Speaking at Princeton University earlier this week, the EU top official commented on the potential political developments ahead of the elections in Italy, where Giorgia Meloni’s rightist bloc is expected to win power.
Answering a question regarding her concerns about Italy’s lurch to the right as an outcome of the ballot, von der Leyen said: “My approach is that whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we're working together.”
Yet, she later sent a veiled threat to the future Italian government: “If things go in a difficult direction, I've spoken about Hungary and Poland, we have tools.”
Von der Leyen’s words fuelled all-round criticism across EU states, also from Poland.
The Polish PM inflated the EU chief’s controversial remarks, claiming that the statement made by von der Leyen meant that “Brussels has the right tools to discipline Italy should their new government not serve the EU’s agenda.”
Morawiecki added that “the true value lies in democracy, sovereignty, and the rule of nations, not the rule of Brussels bureaucrats who dictate, blackmail, threaten and exert pressure on others.“
From Poland’s judicial reforms that according to Brussels run afoul of the rule of law, to non-compliance with an EU order to close a Polish lignite mine close to the border with Czechia; Morawiecki’s criticism of von der Leyen’s words marks yet another rift between Poland and the EU.
Source: Reuters, PAP