Poland appoints new ministers in sweeping reshuffle
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday swore in new foreign, finance, defence, interior, health and environment ministers following a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle.
PM Mateusz Morawiecki (left), President Andrzej Duda (third left) and members of the new conservative government. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz
The rejig comes just over halfway through the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government’s term in office.
PiS is way ahead in opinion polls as Poland enjoys strong economic growth with unemployment at a record low. But Warsaw is at loggerheads with the European Union on a range of issues, including controversial changes to Poland's justice system.
During the swearing-in ceremony in Warsaw, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said: "It is a priority for us to build a secure and strong Poland. We do not want to be a doctrinaire government, a government of extremes.”
He added: “I would like our government to be remembered as a good government for Polish families and a good government for Polish security.”
Economist Teresa Czerwińska was on Tuesday sworn in as Poland’s new finance minister. Until now Morawiecki doubled as the country’s finance minister.
Former Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak was appointed new defence minister, replacing Antoni Macierewicz, a prominent figure in the ruling PiS party but one who has had tense relations with President Duda. Błaszczak said earlier on Tuesday that Duda had had a say in the reshuffle.
The interior minister's portfolio was taken over by PiS party stalwart Joachim Brudziński, up to now a deputy parliamentary Speaker.
Witold Waszczykowski, whose time in office has seen Poland embroiled in a dispute with the EU over the rule of law, was replaced as foreign minister by political scientist and lecturer Jacek Czaputowicz.
Łukasz Szumowski replaces Konstanty Radziwiłł as health minister. Radziwiłł and a group of resident doctors had failed to arrive at an agreement amid an ongoing protest over healthcare spending, pay and conditions.
Henryk Kowalczyk, until now a Cabinet minister heading the Government Standing Committee, takes over as environment minister from Jan Szyszko, who has been locked in a row with the EU. The European Commission has claimed that cutting down trees in the ancient Białowieża forest in Poland's northeast violated the European Union’s birds and habitats protection rules.
Morawiecki himself was sworn in as prime minister in December. Law and Justice politicians said that the change of prime minister reflected the government’s determination to focus on the economy over the next two years.
In other appointments on Tuesday, Jadwiga Emilewicz became the minister of entrepreneurship and technology; Andrzej Adamczyk was appointed minister of infrastructure; while Jerzy Kwieciński became minister for investment and development.