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POLAND: Division of Gov't Tasks

The long-awaited amendment bill on the departments of government administration has been published. Submitted as an MPs’ draft, the law will enable the functioning of the changed structure of the government following the October 2019 election. When the bill passes, the formulation of the second Morawiecki government will be completed.

The new formal division of tasks is especially crucial for the newly-established Ministry of State Assets of Deputy PM Jacek Sasin. The bill grants Sasin far-reaching competences in terms of oversight over state-owned companies. The Deputy PM will be able to initiate mergers, increase dividends, or have a more significant say in terms of appointments to top positions. In terms of scope, the State Assets Ministry will now have the most control over energy companies after the transformation of the Energy Ministry into the Climate Ministry. Sasin will also have increased control over the Polish national development bank (BGK) as well as state-owned gambling and betting entities. As expected since the announcement of the formulation of State Assets, Deputy PM Sasin has become one of the most powerful government figures alongside PM Morawiecki.

Other changes include the weakening of the Environment Ministry under Michał Woś in favour of Michał Kurtyka’s Climate Ministry. While Climate will have an impressive portfolio, a lot of its actions will be dependent on cooperation with the Ministry of State Assets. As expected, the bill also formalises changes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the transfer of Konrad Szymańki (former Deputy FM) to the PM’s office as a full-fledged Minister responsible for European Affairs. Experts note that this change will allow the PM more control over EU matters and grant more powers to Szymański who is regarded as a competent diplomat. Still, the division of diplomatic matters over two entities will complicate such issues such as managing embassies and maintaining coherent policy towards foreign partners.