New Polish PM stresses modernisation, capital, energy in policy speech

2017-12-12 21:47 update: 2018-09-26, 19:07
Warsaw, December 12, 2017. Poland's incoming prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, delivers his policy speech in the Sejm (lower house).   Photo PAP/Tomasz Gzell
Warsaw, December 12, 2017. Poland's incoming prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, delivers his policy speech in the Sejm (lower house). Photo PAP/Tomasz Gzell
Poland's national sovereignty and tradition are an asset and not a burden in the struggle to modernise the country, the new prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said in his keynote speech in the Sejm (lower house) on Tuesday.

Poland' top politicians, including President Andrzej Duda, lower and upper house speakers and diplomatic corps officials came to the Sejm to hear the new prime minister's policy speech.

"In today's Europe, it is the conflicts of interests that play a key role. It is exactly this struggle that we can see. We try to use our national sovereignty and tradition as an asset in the fight for our national interests," the new prime minister said.

In his policy speech, Mateusz Morawiecki stressed that his government wanted a thorough modernisation of Poland. "I strongly believe that our national sovereignty and tradition are an asset in this modernisation effort, an asset and not a burden, as some wanted us to believe."

The prime minister stressed that Poland should play an important role in the ongoing global technological revolution as "it is the first industrial revolution in which Poland can play a serious role, and even become a leader in some areas," Morawiecki said.

"Today's economic policy determines whether in ten years' time Poland will be a producer of high technologies or only a market for foreign companies," the PM added.

Morawiecki also declared that his cabinet would continue the work of the previous government, espousing the same values and drawing guidance from the same signposts.

According to the new PM, the past two years - overseen by the ruling United Right camp - had been "good" for Poland and its citizens.

"We have grown accustomed to the capable implementation of positive change in Poland," Morawiecki observed, "and I would like to guarantee that our government will continue on this mission without pause."

As the incoming PM underlined, compared to PM Szydlo's team of ministers, his cabinet "is the same, its policy direction is the same, the signposts and the values are the same."

"So this is a government of continuation," he emphasised, "which will be conducting a policy of supporting Polish families."

In Morawiecki's view, development and social affairs "are one and the same."

"A flourishing economy is essential for conducting a generous social policy - as is the case now," the PM-designate said.

"Therefore, we are going to continue with our social programmes - in fact, we will be strengthening and developing them," Morawiecki announced.

We want Poles to work efficiently for decent pay, to have more time for their families and close ones, Morawiecki stressed.

The new PM said one of his government's top priorities was to "switch Poland's capitalism onto a western track", and emphasised that Poland should seek its own economic modernisation paths as it was "naive" to expect "others will do it for us." He also remarked that at around 2,000 working hours a year, Poles were among Europe's hardest working nations, and said his government wanted to replace long working hours with raised effectiveness and decent pay, giving employees more time to spend with their families, among other positive consequences.

"Poles are among Europe's most industrious nations. We are one of the hardest-working nations, we work about 2,000 hours a year. We don't want Poles to work the longest hours, we want them to work efficiently and for decent pay. We want them to have more time for their families and loved ones. This is why we need to switch Poland's capitalism onto a western track. This is the goal of our development strategy. Let's not be naive - others won't build us a strong economy," Morawiecki said.

The incoming PM pinned his future hopes on Poland's young generations, observing that skilled young operators driven by "enthusiasm and curiosity" were the driving force of economic growth. He added that his government's work would be "pointless" if it did not answer the needs of the young.

"Today the skills possessed by young Poles are the driving force behind our innovation, our modernisation. The key to success lies in their enthusiasm, their curiosity about the world, and their rivalry with the best," said Prime Minister Morawiecki.

Poland will not agree to being a periphery economy, he stated, stressing the importance of savings and investments.

"Today we need a switch from the capitalism of loan-based consumption, which foreign institutions installed here in the early 1990s, to the capitalism of savings and investments," the prime minister declared.

He pointed out that foreign earnings constituted between 4 and 5 percent of the country's GDP, saying it was "a wrong model".

Turning to the energy policy, Morawiecki urged the lower house to work together to meet Poland's energy interests. Despite an important place coal plays in the country's energy mix, Poland should also ensure the development of alternative energy sources, he added.

Thanks to its new infrastructure, including the recently-opened gas terminal in the north-western city of Swinoujscie, Poland got closer to energy independence, according to the PM, who said there was a chance Poland could become fully independent from Russia's gas supplies and its unfavourable pricing policy by 2022.

"We want to create a gas hub here to supply our neighbours. Our task is to build a connection with Norway," he went on to say, referring to the so-called Baltic Pipe that is aimed to supply Poland with Norwegian gas through a pipeline built under the sea.

Mateusz Morawiecki was sworn in by President Andrzej Duda as the new Polish prime minister on Monday. He replaces Beata Szydlo, who resigned from her post last week after two years at the helm of the government. Szydlo has been appointed a deputy PM. (PAP)

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