WARSAW, Poland -- Poland’s minister for ties with the European Union resigned Wednesday amid the government's fractious relationship with the 27-nation bloc and domestic tensions.
Konrad Szymanski’s departure was interpreted as a weakening of the team of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a time of rising tensions inside the government over the energy crisis and ways of countering inflation and the rising costs of living.
Poland’s right-wing government has had disputes with Brussels, the main one being over its rule-of-law and democracy record, leading to a freezing of EU funds for Poland’s pandemic recovery.
“It is not good when a relatively pro-European minister goes and will probably be replaced by someone decidedly more anti-European,” said opposition left-wing lawmaker Lukasz Kohut.
Szymanski, who had held the post of minister for European Union affairs since 2019, told reporters that while “governments change, it (Poland) is one country" and its interests and position in Europe should remain unaffected by the political changes.
He said attempts to solve Poland's main dispute with the EU “come across all sorts of obstacles in Poland as well as in Brussels and I think that a new opening, also in the form of a new person, may help."
“I am convinced that my successor will have the same experience, professionalism and dedication to the cause and will be pursuing a policy that will be in line with Poland’s interests in the EU,” Szymanski said.
President Andrzej Duda formally accepted the resignations of Szymanski and also of Morawiecki’s long-time chief of staff, Michal Dworczyk. Duda appointed the new chief of staff, Marek Kuchcinski, of the main ruling Law and Justice party and former speaker of the lower house of parliament.
Later Wednesday, Morawiecki said that deputy foreign minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek will be the new minister for EU ties.
Dworczyk quit last month citing personal reasons. Unidentified hackers have for months been publishing emails from his private account dealing with government disputes and decisions. The government insisted the emails were fake, but some circumstances and persons mentioned in the emails suggested they were authentic.
Dworczyk and other members of Morawiecki's government said they believe the hacking was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.