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Government reshuffle: Jacek Rostowski sacked as finance minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 20.11.2013 11:47
In a wide-ranging government reshuffle, Prime Minister Donald Tusk has announced that Poland's finance minister Jacek Rostowski will be replaced by economist Mateusz Szczurek.

Jacek Rostowski on Tuesday ahead of reshuffle: photo - PAP/Grzegorz Jakubowski

Jacek Rostowski, head of the finance ministry since 2007, said earlier this year that he would not seek a third term as finance minister but wanted to stay on into next year to see through reforms to Poland's pension system, among other projects.

But the beleaguered Rostowski has been under fire by economists such as Leszek Balcerowicz this year over pension reform and finance policy such as raising Poland's borrowing threshold.

"I am glad to have, many argue, one of the most talented and brightest of Polish economists n the government," Donald Tusk said of the surprise appointment of Rostowski being replaced by Mateusz Szczurek, who is chief economist for central and eastern Europe at ING Bank.

In other changes, digital and administration minister Michal Boni will be leaving his post and says he is intending to stand as a member of the European Parliament in elections next year.

"I have agreed with the prime minister to take on new tasks," Boni told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Rafał Trzaskowski will replace him at the ministry.

Joanna Mucha, a controversial choice for sports minister when her appointment was announced after Civic Platform won the 2011 general election - critics pointed to her lack of experience in both sports and administration - is to be replaced by Andrzej Biernat, who has been a Civic Platform MP for the Sieradz district since 2005.

Education minister Krystyna Szumilas is standing down and Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska will lead a ministry that has been under fire this year over plans to reduce the school starting age to six years-old.

Maciej Grabowski is to replace environment minister Marcin Korolec, who is currently hosting the UN Climate Conference in Warsaw.

It was already known that science minister Barbara Kudrycka would be standing down from her post and will be replaced by Civic Platform MEP Lena Kolarska-Bobińska.

In changes to the structure of the government, the Ministry of Transport, Building and Water Management will be combined with the Ministry of Regional Development and the new ministry will be lead by Elzbieta Bieńkowska.

New start

Prime Minister Tusk will be hoping that the wide-ranging reshuffle will revive the fortunes of the centre-right Civic Platform, in power since 2007 and currently trailing in the opinion polls to their main challenger, the conservative Law and Justice (PiS).

PM Tusk said on Tuesday that key tasks for new ministers would be the efficient management of funds from the EU budget during the 2014 - 20 period, which were agreed by the European Parliament yesterday.

"For me, the effective release and wise management of [EU funds] is one of the key elements in my thinking about the changes," he told journalists.

Deputy prime minister and economy minister Janusz Piechociński from the junior coalition partner Polish Peasants Party (PSL) told the PAP news agency that "the government needs a new start" and must be "better than before".

PSL's three ministers in the coalition, at economy, labour and agricultural ministries were not touched by the reshuffle.

Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the reshuffle will give "new energy" to the government. "We want to show Poles we can deliver faster economic growth," he said on Wednesday morning.

Government spokesman Pawel Gras has said that the first meeting of the new cabinet will be on 4 December. (pg)

tags: politics
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