Exposé of Prime Minister Beata Szydło

“For the government of the Republic of Poland, the safety of Polish women and Polish men is of utmost and paramount importance,” said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. The Prime Minister presented her cabinet’s plans and priorities in the Sejm. Next to the security of Poland, she placed main emphasis on the country’s development.


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Photo: Chancellery of the Prime Minister

Poland’s security

Today, I am standing in front of all you here as one of you. I am standing in front of you in a unique situation, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło referring to terrorist attacks in France that took place just few days ago.

The head of government emphasised that she takes over the office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland at a time when the values of Western civilization are under attack. When our world – built upon the values of democracy, freedom, and tolerance – is being attacked by those who do not respect the others’ right to freedom. We do not give our consent to such a vision of the world. Therefore, we shall jointly cooperate with European countries in the fight against terrorism, stated Prime Minister Beata Szydło. For the government of the Republic of Poland, the safety of Polish women and Polish men is of utmost and paramount importance, she added.

A good change for Poland

We have to say it loud and clear – Polish politics has to be different. Humility, work, temperance, prudence in action, and responsibility. And, first and foremost, listening to the citizens. These are the principles we shall follow. No more arrogance of those in power, no more hubris, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło, emphasising that, on October 25th, Poles opted for such change. I am here to serve and support those ordinary, daily affairs of my fellow countrymen, she added.

3 x development

I can sum up the agenda of our government in one sentence. Firstly – development, secondly – development, thirdly – development. We must break out of the middle income trap, said the Prime Minister. Today, we enter into a four-year contract with the people of Poland. If the Polish people are satisfied with the results of the change we propose, I do hope and I do believe they shall extend this contract for the next four-year term.

Agenda for the first 100 days of our government

Firstly, granting the PLN 500 per child benefit starting from the second child, and in low income families – with the first child. A child is not a cost, it is an investment, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło referring to first decisions to be made by the government under her leadership.

Other government actions planned for the first 100 days include lowering the retirement age to 60 years for women and 65 years for men, raising the tax-free allowance to PLN 8,000, providing free medicine for the elderly aged 75 and older, and increasing the minimum hourly wage to PLN 12.

We shall talk with the Polish people as we used to talk in the electoral campaign. We shall talk, we shall listen, and - most importantly - we shall hear what the Polish people are saying to us. Together, we can, said the Prime Minister.

Economy

Both the entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs are facing very serious obstacles today. No shareholders' equity, no borrowing powers, red-tape barriers, breaching the rules of fair market competition,” said Prime Minister Beata Szydło in the Sejm. As she pointed out, all these obstacles can be overcome to a very large extent. This is especially important for young people, as we want them to be willing and able to find their life chances in our country, she added.

The Prime Minister announced, among others, the introduction of clear and transparent rules relating to public procurement and the reduction of CIT rate for small businesses to 15 percent.

We have a manifesto in place that shall enable us to turn small companies into medium-sized ones, and medium into large ones, while large companies shall successfully compete on the global market, said the Prime Minister.  This manifesto includes, inter alia, double capital allowances for entrepreneurs who shall reinvest their incomes in the development of their businesses.  This in turn shall enable us to activate a great reserve for development.

Another great reserve is the intellectual potential of Polish people. It can be utilised in a better way. Science must cooperate closely with business, said the Prime Minister.

She announced the establishment of the National Forum of Entrepreneurs to the Prime Minister. We must secure the scientific and research base for small and medium-sized enterprises, said the Prime Minister.

“PLN trillion for development” project

During her exposé, Prime Minister Beata Szydło talked about the activation of Polish capital earmarked for development – with the amount of PLN trillion being the symbol of this great enterprise. We are talking about a significant increase in the share of investment in GDP. Today, it amounts to ca. 20%, which is not much. 

The Prime Minister emphasised that, first and foremost, it is necessary to use European funds more effectively. The second resource which the government plans to focus on in terms of investments are the funds of banks. This refers to the effective use of a cheap loan scheme for development purposes, modelled on financial instruments used by the European Central Bank. The application of this method calls for good cooperation with the national bank, but it shall significantly reduce the credit gap that today limits both market entry and development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

The third resource is a few hundred billion in companies’ savings that may be earmarked for investments. The system of investment incentives, investment depreciations within a year, and even double investment depreciation in the case of innovative investments should support the effective use of those funds. This will lead to the activation of bank capital and enterprise capital.

The fourth resource will be activated through strengthening the National Economy Bank (Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego). The Prime Minister announced a change of the formula of the present Polish Investments for Development company, which hereinafter will be called the Investments of Poland. 

The fifth resource are large untapped capabilities of state-owned companies. We can use them through the establishment of an investment fund, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło.  

The activated capital is to serve the development of Polish entrepreneurship. It is to be aimed at the reindustrialisation of Poland.  It is also about the restoration of the maritime economy and supporting these areas and sectors of our economy that are most likely to develop, such as the energy industry, chemical and defense sector, creative industries and the IT services sector. 

Social policy

Our government shall strongly support Polish families, declared Prime Minister Beata Szydło. Families, not only the young ones, need jobs and decent wages, housing, and good health care, explained the Prime Minister. She announced a pact on increasing wages, concluded under the auspices of the State by and between labour organizations and entrepreneurs. The government will also strive to eliminate junk contracts, raise minimum wage and introduce a 12 PLN minimum hourly rate.

Beata Szydło declared a housing programme focused on the construction of cheap apartments. It consists in the construction of cheap housing developments on the plots that shall be rendered available for a nominal fee by the State and various State-related institutions, she emphasised. Apartments built this way, with the use of bank loans – which I would like to stress, as no budgetary resources are to be earmarked thereto – shall be rented, and the rent shall include also long-term credit repayment, equal to the gradual apartment buyout, explained the Prime Minister.

Healthcare

In the Prime Minister’s opinion, the current model of healthcare organization and funding has proved to be inefficient. We shall come back to the programme initiated by late Professor Zbigniew Religa. The patient must not be just an item in the balance sheet, the physician must not be the accountant, and the hospital – a factory or company. Healthcare cannot be oriented to generate profit, emphasised the Prime Minister.

There is no other way than returning to the state budget financing, together with its specific restrictions and requirements, said Beata Szydło. She also stated that it’s necessary to establish a state medical rescue service. The Prime Minister announced the implementation of a program to introduce dental and medical facilities at schools.

I fully appreciate the role of doctors and I am convinced that they should be highly compensated. I also recognize fully the utmost importance of the work of nurses, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals, whose present incomes are too low,” said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also announced the continued development of the network of kindergartens. We strive to ensure they are free of charge. At least for families with low and medium, as well as slightly higher than average, incomes, emphasised the Prime Minister.

Public media

Citizens have the right to receive reliable and objective information, noted the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister stressed that public media must have the means enabling them to fulfil their mission in a thoughtful and reliable way.

She stated that media play a critical role in social life. Most of them are private media that – as a rule – should not be affected by political authorities, she noted. We respect and shall continue to respect these principles, she declared.

Support for Polish farmers

Prime Minister Beata Szydło announced that during the first 100 days, the government will focus on the issue of farmers’ social security and the protection of Polish lands. We have to tackle the issue of equalising subsidies for farmers. We cannot accept the situation where Polish farmers have different, meaning worse, operating conditions than farmers operating in other EU countries, stressed Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

Equalising opportunities in rural areas and small cities

Our government is clearly against what is sometimes referred to as winding up the State, schools, libraries, community centres, post offices, police stations, transport, communication. This process must be stopped, and in many instances it must be reversed, stated Prime Minister Beata Szydło. We must strive to return to a situation when we earmarked almost 3% of GDP to the support for rural areas, she added. The Prime Minister stressed that it’s necessary to equalise opportunities and standards of living.

Education and science

In her exposé, Prime Minister Beata Szydło referred to the issue of abolishing the compulsory school education for six-year-olds. Polish parents shall have the right to choose, as they are the ones to know their children best. They shall decide whether their children should go to school at the age of six or seven, stressed the Prime Minister.

Another important announcement made during the Prime Minister Beata Szydło’s exposé is the reintroduction of an eight-year primary school and four-year secondary school system. We shall make Polish schools red-tape-free. Polish school is to teach and educate, said the Prime Minister. She also referred to the issue of restoring Polish vocational education system at a secondary and tertiary level. Prime Minister Beata Szydło stressed the need to take the path leading away from the test system.

One of the first decisions of the Minister of National Education shall be to do away with the so-called ‘charter hours’, announced Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

It is the school that should shape knowledge and attitude. A strong sense of national identity and patriotism should be a part of this attitude, said the Prime Minister with regard to the function to be played by school. “We must return to the comprehensive teaching of history and the classic canon of literature.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło announced changes to higher education. Researchers cannot be clerks. Researchers should be given a chance to educate the young generation of Poles, to conduct their own research that will be utilised by Polish economy. We should appreciate them and make sure that they have a chance, both in material and organizational terms, said the Prime Minister. She also stressed the need to implement the program that establishes freedom of research and freedom of expression.

Education and culture policy

Prime Minister Beata Szydło announced that education and culture policy must serve the reinforcement of patriotic attitudes. She stated that it must generously benefit from the opportunities offered by the sphere of culture for reconstruction and construction of Polish remembrance, giving it necessary value and showing the richness of national heritage.

With the support of public funds, we need to create works that would tell Poland and the world about our outstanding compatriots our heroes who will serve as inspiration for the next generations of the Poles. 

We should not be ashamed to build the ethos of Polish heroes - let us always remember about them, said Prime Minister in the Sejm.

During the programme statement, Prime Minister emphasized that Polish artists must feel appreciated by the state. Both those creating high-brow and those who deal with local art and devote themselves to educate the youth. 

Justice and secret services

According to Prime Minister, often do the Poles tend to say that the Polish justice system is unjust. It is not just to those who are weak, who are poor, who cannot afford law firms’ counselling. To those who honestly pay their taxes, but perhaps by mistake they fail to meet all the requirements and then they are severely judged, said Beata Szydło.

Is it not a shame for the Polish State and for us all, that today in Poland one can take children away from their parents just because the family has a low income?, asked Prime Minister.

According to the Head of Government, entrepreneurs are waiting for a clear and efficient system of economic justice. Sometimes, however, it does happen that the highest sentences prescribed by law are given to people just because they fight against corruption. Against corruption which is one of the most serious types of crime,  destroying the State and the economy. Here the changes are indispensable, said the Head of Government.

Beata Szydło underlined that changes related to the legislative process are necessary. It must be protected against errors and against making laws dictated by lobbyists, said the Head of Government.

Prime Minister declared the speeding up of the process of modernization of the uniformed services. Adequate supervision of special services will be restored as well.

Changes to the governmental administration

We aim to ensure the development of the country, of Polish economy; therefore, the Ministry of Development shall become the focal point of the new management mechanism, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. The new ministry will be formed on the basis of a merger of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development and the Ministry of Economy. Ultimately, it will take over certain tasks of the Ministry of State Treasury. The implementation of a governmental investment plan will be its main task.

Infrastructural investments shall be supervised by the Ministry of Infrastructure separated from the Ministry of Regional Development, yet entrusted with major construction sector tasks. Carrying out the housing programme, apart from the construction of motorways, express roads, and railway modernization, shall constitute the main programme implemented by the ministry, emphasized Prime Minister.

The establishment of the Ministry of Energy shall be yet another change. The power sector will be one of the major recipients of funds earmarked to the development. The establishment of this ministry as a separate authority is primarily due to the strategic nature of the subject of its operation and an enormous number of issues to be tackled in this field. Among these problems is also the issue of mining industry. The Minister of Energy shall take care of this matter first. We do have some concepts in place to solve this difficult problem and in consultation with the employees of mining industry, we shall proceed to implement them, said the Head of Government.

Prime Minister explained the establishment of the new Ministry of Maritime Affairs by underlining the need to reconstruct Polish inland waterway transport and maritime affairs. We want the Polish rivers to become broad and wide ways for barges filled with goods, and afloat in Polish shipyards, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

Moreover, the previous Ministry of Administration and Digitisation will be replaced by the Ministry of Digitisation.

Security and foreign policy

As for foreign policy regarding defence and related national security issues, we shall be guided by three priorities, we shall have three objectives to follow. Firstly, safety and security in its classical meaning, when the armed conflict, though now frozen, is pending at the borders of our country. Secondly, economic security. Especially in the energy sector, but also in IT industry. Thirdly and finally, ensuring the State its proper status and position on the international arena, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. She emphasized that the expansion of Polish military forces and investments serving the development of Polish economy represents an important issue. The efforts aimed to strengthen NATO's eastern flank are significant as well.

Referring to the question of energy security, Prime Minister Beata Szydło underlined that it was going to be based on Polish coal, including brown coal. What is more, Head of Government announced the completion and expansion of the existing gas terminal and a possibility of erecting a new one near the Tricity.

We shall oppose the division of Europe, both within the European Union and beyond (...) We shall be pushing for a strong Poland’s position on the international arena, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. She added that in this regard the government would actively collaborate with President Andrzej Duda.

The refugee crisis also reminds us that we shall be clear on the issue of solidarity. Solidarity consists in sharing good practice and being ready to provide support in emergency or crisis situations (...) However, one cannot call solidarity the attempts to export the problems that some states had brought up, without any involvement of other states to be burdened with them, suggested Beata Szydło.

Another aim of the cabinet of the Prime Minister Beata Szydło is a reconstruction of the diplomatic apparatus and contact with the Polish diaspora by all possible means. I would also like to clearly declare that Poland shall protect Poles living abroad, strive to ensure they are treated properly and, in case of an emergency, are safely evacuated to the country, stressed the Head of Government.

Governmental audit

In her speech, Prime Minister Beata Szydło emphasized that it was also the duty of government to approach to their obligations honestly and assume responsibility for what being declared. She announced an audit following the work of the previous government. We will tell the Poles what the situation of the Polish state actually is, revealed the Head of Government.

Readiness to cooperate

Prime Minister Beata Szydło declared that the government was ready for cooperation based on consent and agreement. She called all Members of the Parliament for substantial and peaceful cooperation. Today Poles want cooperation and dialogue. I am sure that together we can deliver on the challenges our country has to face, the Head of Government claimed.


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