Policy statement by Prime Minister Beata Szydło - stenographic record


The Sejm, November 18, 2015

Beata Szydło - the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland

Mr. President! Mr. Speakers! Esteemed Members of the Sejm! Dear Compatriots! 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, just a few days after a tragic terrorist attack in France.  Many people died and even more are still fighting for their lives. We are witnessing the unspeakable drama of innocent human beings. Polish people are lying flowers and lighting candles at the French Embassy in Warsaw - by doing so, they show solidarity with the families of the victims and they say “no” to the brutal terror attacks. I am taking over the office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland at a time when our world - built upon the values of democracy, freedom, and tolerance - is being increasingly more aggressively 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. Today the people of Poland, like other Europeans, want security and safety. Therefore, we shall jointly cooperate with European countries in the fight against terrorism. At the same time, we shall strive to ensure the security and safety of citizens of our country. Let me stress once again. For the government of the Republic of Poland, the safety of Polish women and Polish men is of utmost and paramount importance.

On October 25, 2015, the Polish people decided it was time to change the current policy and form of governance. This colossal need has been deeply rooted in and emerged from the developments of last years, characterised by a total split-up of public expectations and the government’s activities. And today, in this Chamber, 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 and comply with. No more arrogance of those in power, no more hubris.

I come from a family of miners, where the ethos of hard work had learnt us to be humble and effective. It learnt the respect for each other, but above all - for other men’s effort and work. The small town of Brzeszcze is my hometown. It taught me how important it is to listen to people, to help each other. I gained an enormous and invaluable experience while working for the local government.

Our life consists of small things and I am here to serve and support those ordinary, daily affairs of my fellow countrymen. Because I do realize perfectly that there are no great achievements and successes without these very small steps we take every day. Let us remember: the sum of small things gives great things. In this context, let me say in brief: I can sum up the agenda of our government in one sentence. Firstly - development, secondly - development, thirdly - development.

We have to face the challenges of the future. And they are clear. We must break out of the middle income trap. We have to speed up the pace of growth.  We have to take up the challenge to solve all the problems faced by Poland in the field of economy, social affairs, and the condition of the State. As regards Poland’s condition on domestic and international arena. The condition of economy, social affairs, and the State are not on the level of separable, real social processes. On the contrary. They are mutually interlinked as regards both the negative and positive phenomena. In the latter case, we can look for synergy. Mutual reinforcement of positive processes. To achieve this synergy is the objective of my government.

Honourable Members! In the election campaign, as a team of Law and Justice, we have promised to implement a good change. The change shall consist in allowing the highest possible number of Poles to benefit from economic development. This applies to the entirety of issues we shall deal with. Yet first and foremost, it shall apply to what can and should be done quickly. 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 prolong it for the next four-year term. Already today, however, I want to focus on issues we shall tackle during the first one hundred days of our government.

Firstly, granting the PLN 500 per child benefit (starting from the second child), and in families with lower incomes - from the first child. A child is not a cost, it is an investment. Secondly, lowering the retirement age to sixty years for women and sixty-five years for men. Thirdly, increasing the tax-free allowance to PLN 8,000. Fourthly, providing free medicine for the elderly over 75. Fifthly, increasing the minimum hourly wage in Poland to PLN 12; I shall refer to this issue in detail later in my speech.

We decisively reject a claim that has weighed on us for the last 25 years that nothing can be done to improve the well-being of the society, especially the less well-off. It can be done. We shall treat funds spent on these aims not as spending but as an investment in the development of the country, in the development of the society, and Polish families.

We are talking about really important matters here. First, about a pro-family and pro-natalist legislation. For we must overcome the demographic crisis and the State’s share in the cost of bringing up children is a major step in this direction. Secondly, we must fight poverty that affects so many large families, and it shall also be a major step in this direction. Thirdly, we must rebuild Polish people’s faith and trust in democracy. Keeping promises that are generally known and accepted by society is also a significant step in this direction. Democracy, following the will of the people, and change in the quality of governance - this is the general message and –fundamental objective of our government.

I want to strongly emphasize that we shall engage in the direct dialogue with the society. We shall talk with the Polish people as we used to talk in the electoral campaign. Dialogue and cooperation is a critical prerequisite for carrying out the tasks the people of Poland have entrusted us with. We shall talk, we shall listen, and - most importantly - we shall hear what the Polish people are saying to us. And let me state it clearly – we SHALL do it. Together, we can.

Esteemed Members of the Sejm, the priority of our government for the entire four-year term of office, shall be the development of the country. Therefore, I shall start with the economy. We need to break out of the middle income trap, raise the economy to a new level where the growth is based on investment and innovation, not cheap labour. To this end, we must use all the reserves and resources we have, and they are quite significant. The first is the Polish people’s spirit of entrepreneurship, Poles who have already been operating in the market, who run independent economic activity, and those who have at least the potential to undertake such activity.

Both the entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs are facing very serious obstacles today. No shareholders' equity, no borrowing powers, especially as regards those who want to launch their business activity, red-tape barriers, or - last but not least - breaching the rules of fair market competition. All these obstacles can be overcome, if not completely, to at least to a very large extent. I shall refer to the issues related to the lack of shareholder’s equity in a moment. Red-tape burden can be overcome by introducing a number of changes in the existing procedures. By repealing them and introducing solutions aimed to mitigate the risk of launching business activity. This is especially important for young people, as we want them to be willing and able to find their life chances in our country, not to emigrate to other European countries due to economic reasons.

We shall introduce clear and transparent rules relating to public procurement. We shall lower taxes for small businesses. We shall reduce CIT rate for small businesses to fifteen percent. We are concerned first and foremost with supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. The tycoons, usually, are doing much better; however, we shall strive to remove the obstacles they have to face as well. Poland does need the spirit of entrepreneurship of young, well-educated Polish people. We must take advantage of their well-known and globally admired creativity. Their openness to new solutions and ideas. With young Poles by our side, we shall develop the economy based on knowledge and innovativeness. It is also of critical importance to provide opportunities to medium-sized business that has a uniquely strong potential when it comes to innovation.

We have a manifesto in place that shall enable us to turn small companies into medium-sized ones, and medium into large ones, and large companies shall successfully compete on the global market. 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 our development. However, we do have yet another great reserve at hand. The intellectual potential of Polish people can be used better. Science must cooperate closely with the business. To this end, we shall establish a National Forum of Entrepreneurs by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Moreover, we must secure a scientific and research back-up for small and medium-sized enterprises. Vocational education must be tailored to the actual needs of the labour market. We have specific plans in place as regards those issues.

All of the above projects, to be implemented, call for the activation of Polish capital. We have to build on well-known, easy-to-identify and use, resources. Here I refer to the project of PLN trillion earmarked to the development we talked about in the election campaign. When we sum up the potential and possibilities we refer to, we shall get even more than one trillion. Trillion is a symbol. A symbol of a great, unique enterprise. We can also put it in other words. We are talking about a significant increase in the share of investment in GDP. Today, it amounts to ca. 20%, which is not much. It is not much also in comparison with countries in our part of Europe. For example, there were years when Czech Republic reached 30%. What we mean here is therefore a real enterprise. We do not project investment on China level, which reach 47%, or some other Asian countries, where investments rate greatly exceeds 30% of GDP. We do believe, however, that a country that wants to catch up with the Western European countries’ standards of living must strive to increase the level of investment outlays. This is the only way to effectively solve the problem of the lack of reasonably-paid and sustainable jobs that in recent years has made a number of Poles emigrate. And this is the only way to actually accelerate the growth rate and, at the same time, to provide for prospects for young people who want to work and earn a decent living in Poland.

What types of resources do I mean? First of all, European funds. They are used in a highly inefficient manner. The claim that one kilometre of a highway in Poland must cost as much as in the most mountainous countries in Europe is groundless. At the same time, there is no consent to the fact that many of these highways have to be repaired almost immediately, and the companies building them, instead of developing, go bankrupt. It also came to my attention that funds from the new EU perspective have not been in fact activated yet, or they have been launched to a minimal extent. All that despite the fact that the second year of the 2014-2020 Perspective is coming to an end. This is very bad. Yet at the same time it might be an opportunity to use them in an optimal way. It is a great chance to introduce a totally different quality in this very important area.

The second resource I would like to focus on are the banks. Here I mean the effective use of the long term refinancing operation (LTRO) system implemented in Europe, i.e. a cheap loan scheme for development purposes, modelled on financial instruments used by the European Central Bank. This method calls for a 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 above is closely connected with the third resource. I refer here to a few PLN hundred billion of savings on companies’ accounts that can be earmarked to develop the system of investment incentives. Investments depreciations within a year, and even double investment depreciation in the case of innovative investments should support the effective use thereof. One could say we shall awaken bank capital and enterprise capital.

Fourthly: Significant resources can also be found through strengthening the the State Development Bank of Poland. And also through changing the operational profile of the existing Polish Investments for Development company that we want to call hereinafter the Investments of Poland. Strengthening of both investments, together with the capital leverage mechanism, should result in significant increase in capabilities.

Fifthly and finally, big state-owned companies have large untapped opportunities. We can use them through the establishment of an investment fund. A strong pro-investment impulse shall also be a programme aimed to build housing developments for citizens earning the average and below average wages. I shall go back to it while tackling the social manifesto. Activated capital is to serve the development of Polish entrepreneurship. It is to aim at the reindustrialisation of Poland. The experience of the crisis once again has proved the utmost importance of the industry. The restoration of the maritime economy and support for these areas and sectors of our economy that are most likely to develop, at least in our region. I mean here the energy industry, chemical and defence sector, and on the other hand, blooming in Poland IT services sector, and creative industries, inter alia including those associated with programming computer games. It is also about strengthening our business centres such as aviation valley and milk valley. Developing new ones, for example the railway valley. Making use of different kinds of local resources on a regional and smaller scale. In a nutshell, it is about much greater activation of Polish economy, encouraging the entrepreneurs, building real ambitions to move to higher levels of development, supporting innovation. I would like to emphasize here that at the same  time a considerable flow of funds shall be earmarked to the development of Polish research and development facilities, inter alia, related to the development of nano- and biotechnology.

Honourable Members! The social policy of our government can be described the best in two words. Family and justice. I have already mentioned the support for families. A symbolic, yet at the same time very important and real expression of the significance of those issues is the new name of the Ministry: Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy.

Our government shall strongly support Polish families. Today, it is one of the priorities that all politicians, all members present in this room, should take to heart. Polish families are extremely important. Families, not only the young ones, do need jobs and decent wages, housing, and good health care. We have developed a plan aimed to create large numbers of new jobs. A part of it is to fuel the demand. Not only by increasing the number of employees but also by increasing wages. The Pact on increasing wages, concluded under the auspices of the State by and between labour organizations and entrepreneurs, raising the minimum wage, including PLN 12 as the minimum hourly rate, getting rid of junk contracts, and above all - increase labour demand. It all should contribute to change in the situation where the wage share in GDP, as compared to other European countries the United States, is extremely low.

An important element of pro-family initiatives that aim at increasing the number of jobs is our housing programme. 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 associated institutions. Apartments built this way, with the use of bank loans - which I want to stress, as no budgetary resources are to be earmarked thereto, shall be rented, and the rent shall include also long-term credit payment, equal to gradual apartment buyout.

For young Poles, we shall provide for another incentive to raise families and make decisions about parenting: we shall continue the development of the network of kindergartens, initiated by our predecessors.  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.

Another element of the pro-family policy, yet with much broader outlook, is the reconstruction of the health service. It concerns both the care of the mother and child, but equally of all other patients, particularly those who benefit from medical assistance most often. I mean here the elderly. The current model of organization and funding of health care has proved to be inefficient. It has resulted in a far-reaching economization of health care, in switching the role of physicians and doctors. 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. There is no other way than returning to the state budget financing, together with its specific restrictions and requirements. I do fully appreciate the role of doctors and I am convinced that they should be highly and very highly rewarded, also in financial terms. I also recognize fully the utmost importance of the work of nurses, paramedics, and other health care professionals, whose incomes are too low today. We are not opposed to the existence of private health services, established with the use of their own funds and maintained with funds allocated thereto by the citizens. Nationwide, it is a considerable amount.  Let me stress here that this sphere must be clearly separated from the public health service. Each and every Polish citizen has a right to feel safe when they need medical assistance. They must be ensured that this assistance shall be provided quickly, professionally, and free of charge. Healthcare is also a medical rescue service. Its partial privatization has not brought about good results. We do need a State service of this type, built on a similar basis as the other State services aimed to protect the citizens. As we have repeatedly announced, we shall implement a program to introduce dental and medical rooms at schools.

The issue of low pensions is another big challenge. As in the period of 2005-2007, we shall strive to raise them, particularly as regards the lowest pension benefits that do not allow for satisfying basic human needs. I also would like to emphasize one thing - the State’s ability to provide the elderly with a decent quality of life is mainly conditioned by the level of GDP. The mechanisms of collecting funds for these purposes are essentially of a technical nature. In the long time perspective, we shall face a serious debate on the pension system as such. The decision shall be up to the citizens. We shall keep on asking the citizens in all matters important to them.

Justice shall be the prerequisite of our policy as regards ensuring equal opportunities for Polish people living in different regions of the country. Today, these differences are enormous. Country’s development cannot be concentrated in just a few metropolises. It must cover the area of the entire country. We conducted the equal opportunities policy in 2005-2007 and we shall come back to it. We shall return to a sustainable development policy.

Here, I must mention one more issue. There are some places in Poland that pose particular social challenges. We want to address these challenges as part of our economic programme. We want to launch the process of revitalization and renovation of residential and economic infrastructure in these regions. Of making better use of their opportunities, resources, and capacities. We want to provide equal opportunities to everyone, regardless of whether they live in small towns or big cities. Whether they live in the north, south, east, or west of our country. We want everyone to have equal chances, regardless of whether they were born and have lived in areas of former state farms, or here in Warsaw. Regardless of their present social status. We want to provide for such opportunities so that everyone can benefit from the fruits of development of our country. We want the Silesia to become again the flesh and blood of Polish industry. We want Łódź to bloom again. This city is one of the great centres of the reindustrialisation. We cannot introduce all these changes overnight, or within one year; yet we have to identify and tackle these issues. We do not have to be afraid of making tough decisions.

Secondly, Polish countryside and rural areas. Polish rural areas do need a good manager. Here also a key word is equality. Ensuring equality of standards of living, of opportunities. For Polish farmers, we have developed two specific projects that shall be introduced within the first one hundred days of our government. The first relates to the farmers' social security fund. The regulations we have developed are very needed. Many a time, the very farmers referred to them.  The second project concerns a matter Polish farmers have been raising for a long time. The protection and safety of Polish land. It is an issue that concerns all of us.

Our project shall introduce a real protection of Polish land against uncontrolled buyout, which today takes place totally against the spirit of the law, and in its present form evidently harms the Polish raison d’état. We shall implement these two projects within the first one hundred days of our government's work.

We have to tackle the issue of the equalization payments to farmers. We cannot accept the situation where Polish farmers have different, meaning worse operating conditions than farmers operating in other EU countries.

Speaking of equalling the opportunities of so-called Polish province, the Polish countryside, Polish small towns and cities, we have to raise one more issue. 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. This of course shall not happen overnight, but over a certain period of time, we shall carry out a process of reinstating the State in the countryside and smaller towns.

We must strive to return to a situation that has already taken place during our rule, when we earmarked almost 3% of GDP to the support for rural areas. What I mean here, let me reiterate, is justice, ensuring equal opportunities and the quality of life. It is also about decency, since in recent years the rules of decency have been repeatedly violated in the whole sphere related to rural areas. We have been witnesses to various abuses that proved to be beneficial for single entities and detrimental to thousands and tens of thousands of farmers. We shall put an end to it. To this end, we shall introduce a number of measures, including far-reaching changes when it comes to institutions involved in rural areas development. We do know where to look for resources to implement these plans.

The main task of the Minister of Finance shall consist in drawing up the amendment to the budget for 2016, in order to execute on of the programme’s key objectives, i.e. pro-family policy, known as PLN 500 per each second and subsequent children. In less affluent families per first child. In order to achieve this, we shall introduce special sectoral taxes on banks and supermarkets, increased by PLN one billion collection of dividends, increased to PLN half a billion, a billion to one and a half billion deficit, and improved VAT collection. I mention this to show that some leeway, enabling the delivery of our plans, has already been taken into account in the context of next year's budget.

At the same time, the Ministry of Finance, shall start working on some systemic changes. It shall include the reform of tax administration and equipping it with modern IT tools, in order to restrict the scope of VAT fraud, ensure more efficient collection of excise and corporate income tax on large corporations. Without rebuilding the structure of tax revenue, it is not possible to ensure sustainable public finances and reducing debt to GDP ratio. Domestic tax incomes, in the appropriate scale, allow for investments aimed to support economic growth and wage increase.

Yet another big challenge we have to face is education in general and higher education. Let me start with the former. In the context of education and problems of Polish families, one should mention the compulsory school education for 6-year-old children, introduced against the parents’ shall. Our government shall revoke this obligation. Polish parents shall have the right to choose, as they are the ones to know their children best. These shall be the parents to decide whether their children go to school at the age of six or at the age of seven. We shall implement this change within the first one hundred days of our government. The changes shall also apply to the system of school education. Gradually, we shall return to eight-year primary school, and four-year secondary school. Using this opportunity, I would like to address the honourable teacher and educators, since I do know that such questions and concerns have arisen now and then. Please do not be concerned.

Our ultimate goal shall be to benefit from your experience. These changes shall be evolutionary, we want to make the most of the potential of Polish teachers. We shall implement these changes upon having agreed them with you, we shall introduce them so that the teaching profession gets its due position and dignity. So that Polish children be provided with the best education and upbringing by Polish schools. So that finally make parents partners in the educational process of their children. One of the first decisions of the Minister of National Education shall be to do away with the additional instructional hours mandated by the Teachers' Charter, the so-called "charter hours”. A huge problem of Polish schools - similarly to the problem of the Polish healthcare system I have referred to earlier, is red-tape. We shall make Polish schools red-tape-free. Polish school is to teach and educate, and Polish teachers are to be provided with decent conditions to educate the young generation of Polish citizens.

Another issue of key significance as regards education is vocational training. While travelling through Poland, while talking primarily with entrepreneurs, many a time have I heard them say there is a shortage of professionals in Poland; they want to hire young people, but they are not adequately prepared for the profession. We must change that. We have to align the vocational education system to the requirements of the labour market. In this regard, we must cooperate with entrepreneurs, we must rebuild the system of Polish vocational education - and we shall deliver it. Polish experience, but also the experience of other European countries shows that vocational education is needed both at the level of secondary and higher education. We shall strive to ensure its proper development. This way, we shall be able to support the development of the economy, but also to reduce the risk of unemployment among young people, which today is a very serious problem. Another issue that is often raised while talking about education, is the so-called test system. Life is not a test. Finding your right path in life requires real knowledge and the right attitude. It is the school that should shape the knowledge and attitude. A strong sense of national identity and patriotism should be a part of this attitude. High professional demands, high standards of education and firm awareness-raising policy - this is the right way to success both at the individual and national level. We must return to a full teaching of history and the classic canon of literature.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen! We all dream about providing Polish youth with best education possible. We dream about making them pursue their ambitions. These ambitions are set by every single young person at the start of their life. In order to provide them with good education and enable them to pursue their dreams, you need a school. And you need good higher education institutions as well. And it is high time to change higher education in Poland, to reverse things that within the last few years have been burdened with excessive red-tape experience  -  I mean here unnecessary bureaucratic burden over scientists, or turning the researchers into clerks.  Researchers should be given a chance to educate the young generation of Poles, to conduct their own research, to follow their own career paths, to ensure their scientific work, their research, were used by the State, Polish economy, and our development. This is what Polish higher education does need today. We shall support scientists even more, we should appreciate them and make sure that both in the material and organizational dimension they are provided with decent conditions to fulfil their mission. Yes, a mission, as it is a kind of mission upon which we build the foundation of our development, our statehood. We shall do our best to bring back the spirit of freedom of research, freedom of expression to the universities. Freedom of establishing external contacts with people of different views, including those less popular in a given circles. Universities should become places of confrontation of different views; as a rule, they should be a platform open to embrace everything of significance to the development of thought.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen! Not only is the State an organization, it is also moral quality, and we shall take it into account in any real and wide-ranging project aimed to repair the State. Once again, we must make our country the subject of Polish pride. We mean here the entire educational policy. And also the cultural policy. It must aim  to strengthen patriotic attitudes. It must generously benefit from the enormous opportunities offered by the sphere of culture for reconstruction and construction of Polish remembrance. For giving it due value and significance. Highlighting the abundance and diversity of our national heritage and achievements. With the support of public funds, we should create works would that tell Poland and the world about our outstanding compatriots, about our heroes. And they shall be an inspiration for future generations of the people of Poland. We should not be ashamed to build the ethos of Polish heroes. We shall always take them into account. Polish artists and creators must feel appreciated by the State. Both the artists who create so-called high culture, and those who somewhere in their small communities strive to preserve their traditions, their local traditions, traditions they brought out of their family homes. Those who dedicate themselves to educate young people this way. It is high time we appreciated artists, Polish artists.

The social capital of Polish people is also generated through sports. The successes of our athletes in a number of sports disciplines prove that it is worthwhile investing in sports education of children and youth.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen! Mass media do play a critical role in social life. Most of them are private media that - as a rule - should not be affected by political authorities. We do respect and shall respect these principles. The situation is different if we talk about public media, though. Here our government and the current parliamentary majority shall be guided by one major principle. A citizen has the right to receive reliable and objective information. Public life should be clear and transparent. This principle also - and I dare say most of all  - applies to those in power. Public media must have the means enabling them to fulfil their mission in a thoughtful and reliable way. Let us tress this once again - mission.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen! Polish State does call for a deep and throughout reconstruction. Polish people’s trust towards the courts is exceptionally low. Often they say that the Polish justice system is unjust. Yes it is. I do realize that for many of you this is hardly believable. But I myself had heard that at meetings with voters. We have travelled, we had talked to the Polish people. The justice system was one of the most tackled issues of all. It is sad but it is true. 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. These are real life examples. But ladies and gentlemen, especially you who became so agitated at the moment, just think whether it is not a shame for the Polish State, for us all, that today in Poland one can take children away from their parents just because the family has a low income. Should not we all be ashamed of it? Don’t you want to see it? We did see it and we shall change it. We shall amend this law. The judiciary is characterized by low efficiency, particularly in matters relating to civil, economic, and criminal cases. 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. Yes, against corruption. Against corruption which is one of the most serious types of crime,  destroying the State and the economy. Here the changes are necessary and inevitable. We also need changes related to the legislative process that must be protected against errors and against making laws dictated by lobbyists.

We shall speed up the process of modernization of the uniformed services. We shall reintroduce proper actions and supervision of special services. This is particularly important in the context of growing threats to Europe and the entire world. We shall do it.

If we want to be more effective, we have to become better managers. To this end, we need an efficient, better organized government. We set forth changes in economic policy management. 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. The main task of the ministry shall consist in carrying out our great investment plan. It shall be established at the first stage by merging the Ministry of Regional Development and the Ministry of  Economy. Gradually, it shall be entrusted with tasks delivered hitherto by the liquidated Ministry of Treasury. 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 above-indicated housing programme, apart from the construction of motorways, express roads, and railway modernization, shall constitute the main programme implemented by the ministry. The establishment of the Ministry of Energy shall be yet another change. This Ministry, just like the Ministry of Infrastructure, shall have a significant share in the implementation of the main project; first and foremost, however, it shall further the integration of actions and measures to make the actual breakthrough. Since this is the power sector that in fact shall be one of the major recipients of large 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 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.

The establishment of the Ministry of Digitalization is due to our previous experience. Going digital is simply necessary. At the same time, we note no actual progress in this area, and various activities that are undertaken are questionable, to say the least. We shall follow the British and American path - i.e. we shall consolidate tasks and resources in one hand.  We shall increase the effectiveness of our activities in this field.

Finally, a similar idea, though for entirely different reasons relates to the establishment of the Ministry of Maritime Economy, which shall also  include inland waterways. We do mean hear economic activities. To a great extent undertaken as part of the plan mentioned earlier, as well as administrative actions aimed to restore this very important sector of our economy - once well established and developed, today - drastically reduced and in a deep crisis. The same applies to water transport, which is necessary and widely used by our neighbours, but in Poland - is almost non-existent today. We want the Polish rivers to become broad and wide ways for barges filled with goods, and afloat in Polish shipyards.

Speaking about the changes in the government, we are also considering the final arrangement of everything relating to the way the government is headed by the Prime Minister. This concerns in particular providing the government with the right to task individual ministers.

And finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, the issue of security, which I referred to at the outset of my speech. 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.

As far as military security is concerned, we do plan to conduct twofold, parallel, and mutually complementary activities. On the one hand, strengthening and the expansion of our armed forces. The already scheduled significant investments in armament should be carried out to ensure they serve the development of the Polish economy. On the other hand, the efforts aimed to strengthen NATO's eastern flank. This process, despite our efforts to accelerate it, can be slow. The point is to ensure it is unidirectional and consistent. In matters of security, and of foreign policy in general, we do attach importance to relations with the United States of America that today are, and in the foreseeable future shall be, the main guarantor of global peace.

Energy security means the preservation of Polish coal as a source of energy. Here, I also mean lignite. And I mean the efforts aimed to ensure that, regardless of the situation, we have access to gas and oil supplies, i.e. the completion and expansion of the LNG terminal. As well as efforts aimed to consider building a second LNG terminal in the vicinity of Tri-City. As regards gas supplies, the possibility of using alternative solution is also a question of the price of gas we are supplied with from the East.

And the third issue when it comes to foreign policy and security. Let me put it briefly. Under the rule of Law and Justice, under the rule of united right wing, Poland shall become empowered. We shall be active and self-assertive. We shall oppose the division of Europe, both within the European Union and beyond. We shall strive to empower not only our policy but also the policy of the entire region to which we belong. We shall be pushing for a strong Poland’s position on the international arena. In cooperation with President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Andrzej Duda. In this regard, we shall definitely refer to the policy of  late President Lech Kaczyński.

We do welcome all the benefits related to the membership in the European Union. Therefore, we shall strive to increase the effectiveness of EU efforts. To ensure full compliance with European acquis and the principles that underlie the process of European unification. We do believe that giving them up harms the European Union as a whole, and each EU Member State individually. Regardless of its present position.

The migrant crisis also reminds us that we shall be clear on the issue of solidarity. Solidarity consisting in sharing good practice and being ready to provide support in emergency or crisis situations. Such as major natural disasters, terrorist threats, or even warfare. 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.

The measures I am referring to, i.e. high activity, shall also cover other regions and continents. Therefore it shall be necessary to rebuild diplomatic apparatus that had been reduced by our predecessors. We shall also focus firmly on developing the mechanisms for a consistently pursued economic diplomacy. It is our duty to support our entrepreneurs in international markets. Despite enormous internal tasks, I do declare that, in cooperation with President of the Republic of Poland and with the full allocation of tasks, our government shall undertake this activity. Foreign policy consists also in maintaining contacts with Polish communities abroad. We do attach great importance to them. They shall be carried by via possible channels, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senate, and Sejm. By this, we understand both maintaining ties with homeland of Poles living abroad, and making better use of the intellectual and economic potential, cooperation of the Polish State with Polish communities abroad. 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.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen! It is the duty of every government to listen to citizens and to serve them, as this is what we are designated to, we are designated to serve, we are designated to solve the problems of our fellow countrymen who have entrusted us with this mandate. This programme I have just covered here, was drawn up by the Polish people, as they were the ones to tell us about these issues, about these issues, during our meetings. Most probably they told you about them, too. And, since we all gathered here, it might be worthwhile considering whether the time has come upon us to reach out to the matters important to Polish people, even those minor and less important ones. Yet it is also the duty of government to approach to their obligations honestly and assume responsibility for what is being said, what is being declared. At the end of term, we have to say what condition we leave the State in. Our predecessors have failed to do so. We, however, shall carry out this audit, we shall inform the Polish people on the condition of the Polish State. Since it is not a question of honesty of politicians, it is not a question of honesty of politicians of Civic Platform, of Law and Justice, of politicians representing Mr. Kukiz, Mr. Petru, or Polish Peasant’s Party. It is a question of responsibility of all of us as politicians, towards Polish men and women who want to believe in the integrity and honesty of their homeland. And we shall tell them what the situation is like as for the moment we take over the power. We shall relieve our predecessors from this duty.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen! Just a few weeks ago, eight hundred kilometres east of our border, shots were heard and people were killed. Just a few days ago Paris became the target of terrorist attacks. In these uncertain times, we have to be united. The government of Law and Justice is ready for cooperation based on consent and agreement. Therefore today, without exception I address all of you, Honourable Members, to take up such an essential and concerted cooperation. Not for our sake. Not for the sake of our political ambitions. Not for the sake of our careers, but for the sake of the people of Poland. Today Poles want cooperation and dialogue. I am sure that together we can deliver on the challenges our country has to face. We shall keep in mind, Esteemed Members of the Sejm, that we are all one big, white-and-red team. I do ask for your vote of confidence for our government. Thank you very much for your attention!