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The Law and Justice (PiS) government is misleading the public over its dispute with Brussels over the EU budget and rule-of-law conditionality. In doing so, it is stirring up sentiment against the EU, Poland’s European partners and the western social model. We debunk five of the main myths pushed by PiS politicians.
Experts are debating the extent to which the reopening of schools in September has contributed to current record levels of coronavirus infections. But another, less discussed, disaster has also developed from how the health crisis exacerbates the structural problems of Polish education. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the divide between pupils from various backgrounds, accelerated the departure of qualified specialists from the teaching profession, and worsened the quality of teaching.
Parliament will this week discuss legislation proposed by MPs from the ruling party that would exempt officials from punishment for breaking the law if they did so as part of efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. It would apply retroactively, to actions already undertaken. This would be a dangerous move, undermining important legal principles and potentially facilitating corruption.
When corruption is ingrained in the political system and concentrated among the political elites, it becomes less noticeable to citizens. But this does not mean that there is no negative impact on their lives. The consequences are limited access to independent judges and media, as well as inequalities in the availability of specific resources – civil service positions, state grants or subsidies.
With its liberal system of issuing temporary work permits, Poland has become the European and global leader in terms of the influx of short-term labour from abroad. For the last two years running, it has issued more first residence permits to non-EU immigrants than any other member state, and it has the most temporary labour migrants of any OECD state.