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President, EC head discuss regional security

Von der Leyen and Duda also spoke about the need for an EU-compatible justice system in Poland.
John Thys/PAP/EPA

Polish President Andrzej Duda and European Commission (EC) head Ursula von der Leyen discussed European security and the Russia-Ukraine crisis at Monday talks in Brussels.

Duda’s aide, Jakub Kumoch, said the 90-minute meeting focused on the situation around the Russian-Ukrainian border, where Rusia is amassing large military forces, and the EU’s response to Moscow’s moves. Also discussed were relations between Poland and the EC and the West’s unity in face of common threats, Kumoch said.

Von der Leyen wrote on Twitter that the talks had been “good,” adding that they also covered energy supply matters and joint efforts regarding further EU sanctions on Russia in response to its military build-up on the Ukrainian border.

“Good talk with President of Poland Andrzej Duda about our serious security concerns in Europe, with Russia threatening our neighbour, Ukraine,” she wrote.

Von der Leyen and Duda also spoke about the need for an EU-compatible justice system in Poland.

After the talks with von der Leyen, Duda met with European Council President Charles Michel and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Duda said the talks with von der Leyen and Michel also covered his recent legislative initiative around an EU-contested disciplinary chamber for judges at the Polish Supreme Court.

In a recent draft bill, Duda proposed replacing the chamber with a Professional Responsibility Chamber.

“I presented my standpoint in the matter. I said what my intentions had been, and expressed hope this would help end the dispute between the EC and the Polish authorities,” Duda said.

Following his meeting with Stoltenberg, Duda said the present situation called for reinforcements on Nato’s eastern flank.

“Everyone can see what is going on, Russia is escalating its military presence in our part of Europe,” he said.

Stoltenberg referred to Russia’s claims that the concentration of its troops close to Ukraine was only a military exercise, and warned that Nato had to remain alert in the situation as in the past Russia has used such manoeuvres to launch attacks.

“Nato must remain alert and ready. We are enlarging our military presence and the capacities of our rapid-response forces in the eastern part of the Alliance,” Stoltenberg said.

Duda’s Monday talks preceded his Tuesday Weimar Triangle sitting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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