Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, emphasized on Sunday that Europe will not allow attempts to undermine its nations’ territorial integrity and that diplomatic mechanisms such as the Normandy Format should be utilized to de-escalate tensions.
Scholz was in Warsaw with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, where the two leaders discussed migration, energy, European Union issues, and concerns about Russia’s potential aggression on Ukraine.
The EU is closely monitoring army movements along the Ukrainian border and has made it clear that European borders cannot be breached, that the EU considers the integrity of country borders to be inviolable, and that no one should believe that they can be broken without serious consequences.
In what is known as the Normandy Format, France and Germany took the lead in brokering a 2015 peace pact between Ukraine and Russia-backed rebels. Referring to the escalating rule-of-law dispute between Poland’s government and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, Scholz stated that the 27-nation bloc is bound by democratic principles and that it would be very good and helpful if the ongoing discussions could quickly lead to a very good, pragmatic solution, and that the EU would thus continue to be bound by these democratic and rule-of-law principles. The European Commission has withheld pandemic recovery funds from Poland, claiming that the government’s measures undermine the country’s judicial independence.
Morawiecki reiterated Poland’s opinion that the disputed Nord Stream 2 project, which would deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, exposes Europe and Ukraine to Moscow’s pressure, and that it is best not to open it. Scholz claimed that the pipeline was just an energy project, one whose importance will wane as Germany develops renewable energy sources. Due to legal concerns, Germany’s authority has put the clearance process for the completed pipeline on hold.
Morawiecki met Scholz in front of the Polish premier’s office with military honors. Scholz made the trip shortly after being sworn in with his coalition Cabinet on Wednesday. They also discussed Germany’s new government’s complicated bilateral relations. The visit comes 30 years after the two parliaments ratified a treaty on cordial ties and cooperation between the two countries.
Scholz met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday and then later with EU and NATO officials in Brussels.