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POLAND: Agriculture Minister Resigns
Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Krzysztof Jurgiel resigned from office. This came after recent speculations in the media about PM Morawiecki’s plans to dismiss Jurgiel. There has been no official statement from the Prime Minister as to who will take over, but reporters are arguing that MP Jan Ardanowski will fill the position. Officially Jurgiel resigned due to personal reasons, however, he was criticized by the opposition, the agricultural sector, and even some PiS colleagues. His actions regarding the epidemic of African Swine Flu were regarded as insufficient. Furthermore, in terms of future EU agricultural funds, the involvement of the Ministry under Jurgiel was seen as passive.
Commentators have also pointed out that Minister Jurgiel was transferred from Beata Szydło’s cabinet to PM Morawiecki’s government and remained an outsider. Most importantly, Minister Jurgiel failed to attract support from farmers. While PiS has not been putting as much focus on specific agricultural policies, it is likely to change its attitude somewhat before the local elections. Some PiS leaders are fearing that the negative attitude towards Jurgiel among farmers may contribute to poor election results and a resurgence of the agrarian PSL party. Still, the new appointee to the Agriculture Ministry will have less than half a year to mend relations.