Deutsche Welle: Angela Merkel visits Poland in bid to thaw chilly relations19 March 2018 | 21:11 | FOCUS News Agency
On her second foreign trip since being sworn in for a fourth term as chancellor, Merkel will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
She was recieved by Morawiecki with military honors before entering talks about the European Union's post-Brexit future and migration issues.
Polish government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska said Warsaw hoped for "a good and pragmatic cooperation with Berlin."
Tricky territory in Warsaw trip
Merkel will seek to emphasize the need for unity in the EU as well as Germany's commitment to NATO military spending targets.
She'll have to balance between enlisting Poland's help with backing the EU while also being firm on EU core principles that have been challenged by Poland's sweeping judicial reforms.
Both Brussels and Berlin say Warsaw's reforms are an attack on the independence of the judiciary. The Polish government, however, maintains that the reforms are necessary to root out corruption.
The Polish government has also come under fire for passing a new law that bans certain statements about the Holocaust, which critics say amounts to a denial of the actions of some Poles during the Holocaust.
Unresolved tensions concerning divergent immigration policies still remain, particularly over Poland's opposition to an EU-wide plan to redistribute asylum-seekers.
Warsaw has also criticized the planned "Nord Stream 2" gas pipeline, which will be routed from Russia to Germany, but bypass Poland and Ukraine.
Rift in EU unity
In an effort to combat the growing rift between eastern and western European Union member states, Germany's new Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged closer ties during a meeting with his Polish counterpart last Friday.
Both foreign ministers called for the revival of the Weimar Triangle, a political cooperation platform between Poland, Germany and France. Their last meeting was in 2016.
Ties between Germany and Poland became particularly strained after the Polish nationalist, conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) came to power in 2015.
There are also concerns that the rise of far-right, anti-migrant parties in Austria and Italy could contribute to a rift between Brussels and central European countries.
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