Polish PM fires top ministers to reduce tensions with EU
12 January, 2018
Poland's ruling conservatives fired several senior ministers on 9 January in an apparent move to patch up relations with the EU, strained over accusations that Warsaw is subverting the rule of law.
Facing unprecedented EU legal action over the alleged politicisation of Poland's judiciary, the Law and Justice (PiS) party may want to defuse tensions in other areas, such as environmental policy or defence. Shortly after announcing details of the government reshuffle, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki left for his first face-to-face talks with officials in Brussels, where his dinner with the head of the bloc's executive arm, Jean-Claude Juncker, was due to finish late in the evening.
The Polish government changes came as the EU embarks on negotiations on a new seven-year budget that will decide which Member States get what out of the bloc's coffers - with Poland currently the biggest net recipient. President Andrzej Duda, acting on recommendations by Morawiecki, dismissed Environment Minister Jan Szyszko, who has spearheaded large-scale logging in an ancient forest that prompted action by the European Court of Justice. Also losing their job were Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz, a former anti-communist crusader facing criticism over delays in modernising the army as well as conflicts with top generals, and Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski.
The reshuffle followed the appointment of former bank CEO and finance minister Morawiecki as prime minister last month at the midpoint of the parliamentary term.