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POLAND: Chairs of EP Committees
Members of the European Parliament have elected Chairpersons of EP Committees. The elected Chairpersons will direct the works of the committees throughout the parliamentary term. Their work will be supplemented by Vice-Chairs. The EPP Group will lead 8 committees, followed by the S&D – 5, Renew Europe – 3, Greens – 2, ECR – 2, and GUE – 1. Poland managed to secure 7 Vice-Chairs, including:
former MFA Witold Waszczykowski (Committee on Foreign Affairs);
Janusz Lewandowski(Committee on Budgets);
Zdzisław Kranosdębski (Committee on Industry, Research and Energy);
Róża Thun(Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection);
Krzysztof Hetman(Committee on Regional Development);
Robert Biedroń(Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality);
Ryszard Czarnecki(Committee on Petitions).
Poland had high hopes for former PM Beata Szydło to take lead of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee. However, her candidacy was rejected 27 to 21. The election of the Chairperson of this committee has been postponed until the ECR proposes a different candidate. Representatives of S&D, Renew Europe, and the Greens argued that they will not vote for members of parties, which are currently facing Article 7 rule of law procedures – PiS and Hungary’s Fidesz. While many thought that this would result in the blockade of all PiS candidates for committee chairs and deputy chairs, the move was only visible in regards to Szydło, who is one of the most recognizable Polish MEPs.
The opposition argues that this turn of events proves that the ECR – despite the election success of PiS – has lost its standing in the EP. Politicians of the ruling PiS party, however, argue that this is political revenge for Poland’s opposition to Frans Timmermans’ candidacy for European Commission President. The ruling party has successfully formed a narrative, that it was Poland’s actions that directly prevented the appointment of Timmermans as the Council’s candidate. PiS is likely to also utilize its political conflicts in Brussels for domestic political gains, which will prove useful in the election campaign.