Youth research

Polish leader seeks to assure public of energy security

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks during a press conference near the gas installation at a Gaz-System gas compressor station in Rembelszczyzna, near Warsaw, Poland, April 27, 2022.

Kaper Pempel | Reuters

At a time of growing discontent over high inflation and shortages of coal for heating, Poland’s prime minister sought to reassure the public on Friday that adequate supplies of natural gas and coal were being built up .

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki blamed the problems on Russia’s nearly five-month-long war in Ukraine, saying the country’s main ruling Law and Justice party “will do everything to adapt the energy strategy to wartime .It is already suitable for times of war.”

“We will face the effects of the war in Ukraine; we will face inflation,” Morawiecki said, speaking in parliament.

The question is of crucial importance for the right-wing government coalition led by Law and Justice. As public discontent mounts, opinion polls suggest he could lose a parliamentary majority in an election next year and with it the ability to implement his policies.

Poland’s year-on-year inflation rate hit 15.5% in June, the highest in 25 years, while gas and especially coal prices soared. The price of quality coal, which millions of households use for heating and which Poland had largely sourced from Russia, has tripled in recent months as imports have been curtailed under sanctions imposed on Moscow for its aggression in Ukraine.

The government has introduced lower, regulated prices for households and recently ordered some public energy companies to make urgent purchases of coal for individual users. Most of the coal produced by Poland is intended for the needs of industry.

Morawiecki blamed the rising prices and worries about winter shortages on Russia and its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, which also borders Poland.

He promised that gas and coal supplies will be sufficient, saying that coal purchases have been made in many countries and gas storage tanks will be full for the winter.

Opposition politicians and some economists criticized his remarks as too optimistic.