Merkel and Morawiecki strike conciliatory tones in Warsaw

BDuring a visit to Warsaw, un-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) pleaded for the dispute between the EU Commission and Poland over the judicial system there to be resolved through talks. “Politics is more than just going to court,” said Merkel on Saturday after a meeting with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Such talks may already be taking place, said Merkel, otherwise Germany would advocate it. Both the German Chancellor and the Polish Prime Minister opted for conciliatory tones on other controversial issues such as the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline.

Brussels and Warsaw have long been arguing about reforms to the Polish judicial system. Critics accuse the national conservative PiS government of undermining the independence of the judiciary. The Polish Constitutional Court is currently examining whether Polish law takes precedence over EU law.

Migrants Subjects “Hybrid Attacks”

The EU Commission applied for financial sanctions against Poland at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Tuesday. The background to this is the continued activity of the Polish Disciplinary Chamber to punish judges. The ECJ had ordered the cessation of the activity of this chamber in an interim order.

Merkel said that it must of course always be a possibility for the rule of law to resolve contentious matters through legal proceedings. And yet there are opportunities to move forward through dialogue. Such talks may already be taking place between Poland and the EU Commission, otherwise Germany will advocate it.

Both Merkel and Morawiecki condemned the way the Belarusian regime dealt with migrants from crisis regions. Defenseless people from other countries are used as subjects of “hybrid attacks”, said the Chancellor. “I think that is completely unacceptable.” She appealed to Belarus to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees stuck on the Polish-Belarusian border.

Warsaw warns of “blackmail by Russia”

Morawiecki said he had described the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border to the Chancellor. “We have the support of the EU Commission as well as that of the German government to protect Europe from illegal migration, from movements that do not depend on us.” Europe must do more for its own defense and also the expenditure for it increase, said Morawiecki.

On the subject of the controversial Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, the Chancellor emphasized that Germany had agreed with the USA to work to ensure that Russia undertakes as early as possible to continue gas deliveries through Ukraine after 2024. This obligation must come from her point of view, so that energy supplies “cannot be used for hybrid warfare,” said Merkel.

Poland’s national-conservative government has long been against Nord Stream 2. It fears that Russia could put the previous transit countries under pressure. Morawiecki said the agreements between the United States, Germany and Ukraine are strategically very important. “The guarantees for a gas transit through Ukraine reduce the possibility of political or price blackmail by Russia,” said Poland’s head of government.

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