Polish PM Tusk appoints banking exec as finance minister | News | DW | 20.11.2013
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Polish PM Tusk appoints banking exec as finance minister

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has reorganized his government in the face of lagging approval ratings. Tusk's new finance minister, Mateusz Szczurek, is also ING's chief economist for central Europe.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk, in office since 2007, said his sweeping changes would bring "new energy" to the government in Warsaw. Halfway through his second term in office, his coalition's popularity has been in decline as 2015 parliamentary elections approach.

Tusk said on Wednesday that he had appointed a "very gifted economist" to the role of finance minister as part of his major cabinet reshuffle, referring to ING economist Mateusz Szczurek. Szczurek will replace Jacek Rostowski, the architect of several unpopular economic reforms in the latter part of his six-year stint as finance minister. Earlier in his tenure, however, Rostowski was lauded as the mastermind that kept Poland out of recession in 2009. Poland was the only EU member to avoid negative growth after the financial crisis.

Tusk also replaced Environment Minister Marcin Korolec on Wednesday, even as Korolec chaired a UN climate change conference in Warsaw. Korolec was to remain in charge of the conference and Polish climate change policies, while Maciej Grabowski would take over as environment minister.

Tusk also announced changes of leadership at the ministries of sports, education, science and administration. President Bronislaw Komorowski must approve all of the new appointments before the changes become official, but he was expected to back Tusk's reshuffle.

The new team will be charged with taking Tusk's alliance into the 2015 vote, and with deciding how to spend fresh EU development funds - allocated as part of the bloc's new 2014-2020 budget, which was approved by the European Parliament on Tuesday.

msh/mz (AFP, Reuters)