A few hours flight away, Poland is a historical cultural destination and will surprise the tourist with its diversity. There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Poland and we will explore six of them on a tour of Poland.
The city of Wroclaw, called Venice in Poland, on the islands of the Oder River and has over a hundred bridges. In Swidnidca, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Peace Church. We also visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp Museum. At the end of the trip, we will explore Krakow, whose Old Town is one of the first World Heritage Sites. We also visit the Wieliczka salt mine to admire a chapel built of salt, for example.
Poland. At the beginning of the year, Poland demanded EU sanctions against the Yanukovych regime in neighboring Ukraine in response to its bloody crackdown on protesters in Kiev. After Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s influence on the leaders of the largest EU countries, Brussels decided in February on sanctions. In parallel, Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski negotiated in Kiev on the EU’s mission in an attempt to create a settlement between the regime and the opposition.
Following the change of power in Kiev and the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea, Poland pushed for the EU’s decision on sanctions against Moscow. Tusk also warned that Germany’s dependence on Russian gas threatened Europe’s sovereignty, but at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Warsaw, they both agreed on more “solidarity” when it came to gas supplies.
Tusk later proposed a European Energy Union to reduce dependence on Russian gas and make the EU less vulnerable. He felt that the EU should buy gas jointly to support countries with supply problems and to support the construction of their own pipelines and warehouses. Tusk also advocated the use of fossil fuels, such as coal and shale gas.
According to Countryaah.com, Poland population in 2020 is estimated at 37,846,622. Poland, which for historical reasons does not fully trust the protection of the Western powers, planned for its own robot defense, the Polish Shield, for the equivalent of over SEK 90 billion. The Russian threat to Ukraine caused the government to speed up the tendering process. The Polish shield will face attack planes, bombers, drones and missiles and is expected to be completed by 2022. An American robot shield will also be installed in Poland by 2018.
In the shadow of the Ukraine crisis, the United States secured its support for Poland through the visit of Vice President Joe Biden and by sending twelve combat planes and 150 US soldiers to Poland. In addition, NATO exercises were held in the country.
The EU election in May was a disappointment for Prime Minister Tusk’s ruling party The Citizens’ Platform, which was barely bigger than the opposition party Law and Justice. Both received 19 seats each from Poland’s total 51.
In June, when Poland celebrated 25 years since the first free elections in the country, US President Barack Obama came to Warsaw. He assured US support to the Allies in Eastern Europe and promised increased presence with the US military.
Following Obama’s visit, a political scandal in Poland erupted when a sound recording from the previous year was published in which the head of the central bank in talks with the interior minister promised to help the government if the controversial finance minister was dismissed. In November 2013, the Minister of Finance resigned. The police’s fear of the weekly newspaper which published the recording brought widespread criticism.
Another tape was also published where Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski, in conversation with the then Finance Minister, described Poland’s cooperation with the US as worthless. The opposition demanded the resignation of the government, but Sikorski and Tusk claimed that criminal forces were behind the revelations following Poland’s actions in the Ukraine crisis.
Poland was sentenced in July in the European Court of Human Rights for the CIA’s holding of suspected terrorist prisoners in secret prisons in the country. The state was sentenced to pay damages to two prisoners who were tortured.
When the EU was to appoint new leaders for the Union during the summer, both Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski were candidates. But the scandal surrounding Sikorski contributed to him not becoming the EU’s foreign minister. The post went to Italy’s foreign minister, and the Baltic countries, among others, demanded a counterbalance in relations with the Russian Federation. Thus Tusk was appointed EU President, that is, President of the European Council. He became the first politician from the former so-called eastern states in the leadership position in the EU.
The President of Parliament and former Minister of Health Ewa Kopacz were assigned the task of succeeding Tusk and forming a new Polish government. In September, she presented her list of ministers, and then the experienced Radosław Sikorski had to leave the post of Foreign Minister and was replaced by former Deputy Prime Minister Grzegorz Schetyna. Sikorski was elected President of Parliament.
At its first EU summit, Prime Minister Kopacz succeeded in making concessions to Poland in the negotiations on the Union’s climate targets. According to Kopacz himself, no new requirements were imposed on Poland, even though the EU decided to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
The government decided during the year to build nuclear power in Poland. Two reactors are expected to be located on the Baltic Sea coast, and the first one is scheduled for construction in 2019. Since Poland began supplying some gas to Ukraine, Russian gas supplies to Poland declined in the autumn.
Area: 312,680 km2 (world rank: 69)
Population density: 121 per km2 (as of 2017, world rank: 37)
Capital: Warsaw (Warsaw)
Official languages: Polish
Gross domestic product: 465.6 billion euros; Real growth: 4.6%
Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 12,710 US$
Currency: 1 zloty (Zl) = 100 Groszy
21, 14193 Berlin
Telephone 030 223130,
Fax 030 22313155
Head of State: Andrzej Duda, Head of Government: Mateusz Morawiecki, Exterior: Jacek Czaputowicz
National holiday: 3.5. (Constitution Day of 1791) and 11.11. (Regaining independence in 1918)
State and form of government
Constitution of 1997
Parliament: Sejm with 460 members; Senate with 100 members; Election every 4 years
Direct election of the head of state every 5 years (one-time re-election) Right to
vote from 18 years
Population: Poland, last census 2011: 38,511,824 residents
National minorities: 2.1% Silesians, 0.6% Kashubians, 0, 3% Germans, including: Ukrainians, Belarusians, Roma, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Armenians, Tatars, Czechs Proportion of foreigners 2017: 0.6%
Cities (with population): (As of 2017) Warszawa (Warsaw) 1,764,615 inh., Kraków (Krakow) 767,348, Lódz (Lodz) 690,422, Wroclaw (Breslau) 638,586, Poznan (Posen) 538,633, Gdansk (Danzig) 464,254, Szczecin (Stettin) 403,883, Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) 352.313, Lublin 339.850, Bialystok 297.288, Katowice (Kattowitz) 296.262, Gdynia (Gdynia) 246.306, Czestochowa (Czestochowa) 224.376, Radom 214.566, Kiel.Torunc (Rzeszowitz) 189.566, Sosnowiec 196.580, 204.013, Gliwice (Gleiwitz) 181,309, Zabrze (Hindenburg) 174,349
Religions: 86% Catholics; Minorities of Orthodox, Protestants, Old Catholics, Muslims and Jews (as of 2006)
Languages: Polish, Kashubian (regional); Recognized minority languages: German, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Romany, Russian, Lithuanian, Lemkish, Czech, Slovak, Armenian, Yiddish, Tatar, Karaim Employed
By economic sector: Agriculture. 11%, industry 31%, business 58% (2017)
Unemployment (in% of the labor force)
Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 1.6%
Foreign trade: Import: 204.0 billion US $ (2017); Export: US $ 204.4 billion (2017)
Poland’s climate is a temperate transitional climate. Here the dry air from the Eurasian continent meets the moist air from the Atlantic. In the north and west there is mainly a temperate maritime climate, in the east and south-east a continental climate. Precipitation decreases from the coast to the inland and to the east. In the mountains they rise again. Heavy snowfall in winter.