ISSN 2330-717X

German Chancellor Meets Polish PM For Talks On Migrant Crisis, Russian Buildup, Nord Stream 2

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(RFE/RL) — Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has met in Warsaw with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki for talks about the Belarus migrant crisis, Russia’s troop buildup near its border with Ukraine, and Poland’s opposition to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

On a trip he has described as a “friendship visit,” Scholz was greeted on December 12 by Morawiecki in front of the Polish leader’s office.

Germany has backed Poland’s efforts to stop the flow of thousands of migrants seeking entry from Belarus, a crisis that the European Union and Poland say Minsk has orchestrated in retaliation for sanctions over a crackdown on a pro-democracy movement in the country.

The Russia military buildup has sparked concerns among NATO allies of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But there are issues of disagreement between Warsaw and Berlin. Poland opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will carry Russian natural gas directly to Germany.

Warsaw says the project will make Europe dependent on Russian gas deliveries, and exposes the European Union to pressure from Moscow. German regulators have suspended the approval procedure for the pipeline over legal issues.

Germany’s new government has not said it would halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia were to invade Ukraine. But Scholz said after he was sworn into office on December 8 that there would be consequences if Russia breached Ukraine’s border.

U.S. President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 7 that Nord Stream 2 could be disrupted and tough economic sanctions put in place if Russian troops invade Ukraine.

Scholz and Morawiecki also discussed a dispute that the Polish government is involved in with the European Commission.

Brussels says Warsaw is violating EU provisions with policies that are eroding the independence of Poland’s judicial system. The EU’s executive arm is withholding pandemic recovery funds from Poland over the issue.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) imposed fines on Poland after finding that judicial reforms passed by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party breached EU law.

Poland has refused to pay the fine and its top court has ruled that Polish law can take precedence over EU rules.

Scholz told reporters after his December 12 talks in Warsaw that he hopes Poland and the EU will find a common solution to the legal dispute over the judicial reforms.

Scholz’s visit to Warsaw took place in the 30th anniversary year of the Treaty Of Good Neighborship And Friendly Cooperation between Poland and Germany signed on June 17, 1991.

Warsaw is the third European capital Scholz has visited since taking office after visits to Paris and Brussels.

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