Angela Merkel Visits Poland in Bid to Thaw Chilly Relations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Warsaw on Monday for talks with Polish leaders aimed at improving relations which have been strained by disagreements on rule of law, immigration and refugee policy, and Poland's new Holocaust law, as well as a new gas pipeline.

On her second foreign trip since being sworn in for a fourth term as chancellor, Merkel said she would work to ensure "that we have a common agenda in Europe." 

"The German government will work on German-Polish relations with renewed vigor, Merkel said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. She added that a better working relationship with Warsaw "will benefit Europe and our two countries." 

Morawiecki said that Poland is engaging in a "constructive dialogue" with the European Commission over its controversial judicial reforms.

"I can say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that we will reach an agreement," he said.

In December, the European Commission launched Article 7 against Poland over the reforms and gave the government three months to address the Commission's concerns.

Tricky territory in Warsaw trip

Merkel emphasized the need for unity in the EU as well as Germany's commitment to NATO military spending targets.

Monday's talks required Merkel to balance between enlisting Poland's help with backing the EU while also being firm on EU core principles that have been challenged by Poland's sweeping judicial reforms.

Both Brussels and Berlin say Warsaw's reforms are an attack on the independence of the judiciary. The Polish government, however, maintains that the reforms are necessary to root out corruption.

The Polish government has also come under fire for passing a new law that bans certain...

Continue reading on: