January 9, 2018 / 5:33 PM / in 2 years

Factbox: Poland reshuffles its government

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s ruling conservatives announced a major government reshuffle on Tuesday, in an apparent effort to mend relations with the European Union and moderate voters at home.

Following are details of new appointments.

Incoming ministers:

Teresa Czerwinska, finance

A former deputy finance minister responsible for the budget and a loyalist to Morawiecki. Her main task will be to secure money for the government’s broad welfare spending agenda, maintaining efforts to improve tax collection, and to negotiate Poland’s chunk of the EU’s next seven-year budget.

Jacek Czaputowicz, foreign affairs

A political scientist with little hands-on diplomatic experience, who headed the ministry’s legal department, Czaputowicz will oversee Poland’s efforts to maintain close ties with allies in Washington.

Joachim Brudzinski, interior

A confidante of PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski who goes with him on fishing trips and is responsible for maintaining party loyalty among local officials. He will oversee migration policy, a major source of disagreement between PiS and Brussels.

Mariusz Blaszczak, defense

Previously interior minister, Blaszczak was a leading voice within the PiS government opposing EU migration quotas and arguing that Poland’s security would be at risk if it let Muslim migrants in.

Poland’s NATO allies are likely to watch closely his efforts to modernize the army, which had faced delays under the outgoing defense chief, Antoni Macierewicz.

Blaszczak will have to complete talks on a multi-billion-dollar contract with the U.S. firm Raytheon on the purchase of eight missile defense systems as well as a deal to buy submarines equipped with long-range missiles that the defense ministry said recently would be announced in January.

Henryk Kowalczyk, environment

A long-time PiS lawmaker, Kowalczyk will oversee Poland’s disputed coal policy. The country’s reliance on coal has put it on collision course with EU policies on reducing carbon emissions.

Jerzy Kwiecinski, investment

An engineer by training, Kwiecinski is a former deputy economic development minister.

Jadwiga Emilewicz, entrepreneurship

Will oversee technology policy.

Lukasz Szumowski, health

A cardiologist with limited political experience.

Outgoing ministers:

Antoni Macierewicz, defense

The PiS’ investigator into the 2010 plane crash over Russia that killed President Lech Kaczynski, a founder of the party, army top brass and dozens of other officials, Macierewicz once said it was caused by a thermobaric bomb.

He has repeatedly asserted that the plane disintegrated in mid-air and accused Russian air traffic controllers of willingly misdirecting it, although an official investigation by Poland’s centrist government at the time blamed the crash on pilot error due to thick fog.

A vocal anti-Russian hawk, Macierewicz had promised to double defense spending and add 100,000 personnel. But critics said his plans lacked financial details and followed “outdated” military thinking.

Witold Waszczykowski, foreign affairs

Seen by many observers as having had little impact on Polish foreign policy, Waszczykowski is best known for his many gaffes. Last year he mistakenly told reporters at the United Nations that he had met with representatives of the made-up nation of San Escobar.

He also told a German newspaper that the previous centrist government wanted a world full of “bike riding vegetarians who only use renewable energy and fight all forms of religion”.

Konstanty Radziwill, health

Widely criticized by the opposition in Poland over his handling of a protest by young doctors over work conditions, as well as a decision to eliminate maternity ward standards and comments disparaging concerns over air pollution.

Jan Szyszko, environment

An avid hunter, Szyszko had angered many in Poland for easing limits on hunting and felling of trees on private property. He approved tripling of the quota of wood that can be harvested in an ancient forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, triggering EU court action.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Catherine Evans

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