Poland summons German ambassador over politicians’ “anti-Polish comments”

10 Jan, 2016 6:27 pm

WARSAW – Poland’s foreign minister on Sunday summoned the German ambassador to a meeting over what his department called “anti-Polish comments by German politicians,” the conservative Warsaw government’s latest broadside at its Western neighbour.

“It’s not about one concrete comment, there’s quite a few of them,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Artur Dmochowski told TVN24 news channel. He said German envoy Rolf Nikel had received a “polite invitation” to a meeting with Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski at midday on Monday.

Relations between Poland and both Germany and the European Union (EU) have deteriorated since the Law and Justice (PiS) party won elections last October, advocating conservative Catholic values and euroscepticism.

The PiS has sought to put public media under direct government control and change the makeup of the constitutional court, prompting protests and accusations from rights activists that it is undermining democratic checks and balances.

A week ago, Gunther Oettinger, the German EU commissioner responsible for the digital economy and society, said that Warsaw should be put under the EU’s rule-of-law supervision.

On Saturday, Poland’s justice minister dismissed Oettinger’s call as “silly” in a confrontational letter, questioning Berlin’s own record on media freedoms and alluding to Nazi Germany’s occupation of Poland in World War Two.

The European Commission is to hold a “political debate” on the rule of law in Poland on Jan. 13, reflecting growing concern the PiS government is eroding democracy in the EU’s largest eastern member state, which until recently was a poster child for post-communist transformation.

Last week, Poland invited the European Commission’s Warsaw representative to the foreign ministry to discuss EU concerns, which the government says are groundless. -Reuters

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