Ewa Kopacz
Ewa Kopacz - Konwencja PO (cropped).jpg
Kopacz in 2015
Vice-President of the European Parliament
Assumed office
3 July 2019
Serving with See List
PresidentDavid Sassoli
Roberta Metsola
Prime Minister of Poland
In office
22 September 2014 – 16 November 2015
PresidentBronisław Komorowski
Andrzej Duda
DeputyTomasz Siemoniak
Janusz Piechociński
Preceded byDonald Tusk
Succeeded byBeata Szydło
Chair of Civic Platform
In office
8 November 2014 – 26 January 2016
Secretary GeneralPaweł Graś
Andrzej Biernat
Preceded byDonald Tusk
Succeeded byGrzegorz Schetyna
Marshal of the Sejm
In office
8 November 2011 – 22 September 2014
Preceded byGrzegorz Schetyna
Succeeded byRadosław Sikorski
Minister of Health
In office
16 November 2007 – 8 November 2011
Prime MinisterDonald Tusk
Preceded byZbigniew Religa
Succeeded byBartosz Arłukowicz
Personal details
Born
Ewa Lis

(1956-12-03) 3 December 1956 (age 65)
Skaryszew, Poland
Political partyUnited People's Party (before 1989)
Freedom Union (1994–2001)
Civic Platform (2001–present)
Other political
affiliations
European People's Party
Spouse(s)
Marek Kopacz
(div. 2008)
Children1
EducationMedical University of Lublin
Awards
Royal Norwegian Order of Merit
Order of Saint-Charles
Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana

Ewa Bożena Kopacz (IPA: [ˈɛva ˈkɔpat͡ʂ] (listen); née Lis; born 3 December 1956) is a Polish politician who has served as a Vice-President of the European Parliament since 2019. She previously was Marshal of the Sejm from 2011 to 2014, the first woman to hold the office, as well as Prime Minister of Poland from 2014 to 2015. In addition, Kopacz was Minister of Health from 2007 until 2011. Since 2001, she has been a member of Civic Platform, which she chaired from 2014 to 2016.[1] Kopacz succeeded Donald Tusk as Prime Minister, becoming the second woman to hold the office after Hanna Suchocka (1992–1993). Her term as Prime Minister ended on 16 November 2015, when she was succeeded by Beata Szydło.

Prior to entering politics, Kopacz was a pediatrician and general practitioner.[2] She was described as one of the leaders of the European Union during her tenure as Prime Minister. She was ranked as the world's 40th most powerful woman by Forbes magazine in 2015, placing her ahead of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and American television personality Ellen DeGeneres.[3]

Early life

Ewa Kopacz was born in Skaryszew. She is the daughter of Mieczysław and Krystyna Lis. Her father was employed as a mechanic and her mother worked as a tailor. She was raised in the city of Radom, where she graduated from high school. In 1981 she graduated from the Medical University of Lublin. She did a residency in family medicine ("second-degree specialisation") with a focus on pediatrics ("first degree"). She worked at the clinics in the villages of Orońsko and Chlewiska, then town of Szydłowiec, where until 2001 she headed the local health care facility.[citation needed]

Political career

In the 1980s, Kopacz joined the United People's Party.[citation needed] She entered active politics after her late husband, Marek Kopacz, a prosecutor, stood unsuccessfully for parliament.[4]

In the 1990s, Kopacz joined the Freedom Union and chaired the party's structures in the province of Radom. In the local elections in 1998, the regional council elected her as the councilor for the Masovian Voivodship.[citation needed]

In 2001, Kopacz left the Freedom Union to join the newly established Civic Platform political party. She was then elected to the Parliament in 2005, where she became head of the Health Committee. She worked as the chairperson of the Civic Platform structures of Masovia.[citation needed]

Sejm of the Republic of Poland

Kopacz was first elected as a deputy to the Sejm in 2001.[1] She was subsequently re-elected in 2005, 2007 and 2011. In November 2011 she was elected the Marshal of the Sejm.[5]

Minister of Health, 2007–2011

In 2009 Kopacz gained some degree of international fame by requesting pharmaceutical companies to present the advantages of swine flu vaccines, and demanding they take full responsibility for the side effects. She advised the Polish government to wait until proper testing had been done on the vaccine before investing in it, citing the fact that seasonal flu exceeds the current WHO criteria for pandemic every year but there has been no declaration of a pandemic of this much more dangerous seasonal flu. The Polish government refused to purchase the vaccine in question.[citation needed]

Prime Minister, 2014–2015

Kopacz posing with François Hollande during his visit to Poland, 2012
Kopacz posing with François Hollande during his visit to Poland, 2012
Ewa Kopacz with Jean-Claude Juncker
Ewa Kopacz with Jean-Claude Juncker

On 22 September 2014 Ewa Kopacz was sworn in as Prime Minister, after Donald Tusk resigned to take office as President of the European Council, and formed a cabinet.[6][7] On 8 November 2014 she was sworn in as leader of the Civic Platform.[citation needed]

In her first major policy speech as prime minister, Kopacz promised more continuity in Poland's foreign policy. She said her government would not stand for a break-up of neighboring Ukraine and would push for a greater U.S. military presence in Poland as a deterrent to possible Russian aggression.[8] For domestic political reasons she decided to replace Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski with her party rival Grzegorz Schetyna.[9] Instead, she made Sikorski the speaker of the parliament.

At her first EU summit in October 2014, Kopacz managed to persuade the other Member States that Poland deserved lucrative concessions as part of a deal to cut European carbon emissions.[10] After the European Commission opened infringement proceedings against Poland for violating particle pollution levels and was investigating reports that it has also exceeded limits on nitrogen oxides, Kopacz's government declared 2015 to be the Year of Improving Air Quality and backed a proposal to empower regional authorities to clamp down on pollution from vehicles and from the burning of coal and wood in homes.[11]

Poland's 2014 local elections, a ballot expected to provide a solid show of support for Kopacz, saw her party instead attract fewer votes than the opposition for the first time in almost a decade.[10]

As part of a cabinet reshuffle in June 2015, Kopacz purged Sikorski and three ministers from her government after the surprise defeat of President Bronislaw Komorowski, a party ally of Kopacz, in the presidential elections. She also demoted the official who oversees Poland's intelligence services.[12] Instead, she appointed a group of relative political unknowns to her government in an effort to regain voters' trust and avoid defeat in the upcoming elections. The appointments included a former Olympic rower, Adam Korol, who was named sports and tourism minister, and Marian Zembala, a celebrated heart surgeon, who became the new minister for health.[13]

In the national elections, Kopacz received 230 894 votes, which was the highest individual score in the country, and she received a mandate deputy of parliament VIII term.[14] However, her party lost the elections. In accordance with the constitution, she resigned along with all other members of her cabinet at the first sitting of the newly elected Sejm. She remained in office until her successor Beata Szydło was sworn in on 16 November 2015.

Member of the European Parliament, 2019-present

Since becoming a Member of the European Parliament following the 2019 European elections, Kopacz has been serving as one of its Vice-Presidents; in this capacity, she has been part of the Parliament's leadership under Presidents David Sassoli (2019–2022) and Roberta Metsola (since 2022).[15] Within the centre-right European People's Party Group (EPP), she is part of the leadership team around chairman Manfred Weber.[16] She later also joined the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (2020)[17] and the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic (2022).[18][19]

In addition to her committee assignments, Kopacz is a member of the MEPs Against Cancer group.[20]

Personal life

When Tusk's sister Sonia suffered a stroke in 2005, Kopacz became involved in her treatment, travelling to hospitals around Poland with her.[4]

She was married to Marek Kopacz until 2008.[21][22] and has a daughter, Katarzyna from her marriage.[23]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Kopacz, Ewa. "O mnie" [About me]. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Życiorys Ewy Kopacz. Kopacz jako minister zdrowia - Polska - Newsweek.pl". Newsweek.pl. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  3. ^ The World's 100 Most Powerful Women Forbes
  4. ^ a b Annabelle Chapman (September 11, 2014), Poland’s PM in Waiting Newsweek.
  5. ^ "1ST SITTING OF THE SEJM OF THE 7TH TERM" (PDF). European Information and Documentation Centre. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Ewa Kopacz sworn-in as new Polish Prime Minister". The Hindu. Warsaw. September 22, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  7. ^ "New Polish PM Ewa Kopacz unveils new cabinet". Euronews. September 26, 2014. Archived from the original on September 20, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Marcin Goettig and Pawel Sobczak (October 1, 2014), New Polish PM signals cautious approach on euro accession Reuters.
  9. ^ Pawel Sobczak and Christian Lowe (September 19, 2014), New Polish PM brings her rival into government Reuters.
  10. ^ a b Henry Foy (November 27, 2014), Kopacz faces tough year as elections loom Financial Times.
  11. ^ Beth Gardiner (June 7, 2015), Coal in Poland Lowering Life Spans The New York Times.
  12. ^ Pawel Sobczak and Christian Lowe (June 11, 2015), Polish government purge may be too late to avert election defeat Reuters.
  13. ^ Marcin Goclowski (June 15, 2015), Polish PM appoints political novices to her struggling government Reuters.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-13. Retrieved 2016-05-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ The new European Parliament Vice-Presidents European Parliament, press release of July 3, 2019.
  16. ^ EPP Group re-elects Manfred Weber as Group Chair European People's Party Group (EPP), press release of June 5, 2019.
  17. ^ Members of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer European Parliament, press release of July 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Members of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic European Parliament.
  19. ^ Parliament names MEPs to sit on three new committees European Parliament, press release of 24 March 2022.
  20. ^ MAC MEPs in the 2019-24 legislature MEPs Against Cancer.
  21. ^ Echodnia - Pogrzeb Marka Kopacza, byłego męża marszałek Sejmu (zdjęcia)
  22. ^ Mariusz Gierszewski: Największy dramat Ewy Kopacz: zamach bombowy na jej męża. „Następnego dnia bałam się włożyć kluczyki do stacyjki”. NaTemat.pl
  23. ^ Sebastian Sulowski, Katarzyna Karpa: Jak się rozwiodła Ewa Kopacz. dziennik.pl, 9 lipca 2008
Political offices Preceded byZbigniew Religa Minister of Health 2007–2011 Succeeded byBartosz Arłukowicz Preceded byGrzegorz Schetyna Marshal of the Sejm 2011–2014 Succeeded byRadosław Sikorski Preceded byDonald Tusk Prime Minister of Poland 2014–2015 Succeeded byBeata Szydło Party political offices Preceded byDonald Tusk Leader of the Civic Platform 2014–2016 Succeeded byGrzegorz Schetyna