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Poland’s new PM Ewa Kopacz promises stability, security and greater care

Poland's new government won a confidence vote in parliament, Wednesday after Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz had earlier delivered her inaugural policy speech in the Sejm lower house and pledged that her top priority would be to rebuild trust of the Polish people in the government ahead of 2015 national elections.

"I will take every decision, not on the basis of political calculation, but with the singular goal of the safety of Polish families, broadly understood," Kopacz told MPs.

MPs voted 259 for to 183 against after the policy speech brought a wide range of promises to hit the welfare and security theme on topics from the global geopolitical to the everyday ones: school lunches, parental leave and corporate nurseries; deregulation, taxes and investment aid; military spending and diplomacy vis-a-vis the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Kopacz used the government's Tuesday decision on tax breaks for families with children and on new retirement benefits indexation system to stress her commitment to social policy.

"The government will fufil the obligations concerning indexation of disability benefits and pensions made by the government of my predecessor," Kopacz said, putting the total expenditure in 2015 at PLN 3.8 billion.

She promised her government would double funding for childcare for pre-kindergarten children, and allocate some PLN1.8bn to create more nursery places in workplaces. She also pledged to create day care centers for the elderly.
As far as foreign policy is concerned, Kopacz announced continuation of Donald Tusk's policy, showed a greater distance to the situation in Ukraine.

"The goal of my government will be a pragmatic policy toward what's going on in Ukraine. The key matter for Poland is for fighting in Ukraine to stop and for the Ukrainian state to consolidate," she said.
"We support pro-European direction of Ukraine but we won't supplant Ukrainians in reforming their country," she added.

The new PM also confirmed Poland's alliance with the USA and expressed expectation that NATO will implement decisions made at the recent summit in Newport. She said her government would push for a greater U.S. military presence in Poland as a deterrent to possible Russian aggression.

Kopacz brushed off select calls for setting a euro-zone target and largely stood by the policy line of the outgoing government. Poland is full-steam ahead on preparations, but will make the call once entry criteria are met and the euro-zone has proven its mettle post-crisis, she said.

Before setting a timetable for entry, Poland should ask itself the question of "what the euro zone is like today and which direction it is heading," the PM said.

Kopacz also referred to current problems, such as the situation in the troubled mining sector. She said that the government will seek to defend the Polish coal market from unfair competition, then use the bought-time to put the industry back in the black via cost cutting to spare Polish households from increased energy costs.

"We will devote the time we gain from these regulations to reducing costs in the coal mines for Polish coal to be competitive on the market," Kopacz said.

Amongst the new government's pending initiatives will be giving a boost to its investment and business support programs with an eye maximizing job creation results, Kopacz said.

The government will also accelerate its business deregulation and tax reform efforts, Kopacz said.

"What was planned for three years, we will do in 12 months," she said of her demand that the Finance Ministry complete tax reform and the Economy Ministry complete a bill on business freedom.

In tax policy, Poland will seek a "wise balance" so that Poles "are not punished for being resourceful" and, on the other hand, support those "who need it the most," she also said.

"We have to have the principle of 99% - that all our law in economic freedom is created with the 99% of honest entrepreneurs in mind and not the 1% of crooks," Kopacz said. "The law must serve the honest."

Change in the PM seat follows former PM Donald Tusk's end-August election as the next European Council President, effective as of December.

 

source: warsawvoice.pl

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