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Jaroslaw Kaczynski speaking at a news conference in Warsaw
Kaczynski last year accused Berlin of wanting to turn the European Union into a federal 'German Fourth Reich'Image: Czarek Sokolowski/AP/picture alliance
PoliticsPoland

Poland's Kaczynski slams Germany's 'dominance' in Europe

December 4, 2022

The leader of Poland's ruling party has been increasingly using anti-German rhetoric in recent months, straining the already prickly bilateral relations over the past few years.

https://p.dw.com/p/4KRhB

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, has sharply criticized what he called German "dominance" in Europe, saying that Berlin today wants to use peaceful methods to implement plans it once tried to execute by military means.   

This, he said, is a path that leads to crisis and disaster — affecting not only Poland but all of Europe, including Germany.

While delivering a speech in southwestern Poland on Saturday, Kaczynski said Europe's strength lies in the strength of its sovereign states, reported the Polish news agency PAP.

The 73-year-old Polish politician has been increasingly using anti-German rhetoric in recent months, straining the already prickly relations between Poland and Germany over the past few years.

What's the current state of Germany-Poland ties?

Kaczynski last year accused Berlin of wanting to turn the European Union into a federal "German Fourth Reich."

In September, he presented a report looking into the financial damages caused by Germany's invasion and occupation in World War II, reigniting a debate about demanding reparations.

Poland to demand WWII reparations from Germany

At the beginning of October, Warsaw sent a diplomatic note to Berlin demanding the equivalent of over €1.3 trillion ($1.37 trillion) in compensation for the war-related damages.

The war in Ukraine has also prompted criticism of Germany from Warsaw, which blames Berlin for strategic errors, including an excessive reliance on Russian energy and being too slow to provide weapons to Ukraine.

The defense ministers of both countries recently agreed to station the German Patriot air defense systems in Poland to protect its airspace. But shortly afterward, the Polish minister irked Berlin by asking it to deliver the missile defense system destined for Poland to Ukraine instead — a suggestion Germany rejected, saying that the batteries are only to be deployed within NATO.

Patriot missiles for Ukraine?

What's behind the anti-German rhetoric?

Kaczynski is currently traveling across the country to bolster support for his party ahead of parliamentary elections slated for next year.

Some political observers and opposition parties say the ruling party's anti-German and euroskeptic rhetoric is at least partly related to the election campaign.

But according to a survey published on Saturday by the SW Research Institute on behalf of daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, many Poles are not in favor of the PiS policy toward Germany.

The survey found that half of the participants viewed Warsaw's anti-German stance negatively, while some 19% approved it. About 30% expressed no opinion on the subject.

sri/sms (AFP, dpa)

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