Polish Minister of State Assets Jacek Sasin, centre, with flag, could not be heard over jeers during his speech ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

Jacek Sasin, who announced his resignation as Poland's Deputy Prime Minister today, was resoundingly jeered here as he made a speech at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games Opening Ceremony, while President Andrzej Duda received some boos before declaring the event open.

Marshal of Małopolska Witold Kozłowski and Mayor of Kraków Jacek Majchrowski had both welcomed participants to the Games during their speeches, but Sasin's walk towards the podium prompted a furious reaction from the crowd.

Sasin is a member of Poland's ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS), and has served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Assets since 2019.

He told Polskie Radio Program III earlier today that he has tendered his resignation as Deputy Prime Minister along with fellow holders of the title Mariusz Błaszczak, Piotr Gliński and Henryk Kowalczyk.

This is related to the return of PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński to Government.

PiS faces what is expected to be a close election this year with rising anger in Poland over strict abortion laws and the Party's use of images of the Auschwitz death camp in a campaign video, as well as divisions within the ruling coalition over the country's relationship with the European Union.

Sasin's speech, delivered in Polish, was drowned out by boos and whistles, with Polish media reporting that some fans chanted "thieves, thieves".

Polish President  faced some hostility as he made his way to the stage to open the European Games ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023
Polish President faced some hostility as he made his way to the stage to open the European Games ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

Subtitles provided for Sasin's remarks suggested Poland could use the experience of the European Games to make a bid for the Olympic Games, but the crowd was unrelenting in its disapproval of his presence.

The Games were officially opened by Polish President Duda, who is also a member of the PiS.

He received more isolated boos as he walked to the stage to officially declare the European Games open, although his speech in which he welcomed Ukrainian athletes drew applause.

"I wish all athletes to win medals and set new records," Duda said.

"But I hope that the effect of these Games will also be a message coming from here, from Polish soil, from the heart of Europe.

"Let this great celebration of sport, beginning in Kraków, be at the same time a great celebration of peace and European unity.

"Let it warm our hearts, let it move our minds, let it give us strength to take on challenge."

First medals at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games are due to be awarded tomorrow, with competition running until July 2.