Poland reshuffles government to ease tensions with EU

  • Petr Boháček
  • 10.1.2018 13:50

Polish Foreign, Defence and Environment ministers resigned amid a wide cabinet reshuffle on 9 January, only hours ahead of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels over the launch of Article 7 proceedings against Poland. The reshuffle signals an attempt of the Law and Justice government (PiS) to ease tensions with the European Union.

Both Foreign and Environment ministers, Witold Waszczykowski and Jan Szyszko, were involved in various disputes between Brussels and Warsaw, including logging the Bialowieza forest, refugee quotas or the rule of law. The surprising replacement of nationalist Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz, who was behind purges of army commanders or scrapped helicopter deal with France, by Mariusz Błaszczak is viewed as a sacrifice by PiS President Jarosław Kaczyński and symbolically lifts political strength of President Andrzej Duda and PM Morawiecki. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, a lifelong political scientist, will replace Waszczykowski as the country’s top diplomat. In the short-term, the new ministerial figures are likely to improve relations with the EU ahead of the anticipated tough negotiations over the EU’s seven-year budget.

About author: Petr Boháček

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