WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s central bank chief drew criticism Monday after he was caught on hidden camera discussing inflation and fiscal policy with an activist who approached him during a private walk.
Some critics said that the head of the National Bank of Poland, Adam Glapinski, might have broken the law when he told the woman there may be just one more quarter-point increase in interest rates. The bank has raised the benchmark rate from 0.5% in October to 6% currently.
Poland’s annual inflation in June was 15.5%, the highest in 25 years. Prices have skyrocketed on fuels, energy and food. Many Poles say they cannot afford to pay rising loan installments.
An activist from the Agrounia farmers union expressed the concerns emotionally to Glapinski when she spotted him at the Baltic Sea resort of Sopot last week, recording the conversation on a hidden camera.
In the video, posted by Agrounia over the weekend, Glapinski calmly advised her to make use of the latest legislation and suspend payment of four installments. He assured her that interest rates may be slightly increased just one more time and that next year inflation will be single-digit. They shake hands at the end.
Glapinski’s wife, Katarzyna, is heard wishing the woman a win in Toto-Lotek, Poland’s popular lottery.
Economist Rafał Mundry said on Twitter that Glapinski behaved in a “shocking and irresponsible way” by revealing plans about the bank’s future fiscal policy.
Left-wing opposition lawmaker Tomasz Trela said Glapinski should focus on having a rest and refrain from making statements, describing them as “harmful and compromising.”
Glapinski is also head of the central bank’s Monetary Policy Council that sets the interest rates. He has been blamed for Poland’s high inflation and accused of reacting too late. His recent appointment to a second five-year term has drawn vehement protests from the opposition.
Other critics targeted the whole right-wing government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the advice its members have been giving Poles amid rising prices and concerns about prospective shortages of heating this winter.
Among advice that has provoked ridicule is Morawiecki’s telling Poles to have their houses insulated before winter, permission to collect brushwood, President Andrzej Duda’s encouragement to remain “optimistic” and to persevere, as well as the education minister’s suggestion to eat less and often visit friends for dinner. Glapinski’s wife’s wishes for a lotto win were added to the list.