France’s Macron wants closer ties with Poland on EU

Emmanuel Macron, Andrzej Duda

President Emmanuel Macron,left, of France and his Polish host, President Andrzej Duda, shake hands before talks on developing recently-strained bilateral ties at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called for closer ties with Polandin shaping the European Union without Britain, in European security and relations with Russia.

Following talks in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda, Macron also called for a revival of trilateral ties with Germany, urging a summit meeting in coming weeks following years of hiatus.

He said the three countries should resume their role in shaping the EU’s future, especially after Britain’s departure last week.

Macron has previously been critical of Poland’s right-wing government and its policies of refusing to accept migrants, continuing reliance on coal and trying to bring the judiciary under political control.

His predecessor, Francois Hollande, canceled a visit in 2016 after Warsaw scrapped a planned purchase of French helicopters.

Macron said he would like his visit to be a “turning point” in bilateral relations and for any misunderstandings to be cleared up.

He expressed concerns over the changes Poland’s right-wing government is making to the judiciary and urged a more intensive dialogue with the EU’s executive body to end a conflict on the matter.

Duda said this first visit by a French president to Poland in many years had “breakthrough value” for Poland.

Arriving 40 minutes behind schedule, Macron was greeted by Duda and a military guard of honor in chilly weather in front of the Presidential Palace.

Macron’s office said the visit is a crucial part of France’s efforts to bolster ties with European partners.

The French delegation includes the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, financeand the environment.

Later Monday, Macron is to meetPrime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.

On Tuesday, he travels to the southern city of Krakow where he will visit Wawel Castle and give a speech at the Jagiellonian University.

His agenda includes meeting with French expatriatesin Poland and Polish intellectuals.

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