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Opposition wants agriculture minister sacked

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 30.10.2014 08:30
Opposition parties want agriculture minister Marek Sawicki dismissed after he called farmers 'suckers' and at low levels of compensation for farms affected by the Russian food import ban.

Marek Sawicki (centre) with PM Ewa Kopacz and treasury minister Włodzimierz Karpiński at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday: photo - PAP/Leszek Szymański

Disapproval for the minister, a member of junior coalition partner Polish People's Party (PSL), peaked after his recent statement in which he called Polish farmers “suckers”, referring to those who prefer to sell their products at low prices at market instead of applying for compensation available after the announcement of the Russian import ban of EU food stuffs.

Sawicki, a member of the junior coalition partner Polish Peasants Party (PSL), apologised for the statement and was defended by both Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and Deputy PM Janusz Piechocinski.

The Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) wants a vote of no confidence against the 56 year-old minister.

“This is not because he said 'suckers,'” the SLD's Włodzimierz Czarzasty told the TVN broadcaster., “but for the low level of compensation from the EU for farmers affected by the Russian embargo, a lack of compensation from the state budget for these farmers”.

The SLD MP said that Sawicki was also to blame for the “failure to solve the problem of exceeding milk quotas by Polish producers, not introducing the EU agricultural risk management system, the lack of a general system of agricultural production insurance, which would be helpful now”.

Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the parliamentary caucus of Poland's largest opposition party Law and Justice (PiS), said they would vote against Sawicki in the no confidence motion.

“We think that Sawicki is a horrible minister, who turned his back on farmers,” Błaszczak said.

Smaller parties in the lower house of parliament (Sejm) have also indicated they will support a no confidence motion.

Marek Sawicki replaced Stanislaw Kalemba as agriculture minister in March 2014.

He was also agriculture minister from 2007 to 2012, though was forced to quit in connection with an alleged corruption scandal involving the PSL party. (kw/pg)

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