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MINISTER GRZEGORZ SCHETYNA
Grzegorz Schetyna was born in Opole, Poland, on February 18, 1963.
He holds a Master’s degree in history.
Married, wife Kalina and daughter Natalia.
An opposition activist in communist Poland, he is a Sejm deputy for Lower Silesia, and a co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska/ PO) political party. From 2007 until 2009 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and Administration in Donald Tusk’s government. On July 8, 2010 he was elected Marshal (Speaker of the House) of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland.
On November 9, 2011, after the 2011 parliamentary elections, he became Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Polish Sejm.
Wroclaw University and opposition activity
An activist of the Fighting Solidarity (Solidarność Walcząca) movement during martial law, he graduated in history from the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the University of Wroclaw. Between 1986 and 1989 he led the Independent Students’ Union (Niezależne Zrzeszenie Studentów/NZS) at the University, and in 1988 he was also elected leader of the Inter-University Strike Committee of the Independent Students’ Union. Moreover, Grzegorz Schetyna was a co-founder of the underground publishing house Universitas. When in May 1989 the government refused to legalize the Independent Students’ Union, and thus broke one of the commitments made during the Round Table talks, he co-organized a general strike of students.
In Lower Silesian administration
In 1990 Grzegorz Schetyna became Director of the Provincial Office in Wroclaw, and then Vice-Governor of Wroclaw Province.
From 1994 until 1997 he was also president of the basketball section of the Slask Wroclaw Sports Club. During that time, he founded Eska, an independent commercial radio station. In 1991 he became leader and later Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Congress (Kongres Liberalno-Demokratyczny/KLD) in Wroclaw. In 1994 he joined the Freedom Union (Unia Wolności/UW), and in 1997 he was elected to the Polish Sejm.
Member of Parliament, co-founder of Civic Platform
Deputy to the Polish Sejm during its 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th terms of office. In 2001 he co-founded the Civic Platform party. On two occasions, in 2006 and 2010, he was chosen as Civic Platform leader in Lower Silesia; since 2010 he has been the party’s First Deputy Chairman. From 2009 until 2010 Chairman of the Parliamentary Club of the Civic Platform.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Administration
From 2007 until 2009 he was Deputy Prime Minister in Donald Tusk’s government and at the same time Minister of the Interior and Administration. Grzegorz Schetyna originated and initiated the National Programme of Local Road Reconstruction. It was based on cooperation between local authorities and state administration, which worked together to implement local investments that have informally been called “schetynówki”.
He was responsible for the last stage of Poland’s accession to the Schengen Area. Grzegorz Schetyna’s supervision of the introduction of a modern system of biometric passports in Poland enabled visa-free travel between Poland and Canada. He set out to complete the public administration reform (putting in order the competencies of regional governors and marshals in a new law on governors and the regional government administration, transferring more powers to local authorities, introducing a Village Administration Fund – fundusz sołecki), create a central IT platform for the public services sector, and implement a modernization programme for the uniformed services.
Marshal of Polish Sejm
From July 2010 to November 2011 Grzegorz Schetyna was Marshal (Speaker of the House) of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. Until August 6, 2010, i.e. the swearing-in of President Bronisław Komorowski, he was also Poland’s acting President. He initiated a reform of the Sejm Chancellery by, among other things, launching live webcasts of all meetings of Sejm committees and subcommittees. The main goal of these changes is to make all legislative work in the Sejm fully transparent and to foster active forms of civic engagement.
While assuming the post of Sejm Marshal, he recalled the tragically deceased Maciej Płażyński, saying “we all used to say that he had been a Marshal of the whole Sejm. I wish one day the same would be said about me.”
Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee
After the last parliamentary elections in 2011, he became Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.