Polish leader announces changes to Cabinet before European Parliament elections

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Friday announced a Cabinet reshuffle to replace four ministers running for the European Parliament next month. The changes are also seen as a chance to bring new energy into Tusk’s government, which took office in December and embarked on deep reforms in many areas, including justice, foreign policy and the media. “Today comes the time of bringing order and this is one of the reasons for which we jointly decided to have these changes,” Tusk said. He said there will be more changes in the future that would be dictated by the “interest of the state.” Tusk’s government has embarked on a wide reversal of the policies of its right-wing predecessors, the Law and Justice party, who between 2015 to 2023 put Poland on a collision course with the 27-member EU. Tusk’s team is taking steps to free the judiciary and the state media from the political control that Law and Justice tried to impose, and bring to account those responsible for mismanagement and loss of funds by state-owned companies. Culture Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz, who spearheaded the change of management at the state TV, radio and news agency, and the minister of the interior and administration, Marcin Kierwinski, were replaced. The ministers for state assets, Borys Budka, and for development and technology, Krzysztof Hetman, were also leaving. The new interior minister is Tomasz Siemoniak, who served as the defense minister in Tusk’s previous government in 2011 to 2015. He retains his job as coordinator of special services at a time of Russia’s war on Poland’s neighbor Ukraine. The culture minister is now Hanna Wroblewska, an art historian, while Jakub Jaworowski, an economist and financier, was put in charge of state assets, where auditing is currently taking place, uncovering glaring cases of mismanagement under the previous government. Krzysztof Paszyk, an experienced politician and lawmaker, is the new minister of development and technology. They will take office after formal appointment by President Andrzej Duda on Monday. The reshuffle came just hours before a major protest planned in Warsaw by Law and Justice, seeking to win seats in the June 9 elections to the. They were joining with farmers protesting new EU agriculture policies to cut green gas emissions, called the Green Deal.