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FM: Poland's democracy doing better than it seems outside

Monika Scislowska (Associated Press) - January 11, 2016 - 12:22pm

WARSAW — The shape of Poland's democracy under the new right-wing government is better than some foreign commentators suggest, the foreign minister said yesterday, inviting German politicians to visit and check.

The government that took power in November swiftly moved to change some legislation as it wants to introduce sweeping state and social reforms.

Witold Waszczykowski spoke after meeting with German ambassador to Poland, Rolf Nikel, whom he had summoned to protest "anti-Polish" statements by some German politicians.

Nikel said that Polish-German relations are a "treasure that should be protected."

Later yesterday, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that "Germans and Poles are neighbors, partners, friends, and we've never been so close in our history. This is precisely what we want to preserve, continue and where possible deepen."

Waszczykowski said there was a "problem in communicating with some German politicians" and invited his German counterpart, Frank Walter Steinmeier, and other politicians to visit and see that the "shape of Poland's democracy is not as bad as may seem from far away."

On Sunday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz likened Poland's current politics to those of Russian President Vladimir Putin. A member of Germany's conservative Christian Democrats Party, Volker Kauder, recently spoke in favor of sanctions against Poland if the country continues, in his view, to ignore the principles of the rule of law.

The comments were in reaction to new legislation that Poland's ruling Law and Justice party adopted on a constitutional court and on state media.

The European Commission is to debate Poland's rule of law on Wednesday. The step could eventually result in the country losing its EU voting rights on matters that concern the entire 28-nation bloc. Poland joined the EU in 2004.

Seibert said it was "right and the usual European route" for the European Commission to ask questions of the new Polish government.

The European Parliament is to debate Poland's politics on Jan.19.

CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS PARTY EUROPEAN COMMISSION EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT MARTIN SCHULZ FRANK WALTER STEINMEIER GERMAN GERMANS AND POLES LAW AND JUSTICE ON SUNDAY POLAND QUOT
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