Polish leader condemns 'German arrogance' amid migrant spat

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2015 9:09 AM
Polish leader condemns 'German arrogance' amid migrant spat

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's new interior minister lashed out Tuesday at the head of the European Parliament amid a disagreement over Warsaw's migrant policies, calling his words "another example of German arrogance."

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, who is German, was quoted in Polish media as saying that Warsaw enjoys European solidarity when it comes to accepting EU funds or enhanced security guarantees when nervous about Russia, but that Poland treats the refugee crisis as a German problem only. Schulz reportedly criticized Warsaw's wavering resolve, following the extremist attacks in Paris, to take in 7,000 refugees as part of an EU plan — a commitment made by the previous government in Warsaw.

Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, who belongs to a right-wing Law and Justice government that was sworn in on Monday, called Schulz's words "scandalous" and "another example of German arrogance" in an interview on private broadcaster TVN24. He also brought up the fact that Germany destroyed Warsaw during World War II.

"We are speaking in Warsaw. Warsaw was destroyed by the Germans," Blaszczak said. "I think that Mr. Martin Schulz would not formulate such statements in relation to Israel. It also shows our position in the international arena, our weak position in the world arena."

Polish rhetoric stressing Poland's historical grievances against Germany became a hallmark of Law and Justice's last government, from 2005 to 2007, fueling political tensions between the two neighbors. Ties between Berlin and Warsaw improved greatly over the past eight years of governance by a central and pro-EU party in Warsaw, Civic Platform.

During the recent election campaign Law and Justice toned down its language stressing historical wrongs, winning over some centrist voters opposed to stoking historical tensions with Germany, today a close political ally and trading partner.