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POLAND: Merkel in Warsaw

Following her reappointment as German Chancellor, and the formation of her new government, Angela Merkel visited Warsaw on Monday evening. Merkel met with both President Duda and Prime Minister Morawiecki. A preparatory visit by the new German FM Heiko Mass took place on Friday. This was the first of an anticipated series of meetings Merkel will have with EU leaders to reaffirm her position in Europe. Topics of discussion included the next budget of the bloc, migration, defence, and energy. Notably, Poland and Germany clashed on Nord Stream 2, as in previous meetings, and there was some reference to tensions regarding World War II reparations.

Still, the visit was politically important for the ruling party, and top PiS politicians argue that Polish-German relations are flourishing. At a time of diplomatic tensions with the US, a win on the diplomatic front is paramount for PiS. Merkel did offer an important political concession when she stated that Poland does accept “refugees from other geographical considerations”. This echoes Warsaw’s argument that the huge number of economic migrants coming in from the East has been overseen in the bloc’s migration policy. It remains to be seen how Merkel’s meetings go in Paris and Brussels, but this might be a signal that EU leaders will soften their position on Poland in the coming months.