Controversy and mystery surrounds departure of Polish government’s energy tsar

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The Polish government’s energy tsar, Piotr Naimski, was dismissed from his position on Wednesday, revealing in a social media post that he had been fired for being uncooperative and for blocking decisions.

Naimski’s area of responsibility included the nuclear power program, diversification of gas sources, and coordination of energy transmission networks. He had served in the present government since it came into office in 2015. 

Antoni Macierewicz criticized the decision to dismiss Naimski. Macierewicz is the deputy leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS), a former interior minister in the 1990s, and former defense minister from 2015-2017.

“I don’t know what this does for our energy security. Naimski was someone who for years had been involved in energy security and had real achievements in this sphere,” said Macierewicz. “I think this is a serious mistake, especially given the threat coming from Russia as well as Germany and the EU,” he added.

He was referring to proposals by the EU for Poland to help Germany with its gas supplies and added that he hoped this was a mistake that could quickly be corrected. 

The Polish government’s press spokesman, Piotr Muller, assured people that the move was not intended to be seen as criticism of Naimski’s record in government. According to Muller, it was simply a result of the reorganization of the government and a “different financing model being developed for the nuclear power program.”

There is speculation that Naimski was too committed to the option of building nuclear power stations with American support over French or Korean offers. There had also been some criticism that the nuclear power program was still dealing with delays. 

The Polish news outlet, however, quotes a source close to the government as saying that Naimski was considered to have failed to prepare a power supply network that would encourage the dynamic development of renewable energy, mainly with regard to solar panels for which there is increasing public demand. 

A former leader of the Civic Platform (PO), Borys Budka, offered yet another explanation for Naimski’s departure. According to Budka, Naimski had been critical of the merger of the two Polish fuel giants Orlen and Lotos that was piloted by the influential Orlen CEO Daniel Obajtek. The criticism is said to have focused on the fact that via Hungarian conglomerate MOL, Russian capital would be gaining a foothold in the Polish market.

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