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    Journalists take Poland to Court

    Polish Weekly Depicts Merkel in Hitler Pose, EU Politicians as Her Generals

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    In the latest episode of the Polish-EU war of words, a popular Polish tabloid has depicted Angela Merkel and other top-level EU politicians as Nazis, and another magazine likened Merkel and the chief of the EU parliament with 18-century occupants of Poland.

    A picture featured Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, accompanied by his generals and Mussolini. A poorly-photoshopped Polish 2016 version, by the Poznan-based tabloid Wprost, has the German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Fuhrer in the company of Martin Schulz, the EU Parliament head, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger and Guy Verhofstadt, a prominent European MP.

    “These People Want to Supervise Poland Again,” the headline on the front page reads.

    ​Another Polish tabloid, wSieci, paints Merkel and Schultz in the company of Russia’s Tsarina Ekaterina II and Prussia’s Frederick II, in the process of separating Poland, which alludes to the 18-century partition of Poland.

    “Conspiracy Against Poland – From Tsarina Ekaterina to Merkel,” the headline reads.

    ​Both magazines are weekly tabloids loyal to the new ruling right-wing Polish party PiS (Law and Justice), elected to the national parliament in a majority in October.

    The verbal conflict with the European Union began late last year after the PiS party in Warsaw ignored several warnings by the European Commission to not follow through with planned changes to the country’s constitution regarding the court system and the media. Both intended moves have provoked public protest in Poland and criticism from journalists and politicians internationally.

    Schultz shoots

    The grade of tensions rose high a few days ago after a phrase about the ‘Putinization’ of the Polish government was offered by the EU Parliament President Schulz.

    “The Polish government considers its election victory a mandate to subordinate the interests of the state to the interests of the winning party,” Schulz told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.“That’s democracy carried out in the style of [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin and a dangerous ‘Putinization’ of European politics.”

    Earlier in December Poland had demanded an apology from Schulz after he called its judicial changes a ‘coup.’

    Oettinger supervises

    German EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said last week he would press the EU to put Poland under “supervision” over changes it made to its Constitutional Court and a new media law passed that was hurriedly before Christmas.

    ​Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro responded by writing an open letter stating:

    “You [Oettinger] demanded that Poland be placed under ‘supervision.’ Such words, spoken by a German politician, have the worst possible connotations for Poles. Also in me. I’m a grandson of a Polish officer, who during World War II fought in the underground National Army against ‘German supervision’.”

    Meanwhile, German lawmakers are in agreement on the need to impose economic sanctions against Poland if Warsaw continues ‘to ignore European principles and values’, Spiegel Online said, quoting top politicians, including Volker Kauder, a man described as Chancellor Angela Merkel's ‘right hand.’

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    Tags:
    Putinization, Nazi, magazine, World War II, conflict, Polish Law and Justice Political Party (PiS), European Commission, European Parliament, European Union, Guy Verhofstadt, Zbigniew Ziobro, Angela Merkel, Martin Schulz, Jean-Claude Juncker, Guenther Oettinger, Poland, Poznan, Warsaw
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