Prime Minister Beata Szydło: We are a government which has put the Polish rural areas on the real path of development

We must take care of Polish rural areas as of the greatest treasure, emphasized Prime Minister Beata Szydło at the national conference entitled Polish Rural Areas Assembly in Wojnicz. During the meeting, the Prime Minister listed a number of actions for Polish rural areas and agriculture, including the Family 500+ programme, increasing the lowest pension from the Agricultural Social Security Fund, earlier advance payments for EU subsidies.

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Photo: P. Tracz / Chancellery of the Prime Minister

In Polish rural areas, the Polish national identity is particularly cherished. The words: God, Honour, Fatherland are still pillars of everyday life here, which we can feel at every moment, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło to farmers, thanking them for support and work for Poland. She also added: Today Polish rural areas are a bastion of these values, which are based on respect for the human, family, faith and love for motherland – the values we are increasingly missing in today’s world. Thanks to Polish rural areas, we will consolidate these values which are still alive. Thanks to these values Poland will be a strong country on the map of Europe and the World.

We are a government which has put the Polish rural areas on the real path of development. There is still much to be done ahead of us. We are only at the beginning of the road, but we knew from the beginning of our work that we must remember those who spoke to us about these priorities and key issues, when we met during the campaign.

Rural areas stand not only for agriculture,” stated Prime Minister Beata Szydło. “Rural areas stand for culture, infrastructure, health care. Rural areas are a great wealth which we must not only remember, but also nourish,” emphasised the head of the government, adding that: “We must care for it like for the greatest treasure.

Real changes for farmers and Polish rural areas

More than 36% of children who benefit from the Family 500+ programme are children who live in the countryside. These 1,360,000 children have already received over PLN 4 million. In the countryside this support goes to 63% of people under 18. This is the greatest support for the Polish rural areas ever, informed the Prime Minister. Next year this support will be twice as high because the programme will be implemented from 1 January. “This is real help for the Polish families, for the families living in the countryside, said Beata Szydło.

We also remember about the seniors, so we have prepared and are already implementing the programme Medicines for seniors 75+, stressed Prime Minister Beata Szydło, adding that thanks to the programme people aged 75+ will receive free drugs. Free medicines can be obtained from 1 September 2016.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the government’s decision that from next year on the lowest pension will amount to PLN 1,000. I know it is not much, but if someone receives PLN 882.56, and so is the lowest pension from the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund, an increase of PLN 117.44 is much indeed. Today we can do just that, but we will work to make pensions even higher, declared the head of the government. These changes will benefit 350,000 people who collect their pensions from the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund.

We have introduced the minimum hourly rate, which after adjustment will be about PLN 13. It is important for those who work on mandate contracts and contracts for specific work, said Beata Szydło.

Speaking of future solutions for farmers, the Prime Minister mentioned the new crops insurance rules – package insurance subsidised by up to 65%. In the budget for 2017 we have earmarked PLN 900 million for that purpose, informed the head of the government.

Now we are paying out advance area payments for the 2016-2017 season. As of today we have paid more than PLN 6 billion, said the Prime Minister. The most recent data of the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture show that already about 1 million farmers have money in their accounts. By the end of November farmers will receive ca. PLN 9.5 billion. The Prime Minister also talked about raising the reimbursement rate of a part of the excise duty on agricultural fuel to PLN 1. It was one of the demands of the National Council of Agricultural Chambers. We have responded to this request positively, because we declared it and we are putting it into practice – we want dialogue. We listen to people and we talk to them, that is why we responded also to this request positively, said Beata Szydło.

We have repeatedly stressed that the state may not be weak towards the strong and strong towards the weak. We protect farmers against unfair practices on the part of large retail chains by virtue of the law. This way, we eliminate dumping price pressure, shelf fees, and very long payment periods, said Prime Minister Beata Szydło. The Prime Minister spoke about the Polish Product Act that promotes Polish food not only in Poland, but also abroad. “We have opened 23 markets for our products,” informed the head of the government. The Prime Minister also spoke about support, inter alia for producers of milk, fruit and vegetables.

Equal opportunities for the rural population

Rural areas are not only farmers and agriculture, said Prime Minister Szydło about the activities of the government that will also support the Polish rural areas.

We have just started the reform of education. An important element of this reform is to protect small rural schools, not to have them liquidated. So these centres of social and cultural life could develop calmly, stressed Beata Szydło. She added that it was one of the important elements of the changes in education.

We are faced with another important reform: of health care. In this reform, we place particular emphasis on strengthening primary health care, which is important in rural areas, and the development and strengthening of poviat hospitals. It is another important step towards a better life in Polish rural areas, said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło emphasised that this year her government introduced many changes that covered rural areas as well. The Ministry of Sport and Tourism introduced the Club programme which supports and strengthens small sports clubs, said Prime Minister Szydło and declared that it would continue.

Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński piloted support for the development of folk universities – it is an important dignity programme. We refer to tradition but we want these folk universities to build modern Polish rural areas on tradition, said Beata Szydło. She added that state institutions were restored in the rural areas. We will restore for example 150 police stations, she said about the initiative of the Minister of the Interior and Administration Mariusz Błaszczak. We will also develop infrastructure. We are launching a programme for the construction of local roads, declared the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło considered the Responsible Development Plan with many elements dedicated to rural areas as a priority government programme.

We took up the affairs of ordinary Poles – our affairs.

We want Polish rural areas to be based on values that are still so vivid: family, faith, tradition, but also modernity. We want a modern, traditional faithful Polish rural areas. When during the election campaign I told you at the meetings that everyone is to have equal opportunities, I said it with full confidence. This assumption of equalisation of opportunities, social justice, seeing every citizen, lies at the core of our agenda, said Prime Minister Szydło.

We consistently and calmly carry out the changes that you expect. We shall not abandon the reform route. Anyone who wants the good and the development of Polish rural areas is invited to cooperation. The development of the Polish countryside, a decent life of Poles, ordinary citizens, is our top priority, ended her speech the head of the government.

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