Many countries have already appointed next Commissioners. There is a deficit of women. The Polish Commissioner is still missing. For the time being the list is closed. By the time Ursula von der Leyen comes to Warsaw the decision is most likely going to be announced later this week.
The issue is reported in today’s Rzeczpospolita, a newspaper independent of, but close to the government.
I wrote about Jadwiga Emilewicz, Konrad Szymański and Jerzy Kwieciński before. Lately I have urged not to forget Adam Bielan MEP. Ryszard Czarnecki MEP, whom I have mentioned before, is considered again, according to the newspaper. Now it turns out there are two more names.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP and Krzysztof Szczerski complete the list.
Mr Saryusz-Wolski is a controversial figure for his 2017 transfer from the EPP, where he was a leading figure, to the Polish governmental party Law and Justice (PiS). Today he is an MEP with the ECR. He has long European experience, as a person who once led the work of Poland’s EU accession, helped to establish the College of Europe Natolin campus in Warsaw, where he served as a vice-rector, was secretary of state for EU affairs in the Jerzy Buzek government and MEP since 2004.
Any other year he would be considered an excellent candidate, except for his departure from the EPP back in 2017, when he was made a counter-candidate against Donald Tusk for the presidency of the European Council, made any support for him from the EPP a sort of mission impossible.
Should Mr Saryusz-Wolski be appointed by the Polish government, expect an interesting hearing in the European Parliament. “Interesting” in every sense of the word.
Mr Szczerski, on the other hand, is less known to the European crowd. Lately he has been the head of the Chancellery of President of the Republic Andrzej Duda seeking an international position. He has been named a candidate for the NATO Deputy Secretary General, which was awarded to the Romanian candidate Mr Mircea Geoană.
Since Mr Szczerski is a front-person of the President, he is most likely included on this list pro-forma, so that one of the pre-candidates was a President affiliate.
His chances are limited also by his strong Eurosceptic positions as a PiS politician in the past. Often he argues for re-Christianisation of Europe, would like to distribute “Catholic passports” to the Polish migrants in Western European countries and sees Poland as a “saviour” of Europe.
What the PiS party wants
Rzeczpospolita quotes a PiS politician say: “After the last top jobs rearrangement we do not have too many bridgeheads at the top of the EU. The von der Leyen team will be the most political Commission in the history of integration. We need a political Commissioner who will defend the Polish interests in all areas”. According to this logic Mr Bielan, Mr Szymański or Mr Szczerski would be the best options.
What Ursula wants
What the Parliament does not want
Anti-Europeans: Mr Saryusz Wolski is on a no-go list for the EPP. Mr Czarnecki offended a fellow MEP with a unparliamentary language, for which he lost his job as a Parliament VP. Mr Szczerski is not as known yet, but should he become a Commissioner-candidate more of his past quotes on Europe and Christianity and teachers will soon resurface.
If logic was to preserve, the best chances are with Ms Emilewicz or Mr Kwieciński. Could well be that Mr Szymański marries the two approaches: on the one hand he is a technocrat, and on another a prominent minister and a PiS partisan. Considered a moderate in his own party, he’d be a perfect fit, except for two factors: he is not a woman and…
The decision is between the Prime Minister Morawiecki, PiS Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński and, apparently, President Duda contributes to the reflection.
So the bottom line is this: Emilewicz, Kwieciński, Szymański or Bielan?