Polish Minister Fired Over Gazprom Deal
- Apr. 22 2013 00:00
- Last edited 16:40
WARSAW — Poland's prime minister fired his treasury minister on Friday for failing to supervise the country's gas monopoly, PGNiG, and its dealings witháRussia's Gazprom.
The government was embarrassed earlier this month after premieráDonald Tuskáand Treasury MinisteráMikolaj Budzanowskiálearned from media reports that a company controlled by PGNiG and Gazprom signed a memorandum to build a second segment of the Yamal-Europeágas pipeline viaáPoland.
Energy issues related toáRussiaáare a hot political topic ináPoland, which is seeking to reduce reliance on oil and gas from its eastern neighbor and former communist era master.áRussiaáaccounts for 90 percent ofáPoland's oil imports and more than half of its gas.
TheáPolish governmentáalso fears that the new leg of theáYamal pipelineáwould allowáRussiaáto shut down another pipeline througháUkraine,áPoland's ally which it hopes will join it one day as aáEuropean Unionámember.
Ukraineáhas often clashed witháRussiaáover the price it pays for gas imports.
Polish governmentáopponents said the pipeline deal disclosure was fresh evidence of Budzanowski's inability to monitor state companies after state airlineáLOT warned of a massive loss and received a state rescue in November.
Tusk criticized Budzanowski for failing to monitor PGNiG properly and said he expected further consequences.
"In my view, the oversight function was not fully implemented," Tusk told a news conference.
"I will await fast actions from the new treasury minister with regards to PGNiG, including personal consequences that should come first," he said.
Analysts speculated this could mean the dismissal of PGNiG Chief ExecutiveáGrazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa, Budzanowski's close ally.
PGNiG declined to comment.
Gazprom has long been in talks with European countries about an expansion of theáYamal-Europe pipeline, which runs througháBelarusáandáPolandátoáGermany.
Deputy Administration and Digitization Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinski will replace Budzanowski, who had held his post since November 2011, Tusk said.