Tag Archive for: poland

Interview with Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski

(originally published in Newsweek)

The April plane crash that killed 80 Polish leaders, including President Lech Kaczynski, is known in Poland as “the catastrophe.” The leaders were en route to a commemoration of the 1940 Soviet massacre of Polish officers in Katyn, Russia. Poland had to call early elections, now scheduled for June 20. Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw, who heads the ultraconservative Law and Justice Party, faces Acting President Bronislaw Komorowski of the pro-European Civic Platform party. Poland’s Oxford-educated Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, 47, also from Civic Platform, discussed recent events with NEWSWEEK’s Ginanne Brownell. Excerpts: Read more

Warsaw Comes of Age

by Ginanne Brownell

(originally published in Newsweek)

I lasted only six months in Warsaw. I moved there from London in the autumn of 2000, and the city was still suffering its communist hangover: gray buildings stood drearily over streets short on bars and restaurants. The place depressed me, so I left. But a decade on, Warsaw is a completely different city, as Poland’s membership in the European Union (since 2004) is showing its privileges. The skyline is littered with construction cranes; six new major museums are opening in the next few years. The streets are buzzing with swanky new bars, restaurants, clubs, and galleries. Tourists from Israel or India can be found struggling with words like prosze (which means “please,” and is pronounced “Prussia”) and dziekuje (“thank you,” pronounced jen-coo-yah).
The new energy stems from the fact that Poland was the only country in the EU to experience positive growth last year, and the same is expected for this year. According to FDI Markets, which monitors cross-border investments, the city already saw $945 million in foreign expenditures in the first three months of this year (Berlin, by comparison, received just $113 million). Two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, Warsaw is fast becoming one of the great cities of Europe. Read more

Poland is the only country in Europe likely to register economic growth this year. It is now hoping to follow in the footsteps of the EU’s previous star pupil, Ireland, writes Ginanne Brownell.

It is early September in the Polish mountain village of Krynica. Strolling among the crowd of tourists are people such as former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar, Nobel Peace Prize winner (and Poland’s first post-Communist president) Lech Walesa and the EU’s commissioner for enterprise and industry, Günter Verheugen. But these politicians and former world leaders are not here for the spa facilities that this area is renowned for – they have come to network with more than 2000 top business executives, economists and politicians at the annual Krynica Economic Forum, dubbed ‘the Davos of eastern Europe’ Read more

U2

Invariably the first question people ask when they find out I’m a journalist is who is the most famous person I’ve ever interviewed. When I give them an answer—George Clooney, Tony Blair and Beyonce usually elicit the biggest “oohs”—the follow up is, “Were you nervous?” And the answer is pretty much always, not really. Why? Well I tell people it’s because I am a professional and interviewing people is an integral part of the job description. But honestly it’s because over the years I have developed a strategy to control my nerves when interviewing war criminals, politicians, celebrities and everyone in between; just as the butterflies start flying I remind myself, “Yeah, but s/he isn’t Bono.”

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