The ruling party launched its European Parliamentary elections campaign in Warsaw on Saturday with a key policy announcement that from 1 July the 500+ benefit would be available for all children.
Opening the election event the ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński called for a “Poland for all and not for the few”. He emphasized the need for equality rather than privileges for well-situated groups.
Mr Kaczyński argued that “freedom” was just as important and must include the freedom of religious practice and belief and freedom speech. He accused the opposition of trying to exclude Christian and conservative values from the public domain.
According to Mr Kaczyński, the ruling party was committed to upholding traditional and patriotic cultural values and Polish sovereignty as a nation state. He said that it was not enough to talk about values, actions were more important than words. Actions, which he argued, the ruling party had already demonstrated in its three years of government.
Child benefit for all kids
He announced that the party would commit itself to make the child benefit (500+) a universal one for all children. Up until now, it was available for every second and further child. This announcement electrified the conference hall and brought the crowd to its feet. Family policy has always been a key pillar of PiS policy and approach.
No income tax for young people up to 26 years of age and minimum pension
He also announced that young people would not have income tax charged up until they were 26 and an additional pension payment for the elderly of 1100 PLN. In order to increase mobility, he also announced a major boost for public bus services in rural and small urban areas. This was the pitch to the young and the old.
These will be deliverables, not promises
He emphasized that these were not empty promises. His party had delivered its elections promises after 2015. And the promises on pensions and child benefit would be delivered this year before the general election in the autumn.
“These measures will increase our freedom and our equality” declared Mr Kaczyński. He also said that “Poland was at the heart of Europe” and that its social programme was part of bringing Poland into the European mainstream.
PM Morawiecki confirms delivery
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that in order to complete its reforms the party must win another term in office. He saw the first term as merely the “first half of the game”.
Mr Morawiecki set out the PiS record in the context of history. The party had been consistent (as the Centre Alliance) in the 1990s in pushing for NATO and the EU and now, argued the PM, it wanted to be active in building Europe’s future.
He argued that European values must mean higher incomes and not “empty churches” or “closed police stations and empty streets in rural areas”. He said that lowering tax was essential to promote a middle class because having a strong middle class was also a part of European values.
In response to the forming “European Coalition,” he said that the ruling party was effectively a “Polish coalition”. He argued that the European coalition was totally incoherent in that its members declared that after the election they would all go their separate ways into different European groupings such as the EPP, ALDE or the socialists.
PM Morawiecki said that in order for people to be free, people needed the ability to realise their potential at home in Poland rather than having to emigrate.
He said that his party was reaching out to the opposition by realising its unrealised promises to lower tax, digitise the state, reduce the budget deficit and create conditions for Poles to return home from abroad.