Poland’s ruling party to recall EP’s VP over “Hungary must be starved out” statement

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Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party will submit a motion to dismiss Katarina Barley, one of the Vice Presidents of the European Parliament (EP), over her statement on “starving out” Hungary, Polish MEP Ryszard Legutko said on Monday.

 

The motion will be tabled by Poland’s ruling PiS party – a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists group – at the EP Conference of Presidents on Tuesday, Mr Legutko told PAP, Poland’s state news agency. The MEP underlined that the use of the term aushungern (to starve out) “means a provocative humiliation for the Polish and Hungarian nations that have kept starvation alive in their memory,” PAP quoted from EP President David Sassoli’s letter, which is attached to the motion.

Mr Legutko, the head of PiS’s EP delegation, responded to Ms Barley’s recent interview with the German Deutschlandfunk public service radio, where – in connection with rule of law issues – the EP Vice President said that Viktor Orban should be “financially starved out” and it must be prevented that tax paid by European citizens is “disbursed to regimes such as Oban’s or Kaczynski’s”.

Pointing out that Ms Barley has not apologised for her words, Ryszard Legutko emphasized that no matter what the German politician thinks of the governments of Poland and Hungary, this “cannot justify her insensitivity and disrespect to two nations that have suffered for much of the 20th century”.

Mr Legutko called it doubtful that a motion to replace Barley, a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the second largest EP-group, would enjoy majority support in the European Parliament. It is also possible that the petition gets rejected at an EP presidency meeting, but this would send a clear message that Ms Barley’s statements are not considered reprehensible by the groups forming the majority of the EP, the Polish lawmaker said.

Several leading Polish politicians demanded an official apology following Ms Barley’s statement last week. Deutschlandfunk asserted that the term “starvation” did not apply to Poland, but Michal Dworczyk, the head of the Polish Prime Minister’s Office, said the paper simply discredited its own reporting with that explanation.

Speaking to the conservative wpolityce.pl news site on Saturday, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki stressed that “these are shameful words that should never have left the mouth of the European Parliament’s German vice president of.” Mr Morawiecki added that such comments coming from a German politician are tantamount to a diplomatic scandal.

“It is absolutely reprehensible,” the Polish prime minister said, adding that Germany should remember the famine, genocide and tragedies it is responsible for. He emphasized that both Hungary and Poland had the same rights in the EU as Germany.

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