Polish PM slams French President Macron's 'arrogant' criticism

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo attends a government meeting in Warsaw, Poland on July 25, 2017.
Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo attends a government meeting in Warsaw, Poland on July 25, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

WARSAW (AFP) - Poland's Prime Minister on Friday (Aug 25) blasted as "arrogant" French President Emmanuel Macron's criticism of her right-wing government, suggesting he lacked political experience.

"Perhaps his (Macron's) arrogant comments result from lack of political experience, which I can understand, but I expect that he will make up for this shortcoming and will be more restrained in the future," Ms Beata Szydlo told the right-wing wPolityce.pl news website.

Mr Macron, who took office in May, earlier Friday criticised Ms Szydlo's government for going "against Europe's interests" and warned Warsaw risked finding itself "on the margins" of the European Union bloc in the future.

Ms Szydlo's government has come under heavy criticism from the EU since taking office in October 2015 for a slew of reforms that critics insist erode democratic standards and the rule of law.

The EU last month launched legal action against Ms Szydlo's Law and Justice government over a new law that it fears will erode judicial independence.

Mr Macron said at a Friday press conference in the Bulgarian coastal city of Varna that "Poland today is not a country that can show Europe the way, it's a country that has decided to go against European interests in many areas". "The country is placing itself on the margins of Europe's future history," he added.

His remarks came after Ms Szydlo reiterated Warsaw's rejection of Mr Macron's push to overhaul a controversial EU rule that lets firms send temporary workers from low-wage countries to rich economies without paying local social charges.

Ms Szydlo shot back later Friday in Warsaw, saying she would "advise the President to be more conciliatory and not break up the EU".

"I remind you President Macron that Poland is an EU member just like France. We have the same rights as France and other member states and we will use them for the good of Poland and Poles.

"I recommend that the President deal with the affairs of his country. Perhaps he will be able to achieve the same economic results and the same level of security for his citizens as Poland guarantees," Ms Szydlo added.