Deputy State Assets Minister dismissed

Rafał Guz/PAP

Poland’s ruling right-wing coalition has come under new pressure after the prime minister sacked a senior member of a junior party from his ministerial post.

Janusz Kowalski, a member of Solidary Poland (Solidarna Polska), an ally of the ruling Law and Justice party, was shown the door by Mateusz Morawiecki from his position of deputy state assets minister.

Kowalski was strongly opposed to the government’s compromise agreement on the latest EU budget, and had also criticised the government’s Polish Energy Policy up to 2040, which envisages a transformation of the Polish energy sector, including significant reduction of coal consumption and CO2 emissions.

"The dismissal of Minister Kowalski, already signed by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, is lying on my desk," State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin told RMF FM radio. "Thus, his mission in the State Assets Ministry has come to an end."

Sasin added that "there is a big difference of views between the majority of the government and (...)minister Kowalski."

"Especially (...) in the Ministry of State Assets, which oversees the entire energy sector and energy companies, and thus participates very strongly in energy transformation," he added.

Kowalski’s dismissal could exacerbate differences within the United Right coalition. Although dominated by Law and Justice, it has a slim majority in parliament so any break in the coalition would leave Law and Justice as a minority government.

Last year Solidary almost walked away from the coalition over the disagreements caused by the EU budget deal.

Reacting to Kowalski’s sacking politicians from Solidary Poland said in a statement sent to PAP that they oppose it, arguing that it breaches a coalition agreement.

"We hope the reasons for his dismissal will be the subject of talks between United Right leaders during the Coalition Council," they wrote.

The party said it "consistently drew attention to the negative consequences of decisions taken at European Council summits in the years 2019-2020 by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki."

They criticised the energy transformation policy, which they described as "extremely costly for Poland" and the withdrawal from coal, which they called "an important source of our energy sovereignty."

They also argued that reducing carbon emissions was against Poland's economic interests and said they opposed linking the EU budget to "ideological criteria."

Kowalski served as deputy minister of state assets from December 2019.