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Polish PM candidates debate on live TV

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 19.10.2015 21:35
The candidates for the post of Prime Minister for the two major parties – Civic Platform's Ewa Kopacz and PiS's Beata Szydło – met for a debate on live TV on Monday. Radio Poland gives you a rundown of what was said.
The debate on Monday was between Beata Szydło (L, PiS) and Ewa Kopacz (R, PO). Photo: PAP/Jacek TurczykThe debate on Monday was between Beata Szydło (L, PiS) and Ewa Kopacz (R, PO). Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk

Szydło: The last PiS government had the highest growth in economy since the fall of communism.

Kopacz: Our [Civic Platform's] plan is to see a growth in economy […] We will work on giving young people a chance for a better life. I can promise young people that you will earn as much as your peers in the West. Those who left Poland when our opponents ruled the country, are returning because they are seeing a future in the country.

Szydło: Millions of Poles have left the country. We have prepared a programme for young families to attract them back to the country, including a plan to give families PLN 500 for each child.

We don't take money out from everyone, there's enough to finance all ideas if it's well spent and managed.

Kopacz: It is not responsible to think that money is easy to find in the budget for electoral promises. You [Beata Szydło – ed.] should know better. Among the worst hit will be Polish farmers, because your EU funds will dry up.

Mutual questions:

Kopacz: Why are you embarrassed of describing the constitution on your website, I saw a 404 warning.

Szydło: I thought that we would be discussing economic issues.

Kopacz: Let us phase out junk contracts in Poland, I say that a minimum wage of PLN 12 per hour should cover all employment contracts.

Part 2: Foreign Affairs:

Question: How will Poland act in terms of Russia's hostility in the region

Szydło: We should continue building a strong presence in the region and looking for allies on the same front. We are a member of NATO. We should work together – President and government – on foreign issues.

Kopacz: Our security is not only dependent on our allies, but a strong army which we already inject with two percent of GDP. Solidarity in the region should be first and foremost.

Subject: Poland's position in the EU

Kopacz: There is no Poland without solidarity in the Union. We will take on as many refugees as we can afford. The fact that we have an Energy Union is thanks to our strong presence in the European Union, in part thanks to the European Council President Donald Tusk.

Szydło: Our position in the EU is not that strong, Ms Prime Minister. The agreement for Nordstream 2 was signed behind Poland's back. Poland should have the same chances as other members in the EU. Germany and France fight for their rights in the Union. It is worth for Poland to also fight for its rights.

Question: What should Poles know about the important issues happening in the world?

Szydło: Poles want to live well, but they also want to live in harmony in the region – with Russia for example. The most important is a strong Poland on the international stage.

Kopacz: First of all we should protect our country like we protect our own home. When in 2004 the Nordstream 1 deal was signed, no one in [the PiS] party found any fault in it. I have called Poland's president [Andrzej Duda] to discuss these and other issues, but the President only discusses with his own.

Mutual questions:

Kopacz: Was your boss, Jarosław Kaczyński, right when he said that Poland is a "German-Russian condominium"

Szydło: Poles want to discuss important issues, not frivolous politics.

Kopacz: I have had to explain the words of the leader of the opposition at international summits.

Subject: Refugees

Szydło: Explain how much the budget will have to pay for the refugees it takes as part of the EU plan.

Kopacz: The EU will give us thousands of Euros for each refugee we take on. You cannot believe everything you read, including a tax increase to cover the cost of refugees.

Block 3: Policies and government plans

Szydło: The finance tape scandal should be explained.

Kopacz: I apologised for the actions of my colleagues. Would you be able to apologise for the SKOK scandal? All of a sudden you try to paint these people as monsters, but they are not alone.

Kopacz: We built a beautiful country – transport and sport infrastructure. We have built a sense of safety in our country. That is what scares me now, that people who want to govern the country will not provide that.

Szydło: Poland is a beautiful country. You [Kopacz] travel by train. I travel by bus to many places in this country which are derilict. Poland is a beautiful country and deserves better.

Question: If PiS wins, what has it learnt from its mistakes?

Szydło: PiS's last term in government was the best time for the economy. I met many Poles who said that.

Questions: What lessons have you learnt from your mistakes over the last eight years in government?

Kopacz: Civic Platform has a good track record in governing Poland

Mutual questions:

Kopacz: Let's discuss women's rights. Over the last four years you voted against women's rights three times as an MP.

Szydło: All children should be loved. Why do three million Poles want to leave Poland?

Kopacz: Poles: you have heard the opinion from a woman who voted against women's rights.

Two-minute concluding speeches:

Szydło: Poles do not want to hear more statistics. What to do for Poland so that Poles can live a better life. Here is the manifesto for my first 100 days. We will give PLN 500 to each child, free medicine for those over 75. This programme is possible. Poland deserves it. We can do this together.

Kopacz: I stand before you with all my faults and achievements. I have a lot of experience. But today I want to present a new tax system which will not force you to emigrate for work. The proposal of my political opponents goes against everything we have worked on. I propose a stable republic, not a religious regime; not empty promises – like free medicine – because these will cost the budget in the long run. (rg/rk)

The general election in Poland will be held on 25 October.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Szydlo on EU: Membership 1 of biggest achievement, but <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Poland?src=hash">#Poland</a>&#39;s position is not strong. Polish shipyards closed, German ones open. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/debata?src=hash">#debata</a></p>&mdash; Henry Foy (@HenryJFoy) <a href="https://twitter.com/HenryJFoy/status/656175482489163777">October 19, 2015</a></blockquote>

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