Poland demands explanations over German minister’s words
PR dla Zagranicy
Officials in Warsaw have demanded explanations after the German defence minister suggested it was necessary to support the "resistance of the young generation" in Poland.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (centre). Photo: EPA/OMER MESSINGER
The Polish defence minister has issued instructions to summon the German defence attaché in Warsaw over the statement, and Poland’s foreign minister described the remark as an unacceptable attempt by a German politician to meddle in Poland's internal affairs.
"On November 3, Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz, in response to a statement by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, instructed Col. Tomasz Kowalik, Director of the [Polish defence ministry’s] Department of Military Foreign Affairs, to summon the German Defence Attache for explanations," the Polish defence ministry said in a statement.
Speaking to German broadcaster ZDF, von der Leyen on Thursday said her children had been studying in Poland as part of the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange programme at a time when there was a power shift in Warsaw. She added that it was important to support the "healthy, democratic resistance of the young generation" in Poland.
"Our task is to maintain the discourse, to argue with Poland and Hungary," von der Leyen also said, as quoted by Poland’s PAP state news agency.
Referring to von der Leyen’s words, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said her statement was a case of explicitly “admitting that the German side is interfering in political life in Poland."
Waszczykowski added: “For the last two years we have been hearing from German politicians that they are neutral and that whatever is being said in the local [German] media is just independent publications that the German authorities have no influence on."
Waszczykowski also said he would make efforts -- "in a gentle way, because we remain neighbours and friends” -- to ensure German officials “explain why such unacceptable words are spoken publicly."
"We hope it's just a slip of the tongue that can happen to a politician,” he said, as quoted by the wPolityce news service. “We will give [the German defence minister] a chance to take these words back without creating some kind of diplomatic incident.”