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Warsaw is 'not satisfied' with Berlin

Jon Shelton
July 28, 2022

Warsaw is frustrated by Germany's dithering on arms for Ukraine, Poland's prime minister tells opposition leader Friedrich Merz.

German opposition leader Friedrich Merz (l) speaks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (r) in an opulent room in Warsaw.
Earlier in the year, Merz also made a high-profile trip to Ukraine, prior to representatives of Germany's governmentImage: Tobias Koch/CDU/CSU-Fraktion im Deutschen Bundestag/dpa/picture alliance

German opposition leader Friedrich Merz met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw on Thursday. The two addressed tense relations between the countries.

Merz, the leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), emphasized common projects. He also heard Warsaw's criticism of relations with Berlin.

Morawiecki was enthusiastic about economic relations, but said German arms deliveries to Ukraine were "not satisfactory."

Merz said criticism of the time Germany is taking to fulfill its commitment to a "circle exchange" of military equipment between Germany, Poland and Ukraine was understandable.

Though Berlin has sped arms deliveries of late and overhauled some long-standing foreign policy principles in response to the war, partners, including Poland, have accused Germany of dragging its feet at a time when Ukraine is fighting for its existence in the face of a Russian invasion.

Merz also met with opposition and ruling party leaders

Merz met with Donald Tusk, of Poland's opposition Civic Platform, earlier in the day. Tusk enjoyed a close relationship with Angela Merkel while both of them were heads of government, but the relations between the countries have grown more tense since.

Polish media also reported that Merz met with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), after arriving in Poland on Wednesday.

At the meeting, Kaczynski is said to have told Merz that Germany still owes his country World War II reparations. Berlin disputes such claims, saying the matter was settled with German reunification in 1990.

On Friday, Merz is scheduled to travel to Lithuania. 

Merz has sought to portray the CDU, which had led German governments from 2006 to 2021 without interruption, as more proactive and engaged than the new coalition since Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has made some gains in the polls in recent months.

Most famously, Merz visited Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in May — before a German government representative did — during a diplomatic tussle between Kyiv and Berlin about which German politician ought travel to Ukraine first. 

Edited by: Mark Hallam