Saturday

21st May 2022

The new Polish government: What to expect?

  • Ewa Kopacz: A new face in Warsaw but much of Poland's EU policy is set to remain the same (Photo: Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów)

Poland's new prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, presented her government’s agenda on Wednesday (1 October) in a speech in front of the parliament that showed that on EU questions Warsaw is unlikely to look much different.

Kopacz was appointed after her fore-runner, Donald Tusk, was chosen to chair the European Council, a job he will take on later this autumn.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The biggest issues on her agenda are the Ukrainian crisis and relations with Russia. She said she stands for a “pragmatic” approach to the conflict in Ukraine, “but will not agree to a change in Europe's borders by force”.

Kopacz did not mention the EU sanctions imposed on Russia but the foreign ministry, now headed by Grzegorz Schetyna who took over from Radek Sikorski, has indicated it will not change tack.

“We will be consistent in our support of the sanctions, and in case of further escalation in the East, Poland will even opt for strengthening the sanctions”, Rafal Trzaskowski, secretary of state for EU affairs, told EUobserver.

Kopacz, for her part, said “it’s our national interest not to let the EU position [on Russia] become diluted, although we also cannot let Poland become isolated on the European scene by having unrealistic expectations”.

The new government will support development of the energy union, an idea often raised by Tusk, and favours the EU-US trade agreement (TTIP) because “in the light of Ukrainian crisis it is crucial for both Poland and Europe to have stronger ties with the US”, Kopacz said.

Her remarks were welcomed by Danuta Huebner, a centre-right Polish MEP and veteran of politics in Brussels.

“It is a good news, but it’s also not a change compared to Tusk’s approach. We must bear in mind however that we are not yet in the advanced stage of the negotiations and specific issues might emerge where Poland might be less optimistic”, she said.

Kopacz’s speech came amid a backdrop of protests by Polish miners.

Talking about a coal-based economy, she said her government would not support EU climate goals as it would make the economy less competitive and lead to a rise in energy prices.

“There is no overall shift in Kopacz’s approach to important European issues from what Tusk and his government stood for”, said Renata Mienkowska, an expert from the Centre for Political Analysis.

“This has both positive and negative consequences: Poland will continue to be stubborn when it comes to combating climate change, but will also remain a serious partner in the biggest European projects".

Kopacz was also reluctant to mention any specific date for Poland joining the eurozone.

“It is a sensible stand, although we should remember that her chief economic advisor is rather sceptical on this issue”, Danuta Huebner said.

Polish-German relations were not mentioned, but many commentators suggest that foreign minister Schetyna will continue the policy of predecessor, as he has little experience on the international scene.

“Unlike Sikorski, Schetyna never possessed any international aspirations”, noted Ryszard Czarnecki, a Polish MEP in the ECR Group.

“My impression is that he will take the opportunity as foreign affairs minister to focus on rebuilding his position in the party rather than implementing a new vision of Polish foreign policy”, he added.

Kopacz has appointed five new ministers out of 18. These are: Grzegorz Schetyna (foreign affairs); Cezary Grabarczyk (justice); Maria Wasiak (infrastructure and development); Teresa Piotrowska (interior); and Andrzej Halicki (administration and digitalisation).

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us