WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk set out a pro-European Union vision and pledged strong support for Ukraine on Tuesday, a day after his appointment ended eight years of nationalist rule that soured relations with the EU.
Below are the main policy plans from his speech:
* “Poland will regain its position as a leader in the European Union, Poland will build its strength, the position it deserves,” Tusk said.
* He promised to “bring back billions of euros” from Brussels, referring to EU funds frozen under the previous government due to a row over the rule of law.
* He said he would oppose any changes to EU treaties that would disadvantage Poland.
* “We will … loudly and decisively demand the full mobilisation of the free world, the Western world, to help Ukraine in this war,” he said.
* Tusk promised his government would make defence a priority and honour previously signed arms contracts.
* He vowed to quickly resolve issues behind a protest by Polish truckers who have blocked some border crossings in a dispute over Ukrainian trucking firms’ access to the EU.
* In the context of a migration crisis on Poland’s border with Belarus which Warsaw accuses Minsk of orchestrating, he said he would keep Poland’s eastern border safe while being humane at the same time.
* Tusk promised to keep generous social benefits introduced under the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) government, such as a universal child benefit which is due to be raised to 800 zlotys ($198) per month per child from Jan 1, 2024.
* He said teachers’ pay would rise by 30% from the beginning of next year and public sector employees would get a 20% rise.
* His government will introduce a new 1,500 zloty-per-month benefit for childcare for mothers who return to work after maternity leave.
* He said despite large social spending, his government would conduct a responsible fiscal policy and a Fiscal Council would be created to issue opinions on public spending plans.
* He also promised entrepreneurs the possibility of getting “vacations” from paying social security contributions.
RULE OF LAW
* Tusk said prosecutors will be independent from the government.
* He and Justice Minister Adam Bodnar, a former Human Rights Ombudsman, will look for ways to rebuild the rule of law and judicial institutions and bring to justice those responsible for eroding the Constitution.
* The new government plans an audit of state-owned companies which have become a “symbol of nepotism” under PiS, according to Tusk.
(Reporting by Anna Koper, Pawel Florkiewicz and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Nick Macfie)