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New PM: Poland needs to protect its national interests

Poland's new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki gives his policy speech in the parliament in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. (Alik Keplicz / Associated Press)
Poland's new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki gives his policy speech in the parliament in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. (Alik Keplicz / Associated Press)
By Monika Scislowska Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland – Poland “fits the European puzzle” and should be allowed to protect its national interests and character even while being a member of the European Union, the country’s new prime minister said Tuesday.

Mateusz Morawiecki outlined his policies both foreign and domestic in a speech to parliament a day after he was sworn in and tasked with boosting the economy and Poland’s image abroad.

A 49-year-old former international banker, Morawiecki succeeds Beata Szydlo at the helm of the same ruling Law and Justice party team.

Poland has developed a number of recent conflicts with EU leaders who have threatened punitive actions to curb Polish moves seen as going against EU values.

“Dear Europe, Poland’s piece perfectly fits into the European puzzle for sure, but it mustn’t be placed the wrong way or by force,” Morawiecki said.

He also said Poland was against leaving some EU members behind and against “dividing Europe into those better and those worse” where stronger nations are favored.

“That’s not right,” he said.

The bones of contention include Poland’s refusal to accept migrants within a sharing program, its reorganization of the judiciary that is seen as a threat to the rule of law and the country’s logging in a pristine forest.

Morawiecki said Poland will abide by the ruling of a top EU court, expected within months, on the forest issue.

A vote of support for the government is scheduled after midnight and is expected to pass.

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