Radio Gdansk English Service, Wednesday, July 17th, 2019: Ursula Von de Leyen confirmed as EU Commission President

After what an analyst from EurActiv dubbed “the game of thrones for the EU’s top job,” German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen was confirmed by the European Parliament last night by a vote of 383 to 327 . Despite concerns about her tough stance on supporting the rule of law in Member States, Polish MEPs in the European Parliament voted to confirm Ms. von der Leyen as President of the European Commission.

In an interview with Euractiv before the vote, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz stated that “there is a clear consensus…and Poland supports this candidacy.”
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki echoed these sentiments in a special televised statement after the vote, thanking Polish MEPs and particularly members of PiS, whose votes “turned out to be decisive” in the election, and expressing his hopes for the next Commission to be a “better partner” for Poland.

Amazon announces expansion in Poland amidst worker strikes

Amazon announced Monday that it would open a new logistics depot in Okmiany near Bolesławiec, creating an additional 1,000 permanent jobs in the region. Amazon already reportedly employs some 14,000 workers in Poland, including a development center in Gdańsk and distribution centers in Poznań, Wrocław, Szczecin, and Katowice.

According to Steven Harman, VP of Amazon Operations in Europe, Amazon has “generated over 1.5 billion złoty in investment and created over 4,000 permanent jobs in Poland” since 2014.

Amazon’s announcement coincided with the highly anticipated “Amazon Prime Days” and planned worker strikes across the EU and the US. The Inicjatywa Pracownicza and Solidarność unions in Poland planned a strike referendum to begin July 15th in response to the unsuccessful negotiations with Amazon begun last May. Among other concerns, workers are requesting an increase in hourly wages, a fairer employee appraisal system, and an end to fixed-term, temporary contracts.

The strikes echo actions undertaken in 2018, when thousands of Amazon workers in Europe mounted a similar Prime Day strike, citing such concerns as unfair labor practices and union-busting.

Gdynia boy protests climate change

Inspired by the protests of Greta Thunberg in Sweden and Inga Zasowska in Warsaw, 11-year-old Mateusz Kalinowski from Witomin started his own climate protest last Friday in front of the Gdynia City Hall. In an interview with Michał Sielski of, Mateusz claimed he would protest each week until the end of summer to draw attention to issues like environmental degradation and global warming.

After watching a series of compelling documentary films, Mateusz resolved to make certain changes in his life, including reusing items rather than buying new ones, buying fewer new clothes, making sure the garbage at home is segregated, and even changing his diet to stop eating meat. He hopes his protest will give him the opportunity to “talk to people and convince them that each of us can help in the fight against global warming and save the environment by changing our own behavior” . He is supported in his efforts by his family, including his grandmother and his mother, Anna Kalinowska, who reports that his family are “all very proud of him and support his idea.”

Plastic Isn’t Fantastic at Breźno Beach

If you are looking for your own ways to save the environment or simply save your sanity by giving your little ones something to do, come join the Gdańsk #BezPlastiku (Gdańsk Without Plastic) cleanup event this Wednesday and Thursday, July 17-18.

The #BezPlastiku Zone will be open from 10am to 6pm each day near entrance 52 at the Brzeźno pier and will feature workshops, educational quizzes, a play area for kids, photo spots, a chill/relax zone, and advocacy opportunities.

Together with Greenpeace and the Centrum Nurkowe Tryton (Tryton Diving Center) you can also go diving to clean up the Baltic sea bottom, enter the beach litter collection competition, go an a “nurdle hunt,” and discover why plastic is such a serious problem for the Baltic ecosystem.


Globaltica World Cultures Festival Begins Today

The 15th edition of the annual Globaltica World Cultures Festival kicks off tonight at 5pm at the Gdynia Film Center (Gdyńskie Centrum Filmowe). Tonight will feature a screening of the documentary Badjao. Duchy z morza (Spirits of the Sea) directed by Eliza Kubarska, which follows a community of sea nomads, or “fish people” living in the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia.The film will be followed by a concert by Trio Abozekrys, an Egyptian trio combining Arabic and Oriental music with jazz, Gypsy idioms, Indian scales and Cuban rhythms, and a gallery opening of the exhibition GLOSSARY: Things in Instruments – Instruments in Things by graphic artist and promoter Piotr Pucyło.

The festival, which features acts originating from Poland to Palestine and Uzbekistan to Ethiopia, was originally established as an event to celebrate multiculturalism through exposure to different traditions, religions, art, photography, dance, literature and, of course, food. The five-day celebration of various world cultures will continue with exhibitions, workshops, performances and concerts in and around Kolibki Park in Gdynia.

For more information and a full schedule, visit the festival website at

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