INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Polish Peopleqs Party (Psl) in Governing Coalition Raises

Published: Wed 14 Nov 2007 06:52 AM
VZCZCXRO5459
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHWR #2230 3180652
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140652Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5486
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 2025
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
INFO RUEHKW/AMCONSUL KRAKOW 1907
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
UNCLAS WARSAW 002230
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
USDA FAS FOR OCRA/CURTIS, SEIDBAND; OSTA/MACKE, HAMILTON,
OGA/CHAUDHRY
STATE FOR EUR/NCE, EUR/RUS, INR
BRUSSELS PASS AG MINISTER COUNSELOR;
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD PGOV PL
SUBJECT: POLISH PEOPLEQS PARTY (PSL) IN GOVERNING COALITION RAISES
PROFILE OF AGRICULTURAL ISSUES
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
1. (U) Civic Platform (PO) led by Prime Minister-designate Donald
Tusk will establish a coalition with the Polish PeopleQs Party (PSL)
in order to form a new government. PO won PolandQs October
Parliamentary election with 41.5 percent of the vote, with PSL
garnering 9 percent. In November PSL will be given the leadership
of the Ministry of Agriculture with Marek Sawicki named as Minister.
2. (U) Biographical Note: Marek Sawicki is from Sawice where he
still owns a 62 acre rapeseed and wheat farm. He was educated in
agronomy and has a post-graduate degree in EU agricultural law from
the Polish Academy of Science. Sawicki joined PSL in 1990 and has
served in the Polish Parliament since 1993. His position as
Minister would be his first government post outside of the
Parliament. In recent public comments he has indicated that his
priorities include increasing small and medium-sized Polish farms
access to EU funds and new technologies.
3. (U) The PSL platform on agriculture includes: strong support for
direct EU payments to farmers through the CAP; more help for family
farms by limiting support to large farms; support for increasing
exports; and assistance to farmers adopting new technologies. Poland
will likely remain steadfastly opposed to CAP reform as the
cornerstone of PSLQs platform is to continue to direct EU payments
to farmers.
4. (SBU) PSL has not taken a public stance on biotechnology and
their leadership presents an opportunity to change PolandQs current
strong political opposition. Although many politicians speak of
Poland remaining a GM free country, the reality is that 300 hectares
of MON810 were planted in southern Poland this year and demand for
such products is growing as outbreaks of corn borer and root worm
spread. Politically it is a sensitive issue with 70 percent of the
public against the technology, but PSL draws its support from
commercially productive farms and may be more willing to take a
pragmatic stance on the current anti-biotech feed and seed laws.
5. (SBU) PSLQs leadership in the new government is expected to
extend beyond SawickiQs appointment to Agriculture, and may bring a
few agricultural issues greater attention such as biofuels,
biotechnology, and EU integration. PSLQs chairman, Waldemar Pawlak,
will be tapped to be Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of
Economy. Still to be decided, PSL may be given leadership of the
Ministry of Environment, with Stanislaw Zelichowski a strong
candidate for Minister. Dr. Henryk Jasiorowski, a well-connected and
influential figure in Polish agriculture, commented that PSLQs
influence on national agricultural policies will be greater than
previous minority coalition partners (such as Samoobrona which
headed Agriculture during the previous government). Its influence
may not be felt immediately. Jasiorowski and other trade sources
agree that due to the procedures for forming the new government and
the upcoming holidays, it will not be fully-constituted and working
until January 2008.
6. (SBU) Undersectary of Agriculture Jan Ardanowski agreed that PSL
will have more influence than its immediate predecessor, Samoobrona.
Ardanowski told emboffs that the current government will not do
much for the new Minister, but confirmed that the Minister-designate
has a strong commitment to biofuels, increasing EU payments to
farmers, and might consider some moderation of the nationQs stance
against biotechnology.
7. (SBU) Comment: Ambassador Ashe will extend an invitation to
Minister Sawicki to attend the Ministerial-level Washington
International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) to be held in
Washington D.C. March 4-6, 2008, an invitation that was declined
previously by Minister Wojciech Mojzesowicz, and not extended to
SamoobronaQs controversial leader, Andrzej Lepper. Embassy
recommends that USDAQs new Secretary, once confirmed, meet with
Minister Sawicki either on the margins of the WIREC conference or in
Poland, based on our nationQs long history of cooperation in
agriculture and PolandQs commitment to the global war on terror. End
Comment.
ASHE
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