Breakthrough: foreign media widely discuss Macron’s visit to Poland

French President Emmanuel Macron’s February 3-4 visit to Warsaw was widely commented in the world media with the word “breakthrough” appearing many times.

“France’s President Emmanuel Macron happily welcomed the ‘turning point’ in French-Polish relations,” wrote French “Le Figaro” daily writing on the first day of Mr Macron’s visit, putting it in the context of Brexit and future contacts between him, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of the Weimar Triangle format.

“Le Figaro” also wrote that the French president said that “France is neither pro-Russian nor anti-Russian. It is pro-European.” Mr Macron also stressed the necessity to undertake “a demanding political dialogue” with Russia.

Agence France Presse (AFP) recounted all of the threads of the visit including, among others, the signing of the French-Polish cooperation programme as part of the “strategic partnership.” The AFP also mentioned the will of both heads of states to cooperate on the project of the European Main Battle Tank.

The agency recalled that President Macron had expressed his concern over the judiciary reform in Poland, while also stressing his attachment to NATO and dispelling Poland’s worries about his openness towards Moscow.

French daily “Le Monde” recalled that Poland purchased F-35 fighter jets for USD 4.6 bn 3 days before Mr Macron’s visit to Warsaw. Both “Le Monde” and the AFP highlighted Mr Macron’s proposal to organise a French-German-Polish summit as part of the Weimar Triangle.

Also “Le Monde” described the French President as adopting the role of an “engineer” trying to “put the pieces back together” after the “tactless statements” that he has made over the past 3 years. For its part, “L’Express” wrote about “a turning point” in Polish-French relations.

Meanwhile, the national public-service broadcaster for the Flemish Community of Belgium, Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT), wrote that “the meeting of the French and the Polish president in Warsaw is important for Europe and for Polish-French Relations. Emmanuel Macron’s visit is the first of a French leader to Poland for many years.

The VRT also recalled that the previous visit by then French President François Hollande in 2016 was cancelled following Poland’s decision to withdraw from the purchase of French Caracal helicopters. Moreover, the VRT wrote that Poland’s relations with the EU have been bumpy over the past years and that the issue of migrant relocation and the Polish reform of the judiciary led to a conflict with Brussels.

Nevertheless, the VRT recalled that although Emmanuel Macron did voice some criticism of the Polish government, his overall intention while visiting Poland was to “bury the hatchet.”

“It is no mystery that there are no friends of Vladimir Putin within the Polish government,” wrote the Belgian broadcaster, adding that Mr Macron’s desire is that Polish citizens should rely on Europe for security. That is why the French leader pursues further EU integration in the defence sector.

Meanwhile, German state-owned public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) wrote that “French President Emmanuel Macron… was working on rebuilding strained relations between France and Poland, as the EU is reeling from the consequences of Brexit. Macron called for a new summit of the ‘Weimar Triangle,’ between the 2 nations and Germany.”

The US’ Bloomberg wrote that “Emmanuel Macron struck a conciliatory tone in a bid to rekindle France’s relationship with Poland… Macron said he wants to move on from the “misunderstandings” of the past.”

Bloomberg also highlighted that “Macron’s attempt to patch over strains with the EU’s biggest ex-communist member is central to his plans to strengthen the bloc after the UK’s departure and at a time when Germany’s role as the main engine of EU integration fades.”

“Poland’s reluctance toward the bloc’s climate-change and migration policies weigh on the relationship,” Bloomberg noted, adding that “Macron has said Poland shouldn’t access EU climate-transition funds until it explicitly backs the bloc’s emissions-cutting goals. Telling pro-environment activists to go demonstrate in Poland rather than France also didn’t go down well.”

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