Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki: Our goal is a thorough modernisation of Poland

Our government will ambitiously seek to improve Poland, declared the prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, presenting his cabinet’s action plan to the Sejm.

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Photo: P. Tracz / Chancellery of the Prime Minister

Some of the aspects covered in the prime minister’s policy speech included improving the condition of health service, strengthening of Poland’s role in global economy, construction of affordable housing, increase in wages, support for entrepreneurs, infrastructure development and improved environmental protection. The prime minister also appealed to reject divisions and to create a community for Poland.

The Sejm, by an absolute majority of votes, granted the vote of confidence for the new Council of Ministers.

Government of continuation

In the beginning of his policy speech in the parliament, the prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki thanked Beata Szydło for years of joint hard work. Morawiecki stated that she has been and will remain a symbol of the solidarity revolution that restored dignified living conditions to Polish families. On behalf of the whole cabinet I would like to thank you for your herculean effort, for your sensibility and unyielding belief in the process of repair of Poland, said the prime minister to Beata Szydło.

So this is a government of continuation, which will be pursuing a policy of supporting Polish families, stated Morawiecki. He also added that development and social affairs are one and the same thing. In his opinion, a thriving economy is a key requirement of a generous social policy.

It is my desire that the government of the United Right was the government of the united Poland. The government and the prime minister should serve the whole country and each citizen of the Republic of Poland. There is room for everyone, there is only one Poland, the Republic is a common good of all citizens, stressed Morawiecki.

Protection of national identity

This profound communal dimension is inscribed in our tradition, in our history of helping the exiles. Żegota, that saved our Jewish brethren or Solidarity, are clear testimony to what it means to be Polish and to the essence of community, said the prime minister. The head of government stated that strengthening of Poland’s national identity is a duty towards those who sacrificed their lives to build Poland. It is also a duty towards future generations.

According to the prime minister, Poland cannot give up its identity and the world should learn more about Poland's input in the struggle for freedom and justice and for the most important values of western civilisation. Our history is one of the most inspiring in the world, said Morawiecki.

According to the prime minister, the conflict of interests plays a key role in Europe today. It is exactly this struggle that we see and we would like to use our national sovereignty and tradition as an asset in the fight for our national interests he declared.      

Morawiecki emphasised that Poland should participate in technological revolution and that it can play a key role, even taking the lead in some areas.

It is the current economic policy that determines whether in ten years' time Poland will be a producer of advanced technology or a market for foreign companies, he said.

Centre for Strategic Analysis

Morawiecki declared that his cabinet would ambitiously seek to improve Poland. This requires an establishment of a Centre for Strategic Analysis. We must learn to draft coherent legislation and to make decisions based on long-term development strategies, he stressed. The prime minister stated that the aim is to strike a happy medium between a minimum state that abandons its citizens and a heavy, bureaucratic state.

Decent wages and the importance of the young generation

Poland is one of the countries where people work the most. We are on of the most hardworking nations — we work about 2 thousand hours a year, informed the prime minister. He also added, We don't want the Polish citizens to be working the largest number of hours. We want them to work most effectively for a decent wage. We want them to have more time for their relatives and family.

The head of government stated that the Polish capitalism should be moved to Western tracks, which constitutes the aim of the development strategy. Let’s face it — we cannot count on others to build our strong economy, he said. He also declared that if Poles are to earn more, it is necessary to establish an original strategy of achieving modern economy.

According to the prime minister, young generations are a guarantee of development. In his view, the abilities demonstrated by young Poles power the country’s innovativeness and modernity. Their enthusiasm, their curiosity about the world and competing with the best are key to success. All our hard work is for nothing if it does not answer the needs of young people, said Morawiecki.

Fight for fresh air

The head of government stated that in many regions of Poland (mainly in Lesser Poland, Silesia and Mazovia) he witnessed a dense stinging fog covering the country. He also saw children returning from school, wearing facemasks. In his opinion, fresh air constitutes a civilizational challenge and a yardstick of Poland's maturity.

Air, water and soil do not belong solely to us, but also to future generations. And we will be appraised on the basis of the condition in which we leave the environment to our grandchildren, said Morawiecki. He also stressed that not everyone can afford cleaner fuels, therefore the programme of fighting smog entails the support of the poorest citizens, who cannot afford to insulate houses, replace windows or buy non-toxic fuel. The prime minister declared that his cabinet aims to eliminate energetic poverty and to improve the quality of life of all citizens.

Health service

Morawiecki informed that health service is the top priority among future key development areas. He stated that dignified living is not possible without efficient health service. That is why in the forthcoming years we will lead to a substantial increase in health service expenditures to amount to 6% of GDP, he declared. In his opinion, this strategy answers the justified demands of doctors and nurses. Additional four billion złotys was spent this year to shorten the waiting lines and to buy medical equipment.

The prime minister listed cancer and cardiovascular diseases as the most common causes of death in Poland. He announced that more emphasis would be placed on prevention and treatment. He also declared that a National Institute of Oncology and a National Cardiological Health Programme would be established. These should modernise the Polish health service. The prime minister also stipulated that the money must be adequately spent and that the system financed by the government must be efficient. That is why the system must be secured.

Energy security

The prime minister reminded that Polan’'s power industry is based on fuel and that the government does not wish to change it. He stressed that this was important for Silesia, Zagłębie region, as well as the whole country. The head of government announced long-term reforms that should turn Silesia into breeding ground for new technologies.

For the sake of our future generations we would like to make sure that alternative energies can be freely developed in Poland as well. Not in the name of ideology, but on condition that such a strategy is economically justified and profitable for Poland, not cost-generating, he stressed. To achieve this, natural resources provided by Poland’s geographical location shall be used. According to the prime minister, national energy security is the key requirement of sovereignty.

The head of government pointed out that the Świnoujście LNG terminal is among projects that will enhance Poland's energy security. A developed gas infrastructure might make Poland a beating heart of the region. Morawiecki declared that he intended to create a gas hub that will supply Poland's neighbouring countries.

Poland as one of global champions

The prime minister Morawiecki stated that in the last 25 years, Poland had grown dependent on foreign capital, which colonised the country. In his opinion, this results from the inaccurate model adopted in the Third Polish Republic. We are and always will be part of the West, but this does not mean that we should agree with this model. We want Poland to play a key role in economy, not a peripheral one, he stressed.

According to the prime minister, Poland needs to shift from capitalism of consumption on credit installed by foreign institutions at the beginning of the 1990’s to capitalism of savings and investments. This is a struggle for Polish property and Polish capital, he added. In his view, Poland will face a great challenge. I’m asking everyone for help. Let’s reclaim Poland together, he appealed.

Morawiecki also informed that in the third quarter of this year Poland’s economy has grown by 5% GDP, without a substantial increase of debt. This might be the first year in 28 years when the increase of public debt will be equal to zero, or slightly above it. We achieved this on a 150th anniversary of the Marshal's birth, following his formula of romanticism of plans and positivism of means, said the head of government.

According to Morawiecki, economy and public finance have become more and more balanced; there are optimistic consumption tendencies and positive trends in reduction of inequality. More and more people take active part in consumption and there is an increasing number of people optimistic about the future.

Amenities for entrepreneurs

Micro-, small and medium sized enterprises that maintain millions of Polish citizens are at the heart of our economic philosophy. I have an important message for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs — all honest entrepreneurs can expect to be protected by law and to be granted equal terms of competition, stressed Morawiecki.

He informed that a whole package of regulations that will simplify economic functioning, including a Business Constitution, should be introduced.

According to the prime minister, the state and its institutions are necessary to defend free market from corruption, tax swindles, monopolists or foreign unfair competition. In addition, without the support of fair courts, an honest entrepreneur has no chance against mafia and monopolists. Therefore, such institutions as Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, economic crime departments within the police and prosecutor’s office and fair and efficient courts are important.

Development of modern transport

The prime minister Morawiecki announced that Poland should be a country where “big projects” are carried out. One of the strategies is the construction of the Central Communication Port (CPK) — the Solidarity Airport. The CPK is a key element of Poland’s transport development strategy. It is an opportunity not only for the aviation sector, but it also encompasses development of railway network. It is a first step to make Poland the home of the most modern transport system in Europe, open to such innovations as autonomous transport or vacuum rail.

The Central Communication Port will be like Gdynia in the heart of Poland, said the head of government.

He also pointed out that seaports in Tricity, Szczecin and Świnoujście needed to be reconstructed. The last of the listed cities is going to be connected with the remaining part of the country by a tunnel. This will be another crucial step in turning Poland into Europe's logistics centre, he announced.

Morawiecki informed that the construction of highways and expressways, including A1, S3 and S7, would be continued. He also mentioned the construction of Via Carpatia — a route linking Klaipėda in Lithuania with Thessaloniki in Greece — that will be passing through Poland.

Moreover, he announced an increase of expenditures on commune and regional transport, including road and railway transport. The prime minister said that he counts on cooperation with all local authorities.

Agricultural and rural development

The prime minister emphasised that the cabinet will focus on Polish rural areas and agriculture. In his opinion, these constitute not only Poland’s, but also Europe's treasure. Our government will apply for adequate budget within the common agricultural policy. A budget that will ensure uniform competition conditions for Polish farmers and that will level the amount of subsidies with the Union average, he declared.

One of the challenges faced by agriculture is African swine fever, overrunning Central Europe. The prime minister announced implementation of strategies that will help to fight the disease and limit its spread.

The Polish government will also aim to protect Polish land, modernise farms, develop entrepreneurship in rural areas, develop infrastructure and improve access to such amenities as the Internet, schools, crèches and active cultural institutions.

Continuation of social schemes

In the last two years, the implementation of various social programmes, mainly the Family 500+, resulted in decreased level of inequality. Social market economy in Poland has only been thriving for the last two years. Now we might say it's prosperous and profitable, said Morawiecki.

The prime minister announced that the most important solutions allowing a healthy economic and social balance should be established at the Social Dialogue Council.

Cybersecurity and modern education

In the prime minister's opinion, all battles of a modern state take place in cyberspace. That is why each country must pay attention to cybersecurity. Technology and ICT tools should shorten the waiting time in the offices and secure the tax system.

In the nearest future, the government shall emphasise professional education. These are the needs of the labour market. Probably 65% of our students will work in professions that have not yet been established, he stated.

The prime minister also emphasised that the government is making every effort to ensure that the representatives of the so-called generation of lost opportunities that were forced to emigrate, can find decent jobs in Poland.

The head of government also announced a reform of higher education and research institutes. The Łukasiewicz research network is supposed to be one of the Europe’s largest institutions of this type.

Education cannot only be seen through economic profits, because creating the country's elite is an equaly important taks for Polish universitie, sai the prime minister. Therefore, the government will actively counteract the brain drain.

Friendly Poland project

The prime minister declared a continued support for senior citizens and pensioners. A Friendly Poland project will be launched, aiming to remove infrastructural and legal barriers that have hindered a complete integration of the Polish society so far.

I wish that the elderly could go shopping without feeling like they were setting out on an expedition or taking part in a 3000 metres steeplechase, stated Morawiecki.

Development of affordable housing

As far as housing policy is concerned, Poland is making up for a 70 years gap. It is not easy to move this lump, but the snowball has already set off and in a few quarters affordable apartments constructed within the Apartment Plus programme will already be available. This will be Polish government’s flagship task in the forthcoming 10 years, stated the head of government.

The prime minister Morawiecki would like towns and cities to form coherent unities, where each household would have access to public transport and with schools and kindergartens established where new housing estates are built. The government will propose benefits packages for local authorities that take spatial organisation and aesthetics into account.

The prime minister stated that currently the law does not impede housing investments realised in the middle of nowhere, cut off from transport, schools, kindergartens and even the most basic technical infrastructure. The head of government announced the establishment of Urban Planning and Architecture Institute.

NATO as the basis of security

The head of government assured that NATO is and will remain the basis of Poland's security and that the USA remains Poland's chief ally.

He declared that Poland would fully use its army's potential to strengthen the domestic arms industry. The prime minister is in favour of unification of the countries of the region within Visegrád Group, the Three Seas Initiative and true strategic the East.

We are planning to intensify our relations with Ukraine, Lithuania and Georgia and to give them new quality, although it takes two to tango, stressed the President of the Council of Ministers.

Poland will develop cooperation in various fields, including economy, with countries in the Middle East and Africa. Moreover, the government wishes to support the Polish diaspora in various parts of the world. This will be manifested by actions aimed at protection of the rights of Polish citizens abroad, as well as joint efforts of the government and the Polish diaspora to protect Poland's good name.

The prime minister claims that Poland should pursue ambitious goals, such as becoming a member of G20, one of the chief architects of the EU, one of NATO's pillars or a leader of the Three Seas Initiative.

The prime minister expressed his hopes that Polish emigrants shall return to the country. In order to achieve this, the government shall reinforce the repatriation programmes. Morawiecki stressed that there are 60 million Poles all over the world, that the citizens of Poland have obligations to the diaspora, and that the diaspora has obligations to the country.

Zero tolerance for violence and equal opportunities for women

In Morawiecki's opinion, a yardstick of country's strength is whether it can protect the weak. That is why I firmly state that the Polish government does not consent to violence, there is neither any approval of violence, he stressed.

Taking children away because of poverty is a crime, but allowing them fall victim to violence is also a crime, he declared. The head of government does not consent to the situation in which an abused woman and her children must run away from home. That is why the prime minister announced an improvement of mechanisms securing the protection of violence victims at home and at work. There will not be a slightest consent to abuse, rape, oppression or injustice. The state must present an iron fist, stressed the prime minister.

In his opinion, the judiciary must also undergo a substantial change. A victim should not be forced to endure meetings with his or her oppressor in a courtroom for a few years due to the court’s sluggishness, said the head of government.

Respect for women is deeply rooted in Polish culture and tradition. Providing equal rights for men and women is not only our legal responsibility, but also a manner of expressing solidarity. It should be manifested in equal wages and access to managerial positions, among others, stressed Morawiecki. Even though according to The Economist Poland currently holds the fifth position among the best places to be a working woman, women in Poland still encounter glass ceiling. It is because women are forced to balance work and family on daily basis.

We will respect the verdict of the CJEU

The prime minister Morawiecki declared that the government should respect the judgements of the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the Białowieża Forest. Forests are our treasure. This treasure is best understood and best taken care of by the foresters. I am very grateful to them for that, he said.

He also added that the foresters’ actions in the Białowieża Forest were aimed at protection. We want to believe that the EU institutions were also trying to protect the Polish wildlife, stressed the prime minister.

Poland against a two-speed EU

According to the prime minister, Europe is still coming out of a crisis and still pursuing new paths and ideas. We don't want a two-speed EU. We do not agree to dividing the countries into better and worse ones. he emphasised.

In Morawiecki's opinion, the fate of the European project and the whole global economy are at a turning point. Strong, competitive and united Europe forms part of the modern vision of Poland, he stressed.

The head of government thinks that it is often the case that the strongest, not the weaker nations are favoured within the EU. It is not fair. Dear Europe, the Polish piece undoubtedly fits into the European puzzle but it cannot be placed the wrong way or by force. This might damage the whole puzzle, as well as the piece, appealed Morawiecki.

Europe needs to return to real values — the values that are spoken of today, increasingly contradict the traditional values and natural law, he continued in his policy speech.

Each day we hear a mantra on European values, that sometimes are not even mentioned anymore, because they increasingly contradict their past meaning; they contradict natural law or traditional values and the Republic is one of Europe's greatest traditions; it is one of the greatest traditions of tolerance and democracy, said Morawiecki.

The prime minister also related to the migration problem, stating that the EU refugee relocation scheme has not worked out. Other solutions are required and we want to take part in this discussion, he declared.

Fight against VAT extortion

The prime minister Morawiecki reminded that only this year the VAT income has increased by 30 billion złotys. It is more than in previous nine years. He emphasised that this is a result of a fight against the VAT mafia.

It is we who introduced the topic of a fight against tax havens to the European agenda. It is Poland that is fighting to complete the establishment of the common marked and to ensure free flow of services. It is we who, with our success in fighting against VAT carousels, started a discussion in the whole Europe, stressed Morawiecki.

Joint effort for the united country

The prime minister announced that it is necessary to lower the heat of public debate, especially in the view of the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence.

Our programme is willing to construct a country that is proud of its strong economy, with financially secured families, a country that is admired and respected by others, a cheerful country that evenly distributes the fruits of its development, said the prime minister. In his opinion, if Poland becomes united, it will be able to face global challenges.

He also reminded that in the past, people in Poland had been divided into white and red. We Poles are neither solely white nor solely red, we never have been. It is time to dismiss such destructive divisions. All Polish citizens are one white and red team, declared Morawiecki.

He also appealed for a united Poland, which is a great challenge and a great responsibility for everyone. Morawiecki declared that Poland was common good, regardless of political preferences, or ideological differences. We may call December of 2017 the Eve of the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence. Let’s begin the celebrations, hoping for solidarity and understanding, keeping in mind that without cooperation there would be no independent Poland today, reasoned the prime minister. He also added, I trust that we are all capable of understanding and compromise.

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