German opposition leader Friedrich Merz met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw on Thursday. The two spoke of tense relations between the countries.
Merz, the leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), emphasized communal projects. He also heard Warsaw’s criticism of relations with Berlin.
Morawiecki was enthusiastic about economic relations but said German arms supplies to Ukraine were “unsatisfactory”.
Merz said criticism of Germany’s time to fulfill its promise of a “circular exchange” of military equipment between Germany, Poland and Ukraine was understandable.
While Berlin has recently accelerated arms deliveries and revised some long-standing foreign policy principles in response to the war, partners including Poland have accused Germany of dragging on at a time when Ukraine is fighting for its existence in the light of a Russian invasion.
Merz also met opposition and ruling party leaders
Earlier in the day, Merz met with Donald Tusk, from the Civic Platform of the Polish opposition. Tusk had a close relationship with Angela Merkel while they were both heads of government, but relations between the countries have since become more tense.
Polish media also reported that Merz met with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), after arriving in Poland on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Kaczynski is said to have told Merz that Germany still owes his country reparations from World War II. Berlin disputes such claims, saying the matter was settled with German reunification in 1990.
On Friday Merz is scheduled to travel to Lithuania.
Merz has sought to portray the CDU, which led the German governments without interruption from 2006 to 2021, as more proactive and engaged than the new coalition since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has seen some gains in polls in recent months.
Most famously, Merz visited Ukraine in May for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – before a German government representative did – during a diplomatic battle between Kiev and Berlin over which a German politician would have to travel to Ukraine first.
Edited by: Mark Hallam