Poland: Time abroad, in finance seen as assets of PM nominee

Poland Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, a former banker, would bring to the office of prime minister economic and international experience seen as assets while the country faces criticism from other European Union members for policies that have aroused concerns of democratic backsliding.

Morawiecki, 49, is widely considered one of the Polish government’s most competent Cabinet members and has the trust of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski even though he is a relative newcomer who became Law and Justice member only after he joined the government.

As minister of finance and economic development, he has been given credit for overseeing an economy that has boomed in the two years since Law and Justice assumed power, with growth at over 4 percent and unemployment at a record low of under 7 percent.

The question remains if Morawiecki will take direction from the powerful Kaczynski as outgoing Prime Minister Beata Szydloto did or try to pursue an independent path. His background in many ways makes him an unusual choice for the populist Law and Justice.

Before joining the government, Morawiecki ran the bank BZ WBK, which is controlled by Spain’s Santander Group. The ruling party on whose behalf he will be leading Poland’s government seeks to limit foreign influence and global capitalism, and has increased state spending on welfare programs.

Morawiecki is the son of a prominent pro-democracy activist of the 1980s who is now a lawmaker, Kornel Morawiecki. His political activity began in an independent students’ union and his father’s anti-communist organization,…

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