Recently I spent some time reading Green blogs from across Europe. I realized how important it is to have an access to news and opinion from "insiders" in different countries. So I feel like joining in...
Yesterday, Jerzy Buzek was elected new President of the European Parliament. I remember quite well Buzek's record as Poland's PM (1997-2001). It was by far the worst government in Polish post-1989 history. His infamous "four reforms" (education, pensions, medical care and administration) proved a disaster for Poland's public services and deprived many people of basic social security. Buzek's government changed the labour code making workers more vulnerable in times of crisis. And he had notoriously misogynic and homophobic ministers in his cabinet - the Minister of Education Mirosław Handke and the government's Plenipotentiary for Family Kazimierz Kapera, among many others. It was Buzek's government that decided not to introduce sexual education in schools, being strongly against HIV-prevention education. And it withdrew public funding from shelters for battered women, because they were thought to "endanger the family life" (the shelters, not wife-tormentors, to be sure!).
And one more thing... It was Buzek's cabinet that was responsible for building the A-4 motorway that destroyed parts of the Góra Świętej Anny Landscape Park. It was, and is, illegal to build motorways in protected areas near nature reserves. But when environmental activists came to defend the mountain -- and the law -- they were very violently suppressed by private security assisted by the police.
With this record Jerzy Buzek is now becoming new President of the European Parliament. It means there won't be much space for progress on the European level in next years. And it is very sad news for all progressive forces in Poland, when such a person becomes the focus of national pride.