WARSAW, Poland (AP) — European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen met with Poland’s prime minister Thursday to discuss the executive body’s agenda for when she takes the helm and points of conflict between the EU and Poland such as migration and the rule of law.
Von der Leyen said before her talks with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw that she did not expect to find agreement on every issue but it was important for the two sides to listen respectfully to each other with respect.
Von der Leyen said beforehand she did not expect to find agreement on all points, and named migration and the rule of law as difficult themes. She stressed, however, it was important that the sides listen to each other’s arguments with respect.
The former German defense minister takes up her post in Brussels on Nov. 1. The visit to Warsaw was her second to the capital of an EU member nation since she was confirmed last week. Poland backed her candidacy to replace Jean-Claude Juncker.
Morawiecki expressed “great hope that in the coming years we will jointly work for a new opening and build a Europe of compromises.”
Poland’s right-wing government is looking for greater understanding from the EU under von der Leyen. Warsaw is bitter over sanctioning procedures that the EU under Juncker, has launched over changes to Poland’s judiciary that are seen as a threat to the rule of law, in violation of EU values.
Poland has refused to accept migrants from the Middle East and Africa, arguing it is hosting over 1 million Ukrainians, some of whom fled war zones. Von der Leyen had previously signaled she was aware of that.
Morawiecki said after the talks that Poland’s candidate to serve on the European Commission is Krzysztof Szcerski, Polish President Andrzej Duda’s adviser on foreign relations.
He said he briefed von der Leyen on steps his government took to improve tax collections and explained how that could also help the EU commission increase its budget.