Fighting to win an unprecedented third term in office, Poland’s nationalist government has seized on a target close to home: Germany, its NATO ally and biggest trading partner.
In a tight race ahead of Poland’s Oct. 15 election, leaders of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party have accused Germany of trying to dictate Polish government policy from Berlin on anything from migration to gas.
The feud has frayed Europe’s broadly united front supporting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, shredding a plan for a joint Polish-German tank repair plant for Kyiv’s benefit.
The populist PiS leadership also says Germany is plotting to install the party’s main electoral opponent, the liberal former prime minister Donald Tusk, back in power.
PiS has tapped into a mistrust towards Germany that still runs high in part of the electorate, above all elderly conservatives who remember the devastation of World War Two.
“Do you know where you can read the (opposition’s campaign) programme? In German newspapers,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a campaign event.
His party casts Tusk, who said his grandfather was forcibly conscripted into the Nazi Wehrmacht during World War Two before escaping to the Allied side, as a German puppet and the “political husband” of former German chancellor Angela Merkel. A campaign video also mocked Merkel’s successor Olaf Scholz.
Months of spats between the two neighbours have tested the solidarity of the Western alliance that rallied around Ukraine after the Russian invasion last year. They have come at a time when other issues, including the election of a pro-Russian leader in EU member state Slovakia, are threatening disruption.
The quarrel has already impacted efforts to help Ukraine.
In April the defence ministers of Germany and Poland, with a smile and hug of solidarity, announced the creation of a joint hub in Poland to repair German-made Leopard tanks damaged in battle in Ukraine.
Source : Reuters