Katarina Barley, the German Vice President of the European Parliament, has been sharply criticized by other German politicians for her remarks that Hungary and Poland should be “starved financially” for their alleged rule of law transgressions.
“Katarina Barley is forgetting about history and adopting a pose which will not do any good for Europe’s future,” said Michael Kretschmer, the prime minister of Saxony.
“We need to convince with values, arguments and debate looking into each other’s eyes. Blackmail is unacceptable,” continued Kretschmer in his social media post.
Paul Ziemiak, the secretary general of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), agreed with Kretschmer. He tweeted that “Katarina Barley’s verbal derangement is unacceptable. Debate should consist of arguments done clearly and with care, never using offensive and hurtful words.”
The Polish deputy foreign minister, Paweł Jabłoński, noted in a Twitter post that there are critical voices coming from Germany and opined that good relations between Berlin and Warsaw “must be based on mutual respect”.
According to Twitter account of Cezary Gmyz, Polish state TV’s Berlin correspondent, the hard stance taken by German politicians is a result of a meeting at the Polish Embassy in Berlin with deputy Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk. The minister, in his Twitter post, confirmed that he had spoken to the premier of Saxony on the matter and that the German politician had agreed with him about the inappropriate nature of Barley’s comments.
Speaking on Polish state news channel TVP Info, Błażej Spychalski, the press spokesman for President Andrzej Duda, said that he expected an apology from Barley as statements such as hers do not help Polish-German relations.
“Anyone who has any awareness of history must be conscious that for a German politician to talk about starving Poland or Hungary must lead to repercussions and strong actions by our representatives,” he concluded.