More Potholes On Poland's Road To The Eu

Big-carmaker plant closings, plus political rifts, spell trouble

Ford Motor Co.'s 1994 decision to build an auto-assembly plant in the Polish town of Plonsk, just outside of Warsaw, was a godsend. The 400 new jobs provided a welcome boost to a small town still struggling to overcome the atrophy wrought by nearly half a century of communism. Plonsk even invested $275,000 of its modest budget to help train workers to put together Ford Transit vans and Escort compacts from imported kits. But now, Ford says it will close the plant in July--and the citizens of Plonsk are understandably unhappy. "It is a pity Ford is leaving," says Plonsk's mayor, Marian Michniewicz.

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