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Poland's incoming PM Tusk makes policy speech, asks MPs to back his Cabinet

12.12.2023 13:30
Poland's newly elected Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday addressed parliament to outline the policy proposals of his Cabinet, and asked lawmakers for a vote of confidence, which was scheduled to take place later in the day.
Polands new Prime Minister Donald Tusk delivers a policy speech to parliament on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.
Poland's new Prime Minister Donald Tusk delivers a policy speech to parliament on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.X/Polish Sejm

Tusk laid out his government plans after MPs chose him as the country's new head of government on Monday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The new prime minister began his address to parliament around 10:30 a.m., ahead of a floor debate about his policy proposals, and a vote of confidence in the new Cabinet, scheduled for 4 p.m., according to an official schedule.

'Rightful position' in EU, support for Ukraine 

Tusk reiterated his pledge to raise teachers' pay by 30 percent and other public-sector workers by 20 percent, and to make an extra uprating of pensions if inflation exceeds 5 percent, the PAP news agency reported.

He vowed that, under his government, Poland would be "a strong link in NATO," a stable ally for America and regain its "rightful position" in the European Union. 

Tusk added that Poland would work to ensure that EU partners "unequivocally support Ukraine's defence against Russian aggression."

Poland's new prime minister also vowed to unblock EUR 59.8 billion in grants and loans from the EU, frozen due to Warsaw's dispute with Brussels over democratic standards.

Tusk also unveiled the lineup of his future Cabinet, which he had outlined last Friday.

The new prime minister concluded by thanking MPs for electing him to be Poland's next head of government, as lawmakers prepared for a debate about his policy plans, and the vote of confidence in the new Cabinet at 4 p.m.

Tusk returns as Poland's PM

Tusk returns to his role as prime minister after a hiatus of nine years, backed by a coalition of pro-European opposition parties that won Poland's parliamentary election in October.

His election by MPs ended eight years of rule by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

President Andrzej Duda met with Tusk on Monday night and declared he would swear in the new Cabinet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, according to an aide.

The new prime minister could then represent Poland at  a crucial EU summit starting in Brussels the next day.

Last Friday, Tusk said the summit would make decisions "of great importance to Poland's interests."

EU leaders are expected to discuss the war in Ukraine and protest by Polish haulers at the border with Ukraine, among other topics, according to officials.

Tusk was Poland's prime minister from 2007 to 2014 before becoming president of the European Council, a role he held until 2019.