Macron's first visit to Warsaw

This Monday and Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron is visiting Poland for the first time since his election as French president in the hope of improving his country's relations with the largest Eastern European EU member state. Differences of opinion particularly on the issues of climate protection, defence, the rule of law and refugee policy have led to friction between the two states. Europe's media have varying expectations for the meeting.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Brexit wounds must be healed

For the Süddeutsche Zeitung's Paris correspondent Nadia Pantel, Macron's visit to Warsaw was overdue:

“The Elysée says France is reacting to Brexit by intensifying cooperation with the EU member states east of Berlin. But we should not forget how the Brexit campaign was carried out at the expense of the Eastern Europeans. Hatred and prejudice were stoked against Poles, Bulgarians and Romanians. Brexit has not just left a wound because Britain is leaving. It has also left a wound because it pitted Europeans against Europeans. As a result, Paris and Berlin now bear more responsibility. The post-Brexit era should not just be about strategic interests, but also about healing wounds together.”

L'Obs (FR) /

Citizens deserve France's support

The French President must defend the rule of law, Bénédicte Jeannerod, France Director of Human Rights Watch, and Maciej Nowicki, Vice-President of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland, argue in L'Obs:

“France's leadership is crucial in defending democratic institutions. At his meetings in Warsaw and Kraków, President Macron should make it clear that France continues to support Article 7 proceedings against Poland. ... Above all, the French President should publicly denounce the violations of the rule of law so as to reassure Poles who are deeply concerned that the rights they acquired 30 years ago are now under threat. The tens of thousands of people who have demonstrated to defend their courts, judges and prosecutors deserve France's help and support.” (PL) /

Poland's importance finally recognised

For Macron's visit is an act of repentance:

“In the past, President Macron not only ignored our country and avoided Warsaw, but also urged other countries to isolate it and called for protests against the Polish government. ... We can only conclude that the French president has recognised that little can be done in the community, in Europe and in international politics without Poland (also in the context of the increasingly important Visegrád group). ... Simply put: the days when Poland could be treated as a passive and silent duty-free market willing to spend billions on other states' old junk are over.”