Polish prime minister defends meeting of European populists

Polish prime minister defends meeting of European populists

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday defended a recent meeting of European populist leaders by saying Poland is seeking allies in its challenge of what he called a “centralized Europe.”

Morawiecki was reacting to criticism of the meeting hosted Saturday in Warsaw by Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice party. Far-right politicians including Marine Le Pen of France and Santiago Abascal of Spain’s Vox party were among the participants.

Referring to numerous tensions between the Polish government and European Union’s leading bodies, Morawiecki told a news conference that Poland was being treated unfairly and receiving “low blows.” He said he was “seeking allies in this struggle against federalized Europe, against centralized Europe.”

But Morawiecki distanced himself from comments Le Pen made to Poland‘s Rzeczpospolita daily. She said that Poland’s neighbor “Ukraine belongs to Russia’s sphere of influence.” The comments go against the basic tenets of Poland’s foreign and security policy, in which Poland promotes and backs Kiev’s aspirations to join the EU.

“We do not need to agree on everything … we can differ on many things, like in this case,” Morawiecki said, adding that not all in the West necessarily understand the situation in Eastern Europe.

Opposition Sen. Krzysztof Brejza described Le Pen’s comments as “disgraceful” and “scandalous” and called on Morawiecki to condemn them.

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