Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz came to Warsaw Sunday for talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki about migration, energy, European Union matters and tensions east of the bloc’s border.
He was greeted by Morawiecki, with military honors, in front of the Polish premier’s office. It was one of Scholz’s early visits after he was sworn in with his coalition Cabinet on Wednesday.
Poland is a vocal opponent of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will carry Russian gas directly to Germany saying it makes Europe dependent on Russia’s deliveries, and exposes it to pressure from Moscow. Germany’s regulator has suspended the approval procedure for the completed pipeline because of legal issues.
The government in Warsaw is also involved in an intensifying dispute with the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, which is withholding pandemic recovery funds from Poland saying the government’s policies erode judicial independence there.
Scholz and Morawiecki are also to discuss complex bilateral relations under Germany’s new government. The good neighborly ties are still overshadowed by World War II, especially under Poland’s current right-wing government, which is saying Germany owes Poland compensation for wartime damages.
Agnieszka Lada-Konefal, the deputy director of the German Institute for Polish Affairs in Darmstadt, Germany, expects Scholz’s government to continue dialogue and contact with Poland, which is an important member on EU’s eastern flank and Germany’s fifth-largest trading partner.
The visit comes 30 years after the two parliaments ratified a treaty on good neighborly relations and friendly cooperation.
Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, was in Warsaw on Friday. She voiced Germany’s support for Poland which has sealed its eastern frontier to migrants who are apparently encouraged by the Belarus government to seek illegal passage. She also called for humanitarian treatment of the migrants stuck at the border. Poland and the EU say the government of Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko is seeking to destabilize the bloc by encouraging migration into its countries.
On Friday, Scholz met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and later with EU and NATO officials in Brussels.
Scholz, a center-left politician, became Germany’s ninth post-World War II chancellor, opening a new era for the EU’s most populous nation and largest economy after Angela Merkel’s 16-year tenure.
His government is made up of a coalition of his center-left Social Democrats, the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats.