President Duda rejects Tusk government’s attempt to replace Poland’s ambassador to NATO

President Andrzej Duda has announced that he will not agree to the appointment of a new Polish ambassador to NATO and accused the government of endangering Poland’s preparations for the alliance's upcoming summit

Poland's President Andrzej Duda in the Polish parliament on Thursday, April 25, 2024, listens to a policy speech by Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

On Thursday morning, the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, on which the governing left-liberal coalition has a majority, approved the government’s candidate Jacek Najder to become Poland’s ambassador to NATO in place of the incumbent Tomasz Szatkowski. Najder previously served as Poland’s ambassador to NATO from 2011 until 2016.

However, hours later President Andrzej Duda announced that he would not sign off on the reappointment of Najder because he had not been consulted regarding the decision nor agreed to it. He called it “astonishing” that an attempt was underway to replace the current ambassador, Tomasz Szatkowski, just before a July summit in Washington marking NATO’s 75th anniversary.

The president noted that this was being done despite no complaints from the Polish government or its allies against Szatkowski, who was appointed in 2019. Moreover, the manner in which the process was being conducted “is in violation of all existing rules,” claimed Duda.

“Until now, a candidacy was first submitted to the president, who preliminarily approved it, and only then was it submitted to parliament. No such consultation took place,” said the Polish president. “Poland is represented before NATO primarily by the president, and I expect that I will be the one to present the Polish ambassador to the alliance,” concluded Duda. 

The opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party also strongly criticized the government’s actions. “In a situation where our largest and most proven ally is NATO, weakening our position in NATO by dismissing the ambassador now, before the summit, and appointing a new person, is absurd,” said PiS MP Agnieszka Wojciechowska van Heukelom. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski said that he did not understand the president’s surprise at the nomination of Jacek Najder as ambassador to NATO nor his announcement that he would not approve it. “Poland must have one foreign policy, not two, a government one and a presidential one. The government leads Polish policy, and we ask the president to allow us to do that,” declared Sikorski on TVN24 commercial news channel.

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