Senate speaker says anti-crisis bills will be debated as soon as possible

Grodzki repeated that a debate on the package will be held as soon as possible but underlined that "even in extraordinary conditions, and maybe especially in such conditions, those, who are to vote, must learn what they are to vote for." Mateusz Marek/PAP

Poland's Senate (upper house) Speaker Tomasz Grodzki has told PAP that the upper chamber "will debate the anti-crisis package as soon as possible," and added that senators have to get acquainted with what they are to vote on.

Grodzki also said that the Senate was not "a voting machine."

On Saturday morning, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki appealed to Grodzki to convene a Senate sitting as soon as possible, even on Saturday, in order not to waste a moment since the number of entrepreneurs who would be able to save their business depended on the fast adoption of the anti-crisis shield.

Grodzki repeated that a debate on the package will be held as soon as possible but underlined that "even in extraordinary conditions, and maybe especially in such conditions, those, who are to vote, must learn what they are to vote for."

The official added that "treating the Senate like a voting machine shows a lack of respect not only for the rules of democracy and the principles of parliamentarism but also for our compatriots, who are in the focus of these solutions."

"They have been waiting for good laws," he underlined.

"The Senate is fully aware of the fact that Poles have been waiting for anti-crisis packages but they have been waiting for good laws. And when they find out what the Sejm has adopted, they will be disappointed, I am afraid," Grodzki added.

He also said that the duty of the Senate was to defend citizens against the crisis and make the protection in the field of economy, social affairs, health protection and local government the best possible.

Poland's lower house on Saturday adopted the anti-crisis package prepared by the government as a response to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. It is based on five pillars which include the protection of jobs, healthcare funding, financial system stability, support for businesses and public investment.

The adopted draft law includes extended credit guarantees for SMEs, the self-employed and employees on unsecured job contracts, as well as facilitations in social security payments.