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Germany’s Manfred Weber accuses Poland of attacking the rule of law and media freedom

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Poland – During an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday, August 6, the leader of the European People’s Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, made controversial remarks about Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) that provoked strong reactions in Warsaw.

Explaining why he would consider working with Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni and her Brothers of Italy party (FdI) while continuing to refuse all contact with Alternative for Germany (AfD), Weber, who is a member of the CSU, the Bavarian wing of Germany’s centre-right CDU/CSU, set out the three principles that have to be respected by a political party to make cooperation with the centre-right possible in his view: “The firewall must be clearly defined. Three principles apply to Europe.

Any partner we work with as ‘Christian Democrats’, as a party of Europe, must first and foremost be sympathetic to Ukraine,

which is obvious in our times. Secondly, 

every party must want to help shape [the European Union] in a positive way and not want to abolish it,

as in fact the AfD wants to. And thirdly, 

every party must accept the rule of law. This is the firewall facing PiS’ representatives in Poland, who systematically attack the rule of law and media freedom.

For us, there’s no wavering on these three principles. Whoever accepts this can be a democratic partner […] and 

all the others who do not respect this – such as the AfD in Germany, Le Pen in France, or PiS in Poland – are our adversaries, and we will fight them.

These statements naturally provoked indignation within the PiS-led United Right coalition which has been in power in Warsaw since 2015, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reacting very sharply in a video published on X (formerly Twitter) in which he proposed that Weber publicly debate them on Polish television :

As Prime Minister of the Polish government, which represents the parliamentary majority decided by democratic elections, 

I will not allow the choices made by Poles to be vilified in such a way.

Manfred Weber, the German leader of the party to which [Donald Tusk’s] Civic Platform belongs, named Law and Justice on Sunday as one of the groups they will be fighting. He called us enemies. This is yet another statement of this kind [from him]. Enough is enough. […]

If the Germans openly admit that they are going to interfere in the Polish elections, they should act in the open.

Mr. Weber, don’t use your sidekick Donald Tusk. Let’s have a debate.

You are accusing us of breaking democratic rules. Tell that to millions of Poles in a televised confrontation. I’m inviting you to a debate on October 2.

We are ready to discuss the details of such a confrontation in the coming days.