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Polish Prime Minister: 'Something Very Negative' Happening in Germany
In a radio interview, Poland's prime minister issues an ominous warning about Berlin, implying that contemprorary Germany is comparable to the time that saw Adolf Hitler rise to power.
One day after a Polish magazine published a cover illustration showing the German Chancellor Angela Merkel breast-feeding the Kaczynski twins (more...), Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski is again busy shouting insults at Berlin.
The elfin-featured prime minister apparently feels "something very negative" is happening in Germany. In a Tuesday radio interview quoted by AFP, Kacyzinski added: "Like an era which has already passed, the large majority of Europeans didn't have the courage to talk about it, it is the same today."
"So I am issuing a warning, and I'm addressing the German authorities as the Polish prime minister, do not tolerate this kind of thing, these kind of statements, because it leads to the worst, to trouble which can happen in Europe, but which in affecting Europe will hit the Germans, too."
The prime minister, however, did not elaborate on exactly what is happening in Germany. In the run up to last week's European Union summit in Brussels the Polish emphasized that they were deeply unhappy (more...) with the new vote-weighting system included in the new treaty that is to replace the failed EU constitution. The deal, which was approved by EU leaders only after major concessions were made to Poland on Saturday, will give greater voting weight to countries with larger populations like Germany and France.
At one point, Jaroslaw Kaczynski even argued that Poland's war dead should be calculated in any formulation to determine how many votes it would get. The tensions over the weekend and the hardline and troublesome rhetoric coming from Kaczynski and his twin brother, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, has prompted some in Berlin to call for calm.
On Monday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir said Berlin would "turn to strengthening German-Polish relations" and that Germany "has the duty to patiently seek a dialogue with Poland, especially in difficult times," especially given the "terrible 20th century history" that links the countries.
Germany wants to ratchet up diplomacy with Warsaw by resuming regular summit meetings between Germany, France and Poland -- a proposal that came out of the EU meeting in Brussels aimed at drawing Poland deeper into the EU and also striking more conciliatory tones.
But some observers see different motivations coming from the Kaczynskis, including the editorial writers at the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, who note: "All the prime minister cares about with his venomous and bile-filled attacks against Germany ... is to help shore up his diminishing popularity in Poland."
Polish paper rapped for 'bare-breasted' Merkel photo spoof
A Polish media watchdog has criticized one of the country's weekly newspapers for publishing a photo montage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel breastfeeding Poland's ruling twin brothers.
Under the headline "The Cruel Mother of Europe", the Wprost newspaper published the montage of a bare-breasted German leader with President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski on the cover of its Monday edition.
A Polish council overseeing ethics in the media and linked to the Association of Polish Journalists criticised the picture montage on Tuesday saying it "overstepped the limits of good taste".
"We find blameful the fashion which is spreading in Polish and foreign media to have recourse to little refined methods for increasing the circulation or the readership," the council said in a written statement.
Poland's demand to boost its European Union voting rights at Germany's expense caused tempers to flare last week at an EU summit to agree a new treaty for the bloc.
The ugly spat exposed tensions that still lurk just below the surface, six decades after the Nazi occupation of Poland.
Text and Picture Copyright 2007 AFP.
No, but 'Something Very Negative' is obviously happening in Poland.
This is for Poland, and Hans is not Polish, even with wishing he was, he is not.
Message for Michael --- If you don't like news, don't visit this site. I'm sure others have told you this already.
This article has said picture on the link below. A storm in a D cup perhaps....?
Nude Merkel Montage Raises … Eyebrows
It’s not the first time the Polish weekly Wprost has gotten in trouble in Germany. This week, the cover depicts Chancellor Angela Merkel breast-feeding the Kaczynski twins. But it could have been worse, the editor-in-chief points out. At least they used a 21-year-old model.
It’s not exactly how one expects to see German Chancellor Angela Merkel: The broad, friendly smile seems completely at odds with her open blouse, two bare breasts spilling out. On each breast, one of Poland’s governing Kaczynski twins is affixed — Prime Minister Jaroslaw is suckling on the left, President Lech has attached himself to the right. One of them is holding up the “victory” sign right in Merkel’s cleavage.
The image is on the cover of this week’s Wprost, a conservative Polish newsmagazine that has not shied away from firing barbs at Germany in the past. The headline reads: “Europe’s Step-Mother.” As current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, Merkel, the magazine seems to be saying, is treating the rest of Europe like her step-children. And during last week’s EU summit in Brussels, the article inside makes clear, she has been particularly condescending to the Poles. The magazine writes of Germany’s “post-colonial reflexes” and says that six decades after the end of World War II, “the Germans still aren’t able to treat Poles like partners.”
“The cover’s message,” Stanislaw Janecki, editor-in-chief of Wprost, told SPIEGEL ONLINE, “is that Germany, especially Ms. Merkel, was trying to treat Poles and the Polish leaders as small children completely unable to act on their own and somehow dependent on Germany…. There is the impression that Germany, being more powerful, wants to dominate Poland and that the Kaczynski brothers want to stand up to this domination.”
German reactions to the cover photograph have been predictably shrill. News agency dpa called the image “drastic.” Many papers, including the Cologne daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, wrote of the Chancellor being “mocked” and “ridiculed.” Tabloid Bild dove into its Rolodex and quotes a number of German politicians angrily denouncing the image’s “tastelessness.”
Yet despite the bawdiness of the cover, Janecki points out that it isn’t just critical of Merkel. After all, the image makes it rather clear who the children are. “It is also critical of the Kaczynskis because the relationship between these politicians has become abnormal. It has become threatened by history and by national points of view. There are many factors, but the relationship is clearly not working.”
Janecki also says that, among normal Poles and Germans, the relationship between the two countries is a positive one. Merkel, he claims, is generally well-liked in Poland and Germany is admired for helping the Poles become members of the European Union. Wprost — which means “Straight On” in Polish — even went out of its way to not make the cover still more offensive, Janecki says.
Merkel’s Head with a 21-Year-Old Body
“We imagined it to be a little funny,” Janecki says. “The stepmother is often more sexy and more friendly that the real mother is. The body is of a young, 21-year-old model. I would say it is quite a nice body, and we didn’t want to say anything bad about Ms. Merkel.” He says they got the image from a model agency the magazine works with and they were looking for somebody “who was not so thin but someone who also has a good body.”
The Wprost cover is just the most recent salvo fired in an ongoing media war between the two countries. Janecki’s weekly has attracted unwanted attention for its covers on more than one occasion, the most offensive being a 2003 cover showing then Chancellor Gerhard Schröder being ridden dominatrix style by Erika Steinbach — head of a group representing Germans booted out of Poland following World War II — clad in Nazi garb. More recently, Germany’s Die Tageszeitung has printed images of the Kaczynskis with potatoes as heads. And DER SPIEGEL recently switched around the Wprost cover by depicting Merkel being ridden by the Polish leaders.
But reaction in the Polish press this week to the EU summit, which saw Merkel pushing through an 11th hour compromise deal after threatening to isolate Poland, has been far from universally critical of Germany. Daily Dziennik criticized Prime Minister Jaroslaw’s pre-summit suggestion that Poland would have more influence in the EU had 6 million Poles not been killed in World War II. And the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza said that the Kaczynskis had “crossed the line of European good taste.”
On Tuesday, leaders from both sides of the border were doing their best to play down the fracas. The Chancellery in Berlin has refused to comment on the naked Merkel image, instead saying: “We have a great interest in doing our part to create a close and friendly relationship.” Speaking of the EU summit, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in an interview with Dziennik that “we weren’t acting against the Germans. It wasn’t our intention to weaken their position.”
Despite his magazine’s cover, Janecki also thinks things have gotten a little bit out of hand between the two neighbors lately. “The relationship between Poland and Germany is like that between the Germans and the Dutch, or the Germans and the French. If there are problems, they are problems of the media and the politicians.”
Still, the fact that the Wprost cover story was also co-written by Mariusz Muszynski, who is the Germany advisor to the Polish Foreign Ministry on Warsaw-Berlin relation, did little to defuse a tense situation.
I'm sure the average German can understand the irony of the Wprost cover. If anything the Spiegel is perhaps envious it did not think of such a powerful cover itself which rather puts in the shade their less high profile Kaczynskis riding of Merkel's back cover. Sour grapes?
Neil,It is not the full news, it is the way Hans see's it.
I suggest that Michael be excluded from the group. He is clearly a first class berk.
Ok, so michael thinks hans is a berk, neil thinks michael is a berk and I think all people (me included) act like berks sometimes. Maybe we should not have a forum if berk-free is the rule then...!
Ignore him !
New Polish Demand on EU Treaty Sparks Frustration
Days after a bruising Brussels summit, Poland has riled EU partners once again by saying Friday it wanted to reopen debate on an EU treaty deal to ensure it gets its concessions on voting rights.
Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski told a news conference on Friday that the issue of voting rights in the new EU treaty was not yet fully settled for Poland.
Poland had initially bitterly opposed the new voting system under the new treaty arguing that it favored bigger countries, in particular Germany.
Warsaw's stance on the issue nearly torpedoed a recent key Brussels summit which managed to reach agreement on a future treaty after marathon talks and much negotiating and compromising. The treaty is designed to reform the 27-member bloc's institutions.
Unsurprisingly, Kaczynski's latest comments have raised hackles among EU partners who have been celebrating the outcome of the tortuous treaty negotiations as a success.
The German president of the European parliament, Hans Gert Pottering, called the new Polish demand "totally unacceptable."
The European Commission said it opposed the Polish plan. Its president Jose Manuel Barroso urged all governments to respect the deal clinched in Brussels last week.
The new treaty will simplify the way the EU makes decisions as it expands and create the posts of foreign policy supremo and a longer-term president.
Under the terms of the compromise reached last week, the double majority voting system opposed by the Poles will not be introduced until 2017. It would then include a provision for states to be able to delay EU decisions if they are just short of enough votes to block them.
Warsaw says it had agreed to a delay of two years in such cases, but EU officials say the deal was for decisions to be postponed only until the next EU summit.
"We have to finally resolve this issue at the Inter-Governmental Conference," Jaroslaw Kaczynski said when asked if he planned to fight for Poland's interpretation of the deal. He later said that it was a question of committing to paper what had already been agreed on voting rights.
Jose Socrates, the Portuguese prime minister whose country takes over the EU presidency from Germany on Sunday, called Kaczynski's comments "a misunderstanding."
"The mandate is very clear and precise on what has to be done. I am sure this is only a misunderstanding," he said.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski's comments sparked outrage among politicians in Brussels.
"I just can't believe it," Martin Schulz, head of the Social Democrat group in the EU parliament told Spiegel Online. "You can't question what was agreed upon after such a dramatic summit," he said.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski's latest comments are likely to further antagonize EU neighbors and reinforce Warsaw's image as an unpredictable partner.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw's twin brother, horrified EU leaders recently when he spoke of the horrors of Nazi Germany's occupation of Poland during World War Two to bolster Poland's demands at the Brussels summit.
Again, this is by Hans, we can only count on half of it being true.