Macron’s Travels in Lilliput
During a recent visit to Poland, French President Emmanuel Macron avoided the controversial topic of judicial independence and focused instead on economic and defense cooperation. By responding to this overture with open displays of contempt, Poland's populist leaders have condemned their country to continued isolation and ridicule.
BERLIN – When French President Emmanuel Macron visited Poland on February 3-4, he touched only briefly on the topic of judicial independence, mentioning Poland’s dispute over that issue with the European Commission, but not with France. Macron, clearly, was attempting to thaw the Franco-Polish relationship and offer Poland a chance to end its isolation within the European Union.
Immediately following Macron’s visit, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a “muzzle” law that empowers the government to punish judges for acting independently. Duda then added insult to injury by hosting the president of North Macedonia, a country that has its own dispute with France following Macron’s decision to block its EU accession bid. Macron, who was still in the country delivering a lecture at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, must feel like he was taken for a ride.
This was merely the latest demonstration of the current Polish government’s contempt for Macron. Everyone knows that Macron is the European leader most committed to furthering EU integration. That is why he has been so critical of the main obstacles standing in the way of integration, not least Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. And yet his recent visit was meant to be a gesture of goodwill.