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Szydlo trades barbs with Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron caused Polish ire after an attempt to review a controversial EU rule on cheap labour:

“Poland today is not a country that can show Europe the way, it’s a country that has decided to go against European interests in many areas,” Macron said at press conference in the coastal city of Varna in Bulgaria, where has been warmly received by Prime minister Boyko Borissov.

“Europe was built on public freedoms that Poland violates… It is placing itself on the margins of Europe’s future history,” – Macron continued.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has not ignored the criticism:

“Perhaps (Macron’s) arrogant comments result from lack of political experience, which I can understand, but I expect that he will make up for this shortcoming and will be more restrained in the future,” she told  wPolityce.pl news website on Friday, August 25.

The whirlwind swept on Macron’s final day of a short tour through Austria, Romania and Bulgaria, while seeking to win support for changing the so-called Posted Workers Directive at an EU summit on October 19-20.

The regulation lets firms send workers from low-wage countries to wealthier economies on short-term assignments without paying their hosts’ social charges.

The rule has caused resentment in western countries like France, Germany and Austria, which argue it amounts to “social dumping” and creates unfair competition on national labour markets.

Backed by Berlin and Vienna, Paris wants the duration of the postings to be limited to 12 months – half the period proposed by the European Commission – and demands greater efforts to fight abuse of the directive.

The reform is a key election promise of 39-year-old Macron who has suffered plummeting approval ratings at home since his election.

However the Eastern Europe is far from embracing the change: Warsaw and Budapest say the proposals go too far and will undercut their interests.

Poland – the EU member that benefits most from the regulation – wants to keep its current rules intact.

An estimated more than half-a-million of Polish nationals are employed by Polish companies in other EU members.

“We will defend our position to the end, because it is a position that is in the interest of Polish workers,” Szydlo ensured.

About Europe correspondent (614 Articles)
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