The Chancellor was visiting Warsaw. Your message: Conflicts in the EU can be dealt with better through dialogue than through court judgments. She found critical words for the Belarusian government.
During a visit to Warsaw, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) called for the dispute between the EU Commission and Poland over the local justice system 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, otherwise Germany will campaign for them. Both Merkel and Morawiecki also opted for conciliatory tones on other controversial issues such as the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline.
Brussels and Warsaw have been arguing about reforms of the Polish judicial system for a long time. 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.
Germany wants to campaign for talks between the EU and Poland
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 constitutional state to resolve contentious matters through legal proceedings. And yet there are opportunities to move forward through dialogue. It is possible that such talks already existed between Poland and the EU Commission, otherwise Germany would advocate it.
Merkel: Defenseless people are used as subjects of “hybrid attacks”
Both Merkel and Morawiecki condemned the way the Belarusian leadership dealt with refugees from crisis regions. Defenseless people from other countries are used as subjects of “hybrid attacks”, said the Chancellor. “I think that’s completely unacceptable.” She appealed to Belarus to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees stuck on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Angela Merkel and the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (r): The two talked about the situation on Poland’s border with Belarus. (Source: Kacper Pempel / Reuters)
The government in Warsaw has accused the Belarusian ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, of bringing refugees to the EU’s external border in an organized manner. Poland is now grappling with an influx of migrants from the Middle East across its 418-kilometer border with Belarus. The country has therefore declared a state of emergency in the border region and started building a fence.
In the past few months, thousands of migrants from the Middle East had entered the EU via Belarus. The EU suspects the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of smuggling migrants into the EU in order to retaliate for sanctions adopted by the West against Belarus.
Nord Stream 2: Poland fears pressure from Russia
Morawiecki said he had described the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border to the Chancellor. “We have the support of both the EU Commission and 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 increase spending on it, Morawiecki said.
On the subject of the controversial Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, the Chancellor emphasized that Germany had agreed with the USA 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.
Merkel commemorated victims of the Second World War
Poland’s national-conservative PiS government has long been against Nord Stream 2. It fears that Russia could thereby increase Europe’s dependence on its gas supplies and put the previous transit countries under pressure. Morawiecki said the agreements between the US, Germany and Ukraine are strategically very important. “The guarantees for gas transit through Ukraine reduce the possibility of political or price blackmail by Russia,” said Poland’s head of government.
At the start of her visit to Poland, Merkel had thought of the victims of the Second World War. The CDU politician laid a wreath in Warsaw at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Poland’s central memorial. The German invasion of Poland in 1939 marked the start of World War II with at least 55 million dead – other estimates put up to 80 million. There are no exact numbers. Up to six million people were killed in Poland alone.