed to start at the end of August, but Brussels wanted to move them to October.

Hackers may target solar panels. Serious flaws in the system.

“Hackers could target electricity grids through security flaws in solar panel equipment,” Willem Westerhof, a Dutch specialist on cyber security warned.

The expert discovered 17 different inaccuracies in inverters, an appliance used to transform the solar power energy so that it can be used on the grid.

According to Westerhof, inverters connected to the internet may be targeted. The specialist conducted tests on two appliances produced by Germany’s SMA. The BBC reported he managed to breach their firewalls and remotely control them.

” If an attacker does that on a large scale, that has serious consequences for the power grid stability,” he warned.

Ministry of Family: reform to enter into force on 1 October, EC letter won’t inhibit preparations

“The retirement reform will enter into force in October; there is nothing in the EC letter that could disturb our preparations,” Krzysztof Michałkiewicz Vice-Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy said.

On Monday the Ministry received a letter from Vera Jourová the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and Marianne Leonie Petrus Thyssen Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility. According to the EC, a different retirement age for men and women in Poland is a form of discrimination. Prime Minister Beata Szydło read the letter and obliged the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy to quickly respond to the EC concerns.

“The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy is implementing the retirement reform. Prime Minister’s Beata Szydło’s government is implementing a program that was promised to Poles. The retirement reform – lowering of the retirement age – will enter into force on 1 October without any complications,” Michałkiewicz said. He also added the Polish Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) was already prepared for the changes.

He pointed out that almost 600 retirement advisors worked at ZUS subsidiaries to help the future retirees. “The ZUS management has informed that the system and subsidiaries are ready to accept applications and pay out the retirement,” he said.

Finance Ministry: we are not increasing budget revenue at the cost of businesses 

“It is not true that we are increasing budget revenue by not returning the VAT to businessmen at the cost of their financial liquidity,” Pawer Gruza Finance Vice-Minister stressed on Wednesday.

“There have been reports that we were increasing the budget revenue at the cost of not returning VAT to businessmen, at the cost of damaging their financial liquidity. This is not true. Our tax services cannot do this,” the minister said at a press conference.

The ministry organized a conference during which its officials talked about VAT fraud and the previous government’s inability to collect the tax.

“The problem of VAT fraud created a situation where the state was responsible for racketeering, i.e. for collecting and forcing payments from honest businessmen. A situation where the state collects VAT from the honest part of the economy and lets organized crime groups to commit VAT fraud is a morally negative situation (…) The permission to steal from the state is reprehensible and we have been fighting this since we formed the government,” Gruza stressed.