A blog by an American expatriate living in the heart of New Europe

"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
my photo
  Warsaw, Poland

view profile | e-mail Gustav

*roundtrip ticket

Monday, August 21, 2006

Poland “Exporting Criminals” - European News Review

Is Poland using Western Europe as its own personal Australia?

In an article entitled “Why Polish Emigration is bad for Europe but good for Poland” an author writing for the European News Review accuses the Polish government of refusing to stop the flood of emigrants from Poland because it is helping them in the polls.
With lower unemployment there is less competition for jobs so this makes those who are actually looking for work in Poland happier. At the same time the Polish Government is able to use the lower unemployment figures to show that its policies are having a positive effect on the Polish economy.

The net result is that more of the Polish people are happy with the way the Polish government is running the country.

Many troublemakers and criminals have left Poland for Western Europe. The crime rate in Polish cities is down. See
The author cites an unavailable (just click on the link) article from the Irish Examiner to back up these claims. Regardless of the source's unavailability, from the wording of the sentence and link, it seems that rather than proving the outrageous claim that Poland is sending its worst seeds to contaminate the Western European lands, the author uses the Irish Examiner article to more back up the claim that crime in Poland is down.

Crime wave

This is true – but hardly because Poland has been “exporting its criminals”. The numbers have been turning that way for a while now: There have been more police on the streets for the past couple of years, and employment is up. Please remember that a rise in employment does not necessarily correspond to lower unemployment. As the author claims, unemployment has dropped partly as a result of the exodus. But the employment rate has also been steadily rising. Last month it was up by 3.3 percent (registration requred).

Certainly, there have been incidents of crime by recent Polish immigrants documented in Western Europe, but it's hardly the crime wave you would expect if Poland were using the UK and Ireland as its own personal penal colony. The violence against Poles since borders in the UK, Ireland and Sweden were opened in 2004 has been arguably larger in scale than crimes committed by Poles (Polish link).


In my experience, Poles by nature and culture are very reluctant to leave home – one of the reasons so many young, talented Poles chose to remain unemployed in small cities rather than move to Warsaw where a job (albeit low-paying) was almost sure to be found. They aren't leaving Poland because they've become bored with committing crimes here. They've left only because they're guaranteed to earn more than they could here, doing jobs they can bear.

I know an Irish recruiter personally. The men he recruits to send to Ireland for various construction and building jobs are not simply shipped off at the drop of a hat. Their backgrounds are checked – previous employers are interviewed. They are sent over to fill specific places in specific construction firms. These are semi-skilled workers that have been working most of their lives. Many are over 35. Most have families. These are hardly hardened criminals.

The youths that go tend to go on more capricious terms – but these too are hardly the criminal type. Most are university students with skills companies in Poland can't find a use for. Their skills (and yes, wage demands) are a perfect fit for the economies they have moved to contribute to. They are computer programmers, electrical engineers, nurses, young doctors, or dentists. Why lead a life of crime and risk being sent back to Poland, where little waits for them?

I wonder if the author has even visited Ireland or the UK since Poles have been allowed to work there without hindrance. They are generally considered skilled, honest and hardworking. So where are the criminals?

The crime example is the only evidence the author offers for the current wave of Polish emigration being “bad for Europe,” but the proof the author provides for it being “good for Poland” is equally as questionable.

Glass houses

For example, the author confuses the economic forces acting on the housing market here, first by saying that the exodus has put less pressure on the housing market – apparently making housing more available to Poles – thereafter citing two reasons why the housing market is so expensive as to keep flats out of the reach of the average Pole [emphasis mine]:

Once again Polish emigration is helping. By exporting Poles to the West there are fewer people who will be available to buy houses and that will take pressure off the housing market.

The housing shortage is partially due to the lack of government action to make the process of land acquisition and the obtaining of building permits easier for developers. With less of a demand for housing there is less pressure on the government to take action to make it easier to build flats. See

Western Europeans are also helping the government by buying those flats that they can find available. The demand by these European investors has increased the price of housing in Poland. See

Despite the enormous “pressure” the author sees lifted from the housing market by the loss of a few hundred thousand Poles (a great number of whom keep their residences in Poland), prices in the Polish housing market are spiraling upward with no relief in sight – partly for the reasons the author was good enough to point out. The emigration has not done a thing to make it easier for Poles to obtain housing.

Good for everybody

However, I would still agree with the author that the emigration is good for Poland, as I've argued here earlier. But not for the reasons the author cites (S/he seems to mean it's good for the Polish government). Rather, emigrees are giving the economies they go to an economic boost (those countries that have allowed in the most Poles have benefitted the most economically), which allows those economies to buy more Polish products. With the tightening of the job market, Polish businesses must raise salaries to keep skilled workers here. As Poles go abroad, they gain experience and skills that will help them in their future careers. Since the UK or Ireland are so close (getting closer every day with cheap flights cris-crossing the continent), and since Poles are so strongly tied to their homes (as I mentioned above) we can expect a large number to return, bringing those skills and know-how back to Poland one day.

The Polish emigration to Western Europe is good for Poland, good for Western Europe, good for Europe as a whole and, I would contend, good for the world economy. From the tone of the ENR article, it seems the author is simply taking the opportunity to attack the current populist government – positive developments (like lower crime) in the country be damned. While I'm no fan of the current government, I'm willing to give them their due on the crime front. Crime has dropped on their watch – but was dropping before they took office. So not even much credit can be given them.

Unpopular populists

But the author seems to think these developments have led to some magnificent swell in the government's popularity:

“The net result is that more of the Polish people are happy with the way the Polish government is running the country.” One wonders more than what exactly.

Yet again, the author errs. A poll released just today (the same date as ENR's essay) shows a full 36 percent of the country says it is “against” the Kaczyński government (Polish link), 31 percent have no opinion, with 28 percent – the lowest result – “for” the government. On top of that, some 48 percent believe the actions of Kaczyński's cabinet will not make Poland's economic situation any better.

One wonders if someone with such incomplete knowledge of Poland, its politics, and its place in Europe ought to be making inflamatory claims that the country is “exporting its criminals”. Such claims are sensationalist, dangerous, and ultimately – lies.


Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

That article was such a load of crap. "It is widely acknowledged that Poland has been exporting its unemployed and that because of the number of emigrants that have left the country, Polish unemployment has gone down."

Who wrote this, a teenager? Widely acknowledged by whom? Got any data?

"The Polish police are happy because they have fewer problems with these people gone and they can spend their time on other matters. With the police free to look at other matters instead of chasing these common criminals, the general public becomes more satisfied with the responsiveness of the police to things that concern them."

This whole article is a series of dominoes that begins with the basic assumption, Poland is exporting degenerates. Now, beatroot would argue that Poland is in fact electing them, but I would say that the folks leaving Poland are talented, skilled laborers. That is my personal experience. I personally tutored two people who emigrated. Both were computer professionals. The original article itself admits that, "[t]here may be a talent drain as Poles leave Poland."

I hardly think that a few outbursts of violence warrant the title "criminal." If I had a magister degree in business and I was working at Taco Bell, I'd get pissed, too.

Lastly, as I remember, Poland wasn't making it too easy for for emigres. Doesn't Poland try to tax the income made elsewhere, effectively sapping away at least 20% of the already-taxed income?

The same author, or a collection of authors using the same pseudonym (Polcham) has posted a collection of articles about Poland here: http://www.masterpage.com.pl/polishnewsroundup/

One of the articles links to a news item about "Major UK banks 'tailoring products' for Polish market." Do thugs buy houses?

8/22/2006 01:34:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

I don't often like what they've got on Masterpage, but since they started posting links to my stories - with my permission - I've decided to hold them accountable. The article incensed me so much I had to call them on it.

8/22/2006 01:53:00 AM  

Blogger Polcham said...

This is Polcham.

You are invited to read the Polish and foreign press to learn something about Poland and what is being said about Poland.

Read Radio Polonia at World Media On Poland" that says "Polish paper links falling crime to emigration".

And then read the original article in Gazeta Wyborca.

Please also note that the Polish Government acknowledged that emigration was part of the reason that unemployment has dropped.

Thank you for the comments. I shall follow uo more on my premise in future articles.

And do be sure to follow the Polish News roundup where articles are collected from all sources. It is at Polish News Roundup"

8/22/2006 07:56:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Thanks for providing a link to your source material, Polcham. Props for backing up your statements (shameless plug notwithstandiing). Props also for posting this criticism on your site.

Now, let's see what the Irish Examiner writes: "The chief prosecutor in Krakow has put the trend down to the type of people who are emigrating, but the Polish Embassy in Dublin says there has been no evidence of an increase in crime in relation to Polish nationals living in Ireland."

Who do you believe, Polcham? The anecdotal evidence of a prosecutor in a single city or the guy who would be handling the shitstorm if Poles were coming over in droves to commit crimes?

Can you provide a link to the Gazeta article?

Regardless however, just because a "Polish paper links falling crime to emigration" doesn't mean the criminals are emigrating. Indeed, I'd be inclined to agree that the emigration has an effect on crime - but not because all the criminals are going to Western Europe. Rather, with the unemployment rate dropping (and employment rising), those who would steal bread now have an opportunity to work in order to earn money to buy it.

Assuming the Gazeta article doesn't provide figures or other hard evidence showing that Polish criminals are going abroad, this is a pretty weak foundation upon which to claim that the Polish government is sending its criminals to invade other countries and reaping the political benefits. So far, except for one prosecutor's opinion, all of the evidence I've seen points the other way.

Interestingly, if one follows the link to Radio Polonia's World Media on Poland service that you provided, one sees that the very next story in line is: "Teenagers arrested after attack on Poles" (read here).

So again, who is really feeling the brunt of the crime due to the Polish emmigration, the emigrees or their hosts?

8/22/2006 10:19:00 AM  

Blogger Polcham said...

A continued state of denial and refusal to try to open ones eyes does not benefit Poland. Our latest article ia at Criminals Leaving

Since you have an incomplete knowlege of what is being published in Poland by even the largest newspaper in Poland, I suggest that you read the paper each day so that you know what is going on. I will post the link to the Gazeta article with more translation in another post. That should help you.

Do I believe the newspaper's information? I will say that it is probably more accurate than not.

An attack on Poles has no relevance to the Gazeta article on emigration. The attack on Poles comment you make is an amateur attempt to move away from the subject at hand.

8/22/2006 03:12:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Now we're blogging.

Firstly, all of the sources you name in your article - including the Irish blogger - cite the Gazeta article. The Irish Examiner quotes the blogger. The Gazeta story quotes the Krakow prosecutor - and so far as I can tell, ONLY the Krakow prosecutor backs up your claims. The crux of the argument is this:

Piotr Kosmaty is a chief prosecutor in the Polish city of Krakow where the trend is most prevalent. He told the newspaper it was not the falling population that was causing the slide but the type of people who were emigrating.

In Krakow, many who had been identified as football hooligans had left the city and those who stayed were trying to keep their records clean so that they would have no difficulty getting a passport or lining up work abroad.

Of course, no evidence presented for this claim. And one very important sentence that you've neglected to mention comes right on the heels of these statements:

He said there was no evidence to suggest criminals were continuing to cause trouble in their new homes.

Not even THIS source backs you up Polcham. Your argument is getting shakier by the minute.

You say:

Do I believe the newspaper's information? I will say that it is probably more accurate than not.

This is not the question. The question is why you believe a Krakow prosecutor over the Polish ambassador in Ireland. Both of their statements qualify as "information contained in the article."

The next question is why, even when this prosecutor says there is no evidence that the "hooligans" (not criminals) abroad were "causing trouble" (not committing crimes), you continue to insist that Poles are bringing a wave of criminality with them to Western Europe. With the decline in crime in places like Krakow, has there been a corresponding increase in crime in Ireland? If so, where is the evidence that it can be attributed to Polish immigrants?

You say:

An attack on Poles has no relevance to the Gazeta article on emigration.

True enough. What it does have relevance to is the fact that while a single story, supported by anecdotal evidence, leads you to claim that Poland is sending criminals to Western Europe, stories showing that Poles are victims - rather than perpetrators - of crime are ubiquitous. Doesn't that point to your misinterpretation of the situation?

The attack on Poles comment you make is an amateur attempt to move away from the subject at hand.

No it's not. It's an attempt to make the point I explained with great care above. I hope you'll get it this time.

And finally, Polcham, your claim:

Since you have an incomplete knowlege of what is being published in Poland by even the largest newspaper in Poland, I suggest that you read the paper each day so that you know what is going on.

True, if being familiar with every article in Gazeta signifies "incomplete knowledge," then yes, I do have an incomplete knowledge of what the biggest newspaper in Poland is publishing - yet, I DO read it nearly every day. Interesting eh? Perhaps that's because I don't stop to read every poorly-supported article Gazeta chooses to fill their pages with during the cucumber season. USA Today is supposedly the largest paper in the States - but you wouldn't read that cover to cover every day, would you? And do you still know what's going on in the states?

Perhaps instead of poring over the pages of just one newspaper, you ought to try reading others, such as Rzeczpospolita, Dziennik, Gazeta Prawna, Życie Warszawy, Puls Biznesu or Parkiet. I don't have a "complete knowledge" of those papers either - but I read them regularly. And I would argue as a result, my knowledge of Poland is demonstrably much more complete than yours. So no, my knowledge of what is "being published" is not incomplete - my job makes sure of that.

Indeed, if this silly little article in Gazeta was so important, why didn't it even make it onto the TV news shows? I certainly never saw it.

But this is a silly argument. Who knows more is irrelevant. Prove your claim: Poland is sending criminals abroad to help boost the government's electoral standing.

8/22/2006 04:58:00 PM  

Blogger Beniex said...

The article in Warsaw Station Blog is really a good one IMHO. I'm a Pole so I can see why people are going to the UK - of course, if 2 mln Poles go there and to Ireland, it's impossible to say, that there aren't any villains around there, but it's a very small minority. I really hope that some day those people will return to Poland and make it a better place to live in, but I have my doubts...

8/22/2006 08:13:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Welcome Benny.

As we've said, you're right that Poles have committed violence. But is it really the criminals that are leaving?

Anyway, I share your hopes, but am a bit more optimistic than you. Poland is developing very quickly, so I think in several years' time more and more Poles will be tempted to come back to perhaps try their hand at a small business or to simply contribute to the economy and society. Not only do Poles love their homes - they're very entreprenurial as well!

8/22/2006 08:58:00 PM  

Blogger beatroot said...

Good argument.

The ‘Poland exporting its criminals is just sensationalist journalese and should be taken as such.

But Gustav mentions the Polish Ambassador in Ireland as a reliable source for the claim that Poles have not been disproportionately to blame for crime in Ireland since the influx.

Ambassadors are diplomatic sources, not reliable ones.

I have met and interviewed this man. A very nice man too.

I met him when there were loads of stories in the Polish press about Polish ‘suicides’ in Dublin. He was incensed by this and wrote off angry letters to editors saying that they were exaggerating the extent of the problem. I believed him. But he also said that “these people (meaning editors, journalists) were ruining all the hard work we have been doing”.

He meant ruining his good PR.

He seemed worried that the Irish government would start become less lenient to migrating Poles than up to now – like withholding PPS numbers (social insurance) ofr any Poles coming to the country. He seemed to think that the situation could easily turn against migrating Poles (as it is beginning to do in the UK.

So, just on the point of the Ambassadors ‘evidence’ I think you should be a little skeptical.

He has an agenda to keep things calm in Ireland. He is not a neutral observer. He ha a ‘good news’ agenda. Like all diplomats.

8/22/2006 09:30:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Yeah, I like this thread, and I appreciate Polcham coming over and arguing.

And your point's fair enough beatroot - but my argument still stands. While the ambassador has a vested interest in glossing over any violence by Poles, even Polcham's prosecutor admits that there's little evidence that criminality is being exported.

8/22/2006 10:00:00 PM  

Blogger beatroot said...

If Poland was exporting its criminals then one would expect sections of the British media – which I have been reporting on and will be reporting on my blog – which don’t like the new immigration, to try and find evidence of Poles being disproportionately involved in crime.

In fact, there is no such reporting. So where did all these criminals go? Did they immediately reform once they touched down on British and Irish soil?

Maybe they did. In which case, then migration is providing a social service. :-)

As regards the increase in the poll ratings of the government. Is it because the ones who are migrating – being the more adventurist types and less traditional and young from the western half of Poland – are more likely to vote for non-conservative parties? Therefore migration is leaking the PO/liberal vote?

I think that this might be the answer.

Not such a rosy scenario. :-(

8/22/2006 11:37:00 PM  

Blogger Becca said...

Nice blogging Gus...

The thing that got me about the 'new' article on the criminal Poles is that it seems to have been taken directly from what that blogger wrote on 4th Aug.

'The village near Krakow', oh THAT village near Krakow...

8/23/2006 08:51:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...


Keep reporting on that stuff - I have a feeling stories in the UK press about waves of Polish criminals(who have left their babies in orphanages and their pets in shelters) aren't far off.

In which case, then migration is providing a social service.

That seems to be what the prosecutor is insinuating in the IE article. I guess those lovely green Irish grasses have a claming effect...

The exodus does indeed seem to have had an effect on PO's dropping popularity - but it could also be because they're impotent in opposition. Regardless, any comparative rise in popularity for PiS is probably moot, considering the poll numbers I cited in the post.


Thanks Becca.

Yeah, there's little detail. Why would 60 hooligans go to Ireland? Was there a soccer match? I just don't get this logic.

8/23/2006 11:13:00 AM  

Blogger beatroot said...

No, there will be stories of Polish babies who have been left in ophanages turning into criminals and being exported to the UK....

8/23/2006 12:55:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

... with their sinister criminal pets whose abandonment in a shelter has led to a life of biting humans and stealing other dogs' bones.

8/23/2006 12:59:00 PM  

Blogger beatroot said...

...and Polish hamsters smuggling drugs and guns through customs in their cheeks!

8/24/2006 12:02:00 PM  

Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

Last three comments, pure and utter nonsense, but good reading.

I've been reading over this stuff (the masterpages and that one blogger) and it reads like a toned-down Ann Coulter.

8/25/2006 07:56:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recruiters in Construction:post free construction jobs

3/16/2009 09:13:00 PM  

Blogger salma hayek said...

Earning money online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.

8/19/2010 12:37:00 PM  

Post a Comment

< Main

american expat piękna polska michigan, my michigan Pijemy po polsku - Kickin' it Polish style Warsaw Station on Feedburner subscribe to my feed my feed