Polish Briefing 12 July, 2017 9:00 am   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Polish Briefing: Against unfair practices. Agreement with Ukraine to be ratified

What goes in Poland on 12th of July.

Budget surplus

The state budget has a significant surplus. This results from the fact that the Polish National Bank (NBP) earned over PLN 8.7 billion and the VAT income increased by over a dozen percent in comparison to last year. Such a result has not been achieved at this stage of carrying out the budget since 1992, when the Ministry of Finance started to record comparable budget statistics.

Payouts from the NBP have improved the state budget in previous years, but not nearly as spectacularly and not already in June. So far, the Ministry of Finance has not revealed any details, but the surplus after six months has to be in the billions. “Even if the increased income from the VAT is not taken into consideration, the sole transfer from NBP should ensure an over PLN 2 billion surplus,” wrote the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily.

Agreement with Ukraine to be ratified

EU Member States will finally agree to ratify the Association Agreement with Ukraine. The decision will be approved by finance ministers of the 28 EU states at a meeting in Brussels. The consent to ratify the Agreement is possible because the Netherlands stopped blocking the contract. The entire process has been on hold since last year when in an April referendum the Dutch said no to the ratification.

In response to the charges voiced by populists in Holland, the EU leaders adopted a special declaration during the December summit. It stated that the agreement does not mean Ukraine will automatically join the EU, it has nothing to do with military support for the country and does not ensure any additional financial support from the EU budget.

The Association Agreement is of special significance to Ukrainians. Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign it in 2013 started the Euromaidan revolution. The trade part of the agreement has been in force since January last year. The EU states decided that they would not wait for ratifying the entire contract and instead offered the government in Kiev economic benefits of the agreement earlier.

Against unfair practices

On Wednesday a new act on countering unfair practices in food and agricultural products trade will enter into force. Its creators want to support the producers in their relations with traders.
The act, which will counter the abuse of contractual advantages in food and agricultural products trade was written in response to numerous complaints from producers from various sectors, including, dairy and meat, on the abuse of position by large chain stores. The supermarkets often dictated prices, which were so low that they did not ensure profit for producers.

Limitation, not ban

“We want to stress that we are not fighting against trade, in reality we don’t want to limit Sunday shopping (…) This is about limiting employment and giving back Sundays to families,” said Piotr Duda, chairman of the Solidarity trade union in an interview for Nasz Dziennik daily. A similar point of view was expressed by the Polish retail sector in a joint statement submitted on 30 June to Elżbieta Rafalska, the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy.

“A guarantee that retail employees will have two free Sundays in a month, which is twice as much as today, thanks to an amendment to the Labor Code – this is the proposition of the Polish retail sector in response to the citizen’s project of the act on limiting Sunday shopping,” declared Radosław Knap, General Director of the Polish Council of Shopping Centers.
“Today already 90% of the people employed in chain stores and merchant networks have an employment contract. The sector believes that suitable amendments to the Labor Code will be actually the only solution that will secure all sides – the employees, consumers and businessmen. What is more, the proposition is in line with the postulates made by Piotr Duda from Solidarity, i.e. restrictions on employment and returning Sundays to families without the necessity to limit Sunday trade,” Knap explained.