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Warsaw will welcome hundreds of local government representatives in protest against planned reforms

In Poland, mayors stage protest over planned economic reforms

In Poland, mayors stage protest over planned economic reforms

These would bring about significant cuts in local budgets and powers

Mayors of large cities and towns in Poland are organising a mass protest today in Warsaw. The reason: planned major economic reforms billed as “the Polish Deal”, which are set to take considerable amounts of funding away from local budgets. The organisers will present an appeal signed by hundreds of heads of local governments to the Parliament.

Local communities in Poland united for subsidiarity

Today, 13 October, representatives of local governments, corporations, local government associations from all over Poland will protest against “destructive” central government's policies. In particular, protesters will declare their position in favour of respecting the fundamental principle of subsidiarity (when problems are solved by the political entity closest to their occurrence), breached consistently by the central government. Together, they will send an appeal to the Marshal and Deputy-Marshals of the Sejm (the leaders of the lower chamber of the Polish parliament).

Why are Polish mayors protesting?

As TheMayor.EU has previously reported, the mayors object to the planned economic changes fearing they will lose billions in funding. That would threaten their ability to deliver major services and it would be an additional burden to the dire financial situation caused by the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.

Rzeszów’s mayor Konrad Fijołek, speaking to Euractiv, explained that the central government’s plans have been unveiled gradually without mayors being aware of what was going on. He believes that the changes will bring about centralisation, which is contrary to the spirit of the local government reform.

The changes mean that considerable amounts of finances will be lost over the next 10 years (around 145 bn zlotys). Only a minor part (around 11 billion) will be returned to citizens thanks to reduced taxes, while the rest will go to the central government. On top of this, major reduction of local government competencies, including in health, education and finances was previewed.

Do they know better in Warsaw what the residents of Tychy, Bieruń or Pszczyna need? NO! Should they decide what investments we should implement or how the schools in our communes should function? Of course NOT!

I am one of the longest-serving presidents in Poland [Mayor of a large city], for years I have watched how the government changed… It did not love local governments, but we and the inhabitants of the cities and communes have never been subjected to such a destructive policy before,” commented Andrzej Dziuba, mayor of Tychy since 2000.

Protests start at 10:00 at Roma Musical Theatre and conclude at the Sejm, the lower house of the parliament.

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