Energy 14 December, 2017 10:00 am   

Will Prime Minister Morawiecki bring a breakthrough in power engineering?

Prime Minister Beata Szydło submitted her resignation to the political committee of the ruling party. Her successor is to be Mateusz Morawiecki. Perhaps he will manage to overcome the deadlock around the Responsible Development Strategy, but before the new order arrives, the energy sector must face a transition period and a new carousel of positions. The new order may be born in pain and chaos – says Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of

Personnel carousel

The period of uncertainty related to the several-month discussion on the reconstruction of the government is entering a new stage. It is already known that Mateusz Morawiecki, will be the new Prime Minister, the current Minister of Development and Finance. It is not known who will replace him in his current positions. We also do not know the composition of the new government, which may be presented on Tuesday, December 12th. Uncertainty will persist, at least until these decisions are made.

However, it may take longer, because with the change in the prime minister’s chair and in the ministries a personnel carousel may appear in state-owned companies. It is worth remembering that the ruling party is divided into factions. In the belief of its political activists, the election of Morawiecki as prime minister will be a significant strengthening of one of them, and a strike in groups surrounding the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, Minister of Environment Jan Szyszka (Radio Maryja environment) and Antoni Macierewicz Minister of National Defense. It is not known what will be the impact of strengthening the Morawiecki group on the forces of the convent, i.e. the guard of president Jarosław Kaczyński from the nineties of the previous century, as the Minister of Energy Krzysztof Tchórzewski.

The new balance of forces will force new constellations in companies, which in the first place may affect the power industry. Potentially, it can break the deadlock around the Responsible Development Strategy by the future prime minister. It assumes an energy shift based on renewable energy sources, combating air pollution, development of nuclear energy. Until now, it was a wish list concert. It became the resultant of the interests of various ministries, which influenced its final shape. The most spectacular intervention was the attempt to remove the atom from the document by the minister of the environment.

Breaking the deadlock

The disputes over the energy sector resulted from differences within the energy sector, where the coal and atomic lobbies clashed, and between the various ministers who supported the RES and biomass lobby. An example of an exchange of strikes between these groups may be the dispute over the Clean Air Program between development and energy ministries, or first conversion of a gas-to-carbon block project at the Azoty Puławy Group, and then the conversion of the carbon-to-gas block (back) at the Dolna Odra Power Plant belonging to Polska Grupa Energetyczna. The most prominent example is the creation of a ministry of energy, which was supposed to be a super-department, but it had to leave some competences to other ministries by playing fractions.

Prime Minister Morawiecki can go beyond these divisions and set the direction of energy development, thus breaking the deadlock. However, to break the divisions, he will have to impose a new order. The “Winner Takes Everything” scenario will not necessarily be accepted by the other fractions. Disappointment with the dismissal of the popular Prime Minister Beata Szydło can be seen in the party pits and the media associated with the ruling political option. Probably only the support of the real leader of the ruling camp, i.e. Jarosław Kaczyński, will give Morawiecki the strength to implement reforms. In power engineering, this would mean breaking the deadlock around the energy strategy and updating the Polish Nuclear Power Program.

Reformer or successor?

This is an opportunity to speculate on the reasons for Kaczyński’s choice against a part of the party. It avoids the little stabilization which, from the point of view of the state, gave rise to undesirable inertia, but for the party it meant a balance of powers. Perhaps it is about accelerating the reforms at the halfway point of his party’s government. However, it can also be about the succession in case he wants to retire quickly. There is still no successor who would replace him at the head of the party, for example in the event of health problems. Those concerns are also felt among party activists.

From the point of view of power engineering, and more broadly, business, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki can potentially bring stability to the expected reforms for innovative and clean energy. These changes, however, must precede a transition period in which different scenarios are possible and the risk of a painful crisis in the personnel policy is growing. If Morawiecki is to bring a new order, it will be born in pain. This means practically that business must prepare for further instability. Before the inertia in the government and companies is overcome, it will strengthen due to the anticipation of personnel and strategic changes in certain entities. The market of names has already begun.