Interest in vaccinations against COVID-19 in Poland is declining. The President of Law and Justice, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński said that “refusal to vaccinate is not a matter of individual freedom”. “ All possible measures must be taken, both incentives for vaccination against COVID-19 and stricter measures, ” he added. According to Kaczyński, “a joint agreement of all parties on decisive action in the fight against the epidemic should be signed.”
Kaczyński said in an interview with the Polish Press Agency that he is fully vaccinated. – There was no fear, no side effects. Some of the hand hurt, it didn’t hurt me – he added.
Taking into account that in Poland, so far, a large part of the society does not want to be vaccinated, Kaczyński said that “refusal to vaccinate is not a question of individual freedom”. – People who refer to freedom in the context of vaccinations, perhaps unconsciously, refer to the thesis that man is a wolf to man. This is extreme selfishness. The limits of freedom are the rights of other people. You cannot expose others to death or health, he added.
The PiS president emphasized that “the state has a duty to do everything possible to achieve the highest level of protection against the plague, which is COVID-19”. – I believe that you cannot be guided in this situation by thinking about not exposing yourself to a certain group of voters. You have to be guided by the good of the people – he said.
– New variants of the coronavirus are escalating. We must achieve collective immunity. All possible measures must be taken, both incentives for vaccination and more stringent steps – he said.
Kaczyński: people not vaccinated against COVID-19 can expect restrictions
When asked if it was possible that unvaccinated persons could expect restrictions, he replied: – Yes, they can expect restrictions.
– The state must do everything possible to protect its citizens from the plague. You cannot succumb to those who have trouble analyzing the situation and have too little empathy. Politicians must take responsibility and risk for difficult decisions. We are able to vaccinate five million people in a week – he said.
PiS president: parties should sign an agreement to fight the COVID-19 epidemic
He noted that the head of the PSL, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, proposed a joint speech by all party leaders and the president on the health situation of Poles. – I support this initiative, but I believe that we should go further. A joint agreement of all parties on decisive action in the fight against the epidemic should be signed – said Kaczyński.
Kaczyński on attacks on vaccination points
He also referred to the recent attacks on vaccination points. Asked what the government plans to do, in addition to strengthening their protection to prevent such incidents, the deputy prime minister said that “the Seym must pass a law increasing criminal liability for similar acts.”
– Efforts must be made to ensure that those responsible for the attacks are captured and punished. In my opinion, at least some of these attacks are part of a hybrid war, and the associations of people who undertake attacks may reach Russia, he assessed.
Kaczyński, when asked if there will be discipline in the PiS club and consequences for those who question vaccinations, replied that “there are such people in the club, but not in our party”. “We’ll be thinking about that,” he added.
PiS president on pay rises for politicians
Kaczyński also referred to the issue of pay rises for people holding managerial positions in the state, as well as local government officials and politicians. He was asked whether the Sejm would deal with the PiS project at the next meeting – August 11.
The PiS chairman said that “in 1997, the salary for the MP after the increase amounted to PLN 6,500, that is, adding about PLN 7,000 to thirteen”. – This is only slightly less than what an MP is earning at the moment, before the currently planned increases. 24 years have passed since then, including years of high inflation. These wages were then incomparably greater, in terms of purchasing power, than they are today. Later they increased slightly in 1998 and then they totaled almost as much as today. Since 1998, the value of the zloty has fallen at least twice, and the purchasing power has also fallen at least twice. Did any professional group in Poland experience such a huge reduction in the real value of remuneration at that time? There is no such. We are catching up in part now – he added.
Kaczyński on the Civic Platform project to block increases: pure hypocrisy
He commented on the Civic Platform bill, which would block the increases introduced by the president’s decree. Kaczyński assessed that “this is pure hypocrisy to the cube”.
– When we previously proposed a raise, the PO agreed, and then, under the influence of Donald Tusk, they withdrew from it. This time they did not agree officially, but in private talks there were constant approaches to PiS MPs and questions about when we will finally do it, because they cannot cope financially anymore – he said. – In a sense, I understand it – they want to win the elections and think that this case will be reminded from time to time. On the other hand, the man who ordered such a step from the PO earned a lot of money in Brussels – as much as the director of a medium-sized bank. In addition, he divided his fortune from his wife four years ago, so I would be very careful about how the PO talks about earnings – he added.
– I know that the tabloids will always attack us in such a situation, but I want to quote one anecdote. While my late brother was the President of the Republic of Poland, I met German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the airport. She flew to Warsaw to visit my brother, and I was on my way to Copenhagen. At one point she noticed that I was looking at such a dilapidated old small airliner with the words “Luftwaffe” on it. This inscription interested me the most, but I was wondering what this outdated machine is, what kind of crap it is. Angela Merkel must have understood what I was thinking about, she came up to me and said – “This plane is already dangerous to fly, but tabloids …” – said Kaczyński.
– So in short – yes, we must also take into account the criticism from tabloids, but we must make salaries more realistic in relation to the GDP level – he stressed.
Kaczyński: the current system of remuneration in the public sphere is absurd
He added that “this increase will be exactly the same as the increase in wages in Poland, and not in the five main sectors of the economy that develop most dynamically”. “It’s just restoring a state of normality, but we’ve been counting on many attacks before. I believe that this matter must be settled, also in relation to local government officials – assessed Kaczyński.
– It is regularly the case that heads of offices and individual departments earn more than heads of ministries, not to mention deputy ministers. In Austria, there is a rule that no government official may earn more than the Austrian Chancellor. The current pay system in the public sphere is absurd and we need to get out of it – these are people who take huge responsibility, should also be properly qualified and receive a salary that is often so low that it forces them to resign from this position and look for work in the private sector – he said.
Pay increases for politicians
Last week, a presidential ordinance was published in the Journal of Laws, which introduced price increases from August 1, among others for the prime minister, marshals of the Sejm and Senate and other persons holding managerial positions in the state, including undersecretaries of state (deputy ministers). Thanks to the regulation, the salaries of parliamentarians also increased, because – in accordance with the Act on the performance of the mandate of a deputy and senator – their salary corresponds to 80 percent. the amount of the undersecretary of state’s salary, excluding the seniority allowance. According to the regulation signed by the president, the prime minister and marshals would earn over 20,000. PLN per month, and deputies and senators instead of PLN 8016.07 – approx. 12.5 thousand. zloty.
On Monday, PiS submitted to the Sejm a draft amendment to the act on remuneration of persons holding state managerial positions and working in local government. It assumes, inter alia, increase by 40% remuneration for the president, increase in the amount of allowances for councilors by 60% and an increase in the remuneration of local government employees.
The Civic Coalition is against the planned increaseswho submitted a draft to the Sejm aimed at blocking the increase in the salaries of politicians. The project is the result of the Monday meeting of the KO club authorities with the leader of the Civic Platform, Donald Tusk.
Kaczyński on the agreement on Nord Stream 2
In an interview with the Polish Press Agency, Kaczyński was asked about the assessment of Poland’s current relations with the new American administration and how these relations were influenced by the agreement between Germany and the United States on Nord Stream 2.
The PiS chairman said that “the agreement on Nord Stream is part of the old concept of partnership between the US and Germany and easing the course towards Russia”.
– Such ideas have been functioning for years and there have been attempts to implement them, which to some extent stabilized Europe, but we are dealing with a different Russia. If anyone thinks that Russia can be pulled away from China, they are completely wrong, he added. – For us, this agreement on Nord Stream 2 is difficult to accept – he said.
– Of course, we still want to maintain the Polish-American alliance, also in the armaments sphere. We have to rearm ourselves, expand the army. It has to be better armed and much more numerous, which cannot be done right away, but it will have to be done successively. I believe that this will also be our advantage in relations with the USA. Poland has to start arming itself seriously and such a program will soon be introduced in the form of bills to the Sejm. We must be safer, also in the context of hybrid threats – he said.
Main photo source: PAP / Marcin Obara