Deputy PM Bienkowska is Poland's candidate for EU commission -state agency

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 03, 2014 3:55 AM

WARSAW (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Elzbieta Bienkowska is Poland's candidate to become one of the new European commissioners, state agency PAP said on Wednesday, heralding further change at the top of the country's government.

Government spokeswoman Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska did not specify which post Bienkowska, who is also infrastructure minister, would be put forward for, the agency said. Polish media quoted unnamed sources as saying that she could lead either regional policy or the internal market and services directorate.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has already agreed to take the job of European Council president.

Tusk may resign as soon as this month with parliamentary speaker Ewa Kopacz, who is also first deputy head of the ruling Civic Platform party, seen as clear favorite to replace him.

The departure of Tusk, who became the first Polish prime minister since the end of communism to win two consecutive elections, will leave a sizable hole for the ruling Civic Platform party to fill.

A move to Brussels by Bienkowska would cause much less disruption politically, because she is not a member of the party and is more of a technocratic figure.

At the start of this year she was seen in some government circles as a potential successor to Tusk.

That idea appeared to have been quietly put to one side after she made some faltering television appearances, and her personal popularity rating dropped.

Whoever is given Bienkowska's infrastructure portfolio in the government will have to be capable of overseeing massive projects to revamp Poland's roads and railways, many of them part-funded by the European Union.

(Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Dominic Evans)