PM Tusk denies government’s pressure on central bank
June 17, 2014
Poland's PM Donald Tusk
PM Donald Tusk refused to comment on whether National Bank of Poland President Marek Belka should keep his post following allegations that Belka may have offered the government help financing the budget, Tusk said Monday commenting on the tape scandal
that broke out over the weekend.
"It is not and it cannot be the prime minister's role to assess the NBP president or to suggest if he should remain in his position or not," Tusk said.
"In all certainty it is out of the question that the government minister tried to influence the operations of the NBP," Tusk added. "The charge that there may have been government pressure on the NBP finds no confirmation in what we can read."
Comments follow a report in a weekly magazine Wprost suggesting Belka may have offered the government help financing the budget if the economy didn't pick up in time for elections on condition that then-Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski be sacked.
In a transcript of a recorded conversation with Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz, Belka speaks of possibilities for the central bank to buy government debt after Sienkiewicz confronts him with the prospect of tight public finances and losing voter support figures for the governing party ahead of elections.
Polish PM also sees no reason to dismiss Minister Sienkiewicz, Tusk told a briefing.
"I don't find issues there that would force me to take a decision vis-a-vis Minister Sienkiewicz," Tusk told an afternoon briefing. While the style of the conversation is "outrageous," the content is benign, even betraying a certain "care" for the state.
The nation's chief prosecutor held a similar view, telling a briefing that revelations released to date "don't give prosecutors sufficient cause" to suspect wrongdoing.
Revelations set off the predictable firestorm amongst politicians and in the media, dominating the day's headlines.
The lead opposition party said it would seek a constructive vote of no-confidence against the government and begin consultations amongst the opposition to find a candidate to replace Tusk at the PM post.
Belka, for his part, speaking late afternoon for TVN broadcaster's news program Fakty, declared he would not tender his resignation, denying allegations he may have compromised the independence of the central bank.
"In Poland many people believe that the independence of the central bank means necessity to wage a war with the government," he said. In his view, "the central bank's duty is cooperation."
The weekly Wprost also published a recording involving former Transport Minister Slawomir Nowak with former deputy Finance Minister Andrzej Parafianowicz about his wife's run-in with tax officials. The General Prosecutor is launching an investigation and Tusk could offer no defense of his former subordinates. "If those words were really spoken between these two former ministers, then the prosecutor has work to do," Tusk told the afternoon briefing.
Wprost hints at still more recordings to come, including other outings involving Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development Elzbieta Bienkowska and Polish magnate Jan Kulczyk with governing party PO secretary general Pawel Gras the chief of the Supreme Audit Board (NIK).