Things I learnt today: Fjarðabyggð

Around 75% of the working population in Fjarðabyggð, eastern Iceland, are Polish. (This is probably due to the big aluminium smelter situated there. Also the population in Fjarðabyggð is 5 206 persons in total.) Polish citizens are also the largest minority on Iceland as a whole, making up 3% of the population.

Also, for some reason unknown to me, there’s also street signs bilingual in Icelandic and French.

Fáskrúðsfjörður bilingualroadsign

Second metro line in Warsaw nearing completion

The first section of the Polish capital’s second underground metro line has been completed and are now subject to final inspections and checks before opening. Originally intended to be completed in time for the Euro 2012 football world cup, delays changed the time plan and the seven stations spread over six kilometres of track are now to be operative in mid-November this year.

Polish PM Donald Tusk becomes new president of the European Council

2014 - Donald Tusk (16)
Current Polish prime minister Donald Tusk has been designated as the next president of the European Council and as such tasked with chairing the meetings of the council which consists of the heads of government of the European Union member states as well as being the figurehead of the EU, a role he will officially take over from current president Herman Van Rompuy on December 1.

The selection of Tusk, an influential and high-profile liberal-conservative politician from one of the newer EU member states of central Europe could be seen as an acknowledgement of the growing importance of central and eastern Europe in European affairs, with Poland emerging as the regional heavyweight.

Polish presidential election

Bronislaw Komorowski, currently acting president of Poland after the death of president Kaczynski in a tragic plane crash in May, has been elected as president after winning the second round of voting by getting 53 percent of the votes cast. his opponent, the twin brother of the deceased president and the current opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski got 47 percent of the votes.

Mr Komorowski was the candidate of the governing Civic Platform party and has been the parliament speaker.

Polish president dead in aircraft accident

A Polish government aircraft carrying among others president Lech Kaczyński crashed earlier today during a landing attempt in bad weather at Smolensk in Russia on their way to attend the 70th anniversary cermonies for the victims of the Katyn Forest massacre. The plane carried between 88 and 130 persons – the numbers given vary this far – and no one survived the crash. Among other victims are the president’s wife, Ryszard Kaczorowski who was the last non-communist president in exile of Poland, the army chief of staff, and relatives to the massacre victims of 1940.

In accordance with the Polish constitution, the speaker of the sejm (second chamber of the parliament) becomes acting president in case of the death of the incumbent president. In this instance, that post is currently held by Bronisław Komorowski, who is also the official opposition candidate for the scheduled presidential election later in the autumn this year. It is now however likely that the presidential election will be moved forward.

Sources: Le Monde, Euronews, ARD