Shared Stories

Friday, July 27, 2007


Here's an interesting summary of different views after Poland made comments about the proposed voting system in the Reform Treaty. It also makes brief mention of Britain's opt-out of the COFHR.

Charter of Fundamental Rights

From the BBC:

Will the Reform Treaty transfer powers from national governments to the EU?

Yes, the EU exists by virtue of the fact that countries agree to pool sovereignty in certain areas. The Reform Treaty deepens the co-operation in some areas, and extends it to new areas. But opinions differ on how much power this treaty transfers to the EU, and whether it transfers more or less than earlier treaties.

Is the Charter of Fundamental Rights expected to feature in the new treaty?

Yes and no. There will be a reference to it, making it legally binding, but the full text will not be included.

Both the UK and the Netherlands wanted it to be dropped, partly on the grounds that it would make the treaty look too much like the constitution, but they were not completely successful.

The UK has secured an opt-out, which says the charter cannot affect British law. However, experts are divided on how effective this will be.


Poland says it reserves the right to follow the UK in opting-out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Ireland says it is studying the opt-out on the, but has no intention of adopting it.

Also helpful, but from the earlier treaty is this link, a Q&A about the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Radio Maryja

Radio Maryja seems to figure frequently into some of the commentary and news I see in my cursory examination of the the other English-language Polish blogs. I've only looked at this Wikipedia entry on Radio Maryja and nothing else. I am trying to juggle a million things, so the in-depth research is constantly being forestalled, but I wanted an idea of what this station was all about... as will all posts, this is just to advance my own thinking on different subjects in Poland. Hopefully, one of these tangents will lead to a viable research proposal.

On to business.

I am a moderately devout Catholic and was impressed by Church attendance when I was in Poland as well as modesty yet tastefulness of the (GORGEOUS) women there. I heard some criticism about the Church in some circles and even among some of the people I count as my best friends in Poland. It's my belief, that generally, as people become more well-off, devotion drops (look at Scandinavia).

Furthermore, the more the Church is seen involved in politics, or at least suspected to be involved in politics, the more it appears that the Church is only seeking power... and not playing their "proper role" as a shepherd, but more concerned with temporal power and prestige -- which certainly appalls me.

Anyway, I was wondering if Radio Maryja (streamed here) was actually guilty of the many charges leveled against it. Or was it just a secular European press attacking a political critic and social agitator?

From the looks of the information in the Wikipedia entry, the criticism seems to be legitimate. For example, they opposed Poland's EU accession.

There could be reasons for being against accession to the European Union... but instead to put your trust in Russia? That's just insane. It also looks like the Vatican and some Polish bishops have expressed concern. The entry claims their listenership is pretty low, yet they were promoting the victorious PiS (Law & Justice) party in the most recent elections. How much of the victory of the PiS can be attributed to Radio Maryja - and how much can be attributed to a genuine appeal of PiS.

It seems that PiS acts loyal to Radio Maryja. I see no need for PiS to be loyal to a media network that was not instrumental to their winning the election or to their continued support. I wonder why and how the loyalty continues, or existed in the first place.

I'll probably write more on this later the more I allow myself to digest what I read, and to read more. Comments are welcome.

Purpose Statement

Welcome! I am an American law student with Polish heritage who spent last summer in Krakow, Poland. I thought the two months I spent in that city would satisfy my thirst for knowledge of Poland, but it has only increased my desire to return (perhaps for the long term) and to learn as much as I can about this country. Despite me being unapologetically American in all ways, Poland still holds my imagination and a part of my heart.

I welcome comments and suggestions on my posts. This blog is being done for my own benefit. It is a way to synthesize and organize my research proposal and to help me focus, but I hope it may help you in some small way. I have no theme yet, so let's see what develops!

P.S. For now, everything I deal with will be in English because I am just beginning to learn Polish.