German and Polish leaders clash over Nord Stream 2 pipeline
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Mateusz Morawiecki admitted Friday they still don’t see eye on eye on Warsaw’s judicial reforms and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
Morawiecki said Nord Stream 2 is likely to increase Europe’s dependency on Russian gas and called on the EU to make sure “no side has a price monopoly,” Deutsche Welle reported. Speaking to Polish radio ahead of the meeting, the prime minister also said the project poses a serious security risk to the region.
Merkel, meanwhile, defended Germany’s support of the pipeline, which she said Berlin considers an “economic project” that “poses no danger to diversification.”
“We had different views on the Nord Stream issue,” Merkel told reporters, according to Reuters. “We think this is an economic project. We are also for energy diversification. We also want Ukraine to continue to have transit gas traffic, but we believe Nord Stream poses no danger to diversification.”
The two leaders also disagreed on Poland’s recent judicial revamp, with Morawiecki hitting back against accusations from Brussels that the country is diverging from EU standards on the rule of law and Merkel deferring to the EU institutions.
Speaking to German media ahead of the bilateral meeting, Morawiecki also criticized Germany and other EU nations’ failure to meet NATO targets on defense spending. In an interview with Die Welt, he said the Continent relies too heavily on the United States and needs to show its adversaries that it “takes defense seriously.”
But he also said Poland is closer to Germany than France when it comes to fiscal policy.
Relations between Germany and Poland have come under strain over a number of other issues, including the Polish government’s refusal to abide by the EU’s quota system for taking in asylum seekers and the ruling party’s suggestion that it may seek additional World War II reparations from Germany.
Morawiecki said Friday he has invited Merkel to attend celebrations later this year marking 100 years of Poland’s independence.