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PiS politicians: German MEP believes that Germany is “the only force that can replace PiS in Poland”. No, it doesn’t say that

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Some PiS politicians suggest that German MEP Manfred Weber spoke in an interview about “Berlin” or “Germans” as “the only force that can replace PiS in Poland.” The full content of his statements, however, shows that he did not mean his countrymen.

On June 26, many politicians and supporters of Law and Justice published on social media a statement by German MEP and chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP) Manfred Weber, who the day before in an interview with the daily “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitunghe said: “We are building a firewall against PiS. We are the only force that can replace PiS in Poland and lead this country back to Europe.”

In the entries of some politicians, however, there was a suggestion that Weber meant “Berlin”, “Germany” or “Germans” as “the only force that can replace PiS in Poland”. They wrote, for example (original spelling of all entries):

‘We are the only force that can replace PiS in Poland,’ said German politician Manfred Weber openly. That is, either an independent Poland ruled by PiS, or German domination. This will be the next election. Thank you, Herr Weber, for being so open about it.

German politician and ally of Tusk Manfred Weber claims that – here is a quote – they are ‘the only force that can replace PiS in Poland’. Mr. Weber, it is the Poles who decide who governs our homeland. Berlin has nothing to say here.

Berlin finally put his cards on the table and stopped hiding. German politician Manfred Weber said: ‘We are the only force that can replace PiS in Poland’. (…) The Germans are doing what they can to change the government in Poland. That’s why they sent Tusk to Poland. The upcoming elections will be about this – either we continue to build a strong, independent Poland or we let the Germans install their man at the helm of governments in Poland.

So we explain what exactly Manfred Weber said in an interview with a German daily and who, in his opinion, is “the only force that can replace PiS”.

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Interview about the future of the European People’s Party

Interview with the President of the European People’s Party (EPP) published on the portal “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” on Sunday, June 25. The conversation mainly focuses on the EPP party itself, its future and potential changes in the position of chairman. That’s why the interview was titled “Von der Leyen would come first” because Weber had just named Ursula von der Leyen, the current president of the European Commission from the EPP, as one of the main candidates for the post of future president of the party.

It was in the thread of the conversation regarding Ursula von der Leyen that a sentence appeared incorrectly presented in Poland as referring to the Germans who would replace Law and Justice. A journalist asked Weber: “Do you [Ursula von der Leyen] fits the party he wants to lead?” Weber replied: “The European People’s Party was and is a centrist and European party. Von der Leyen is the embodiment of this. But it is also decisive what projects we will enter the election campaign with in the future. My ambition is for the EPP to lead the Commission again [Europejskiej]to become by far the strongest parliamentary group. The initiative is on our side. We have ten heads of state and government. If Spain joined them, it would be another great success. People find citizenship, at the same time, much more attractive than left-wing ideologues.”

The journalist asked: “Is this citizenship or is the party moving to the right? In countries like Finland, the EPP government depends on right-wing populists. The Christian Democrats in Italy are now only a minority partner.” Manfred Weber replied:

We advocate a course that excludes radicals. Alternative for Germany [Marine] Le Pen are our political enemies. I formulated three conditions for any cooperation [z innymi partiami]: pro-European, pro-Ukrainian, supporting the rule of law. This is how we build a firewall against PiS. We are the only force that can replace PiS in Poland and lead the country back to Europe.

In the same reply, Weber added: “Or let’s take Slovakia. There, Robert Fico, still a member of the Social Democrats, starts with a purely Orbán, pro-Putinist and anti-rule of law message – we with Eduard Heger – with [przekazem] pro-European and pro-Ukrainian.

From the full context, it is clear that the German MEP was not talking about Germany, but about the European People’s Party as “a force that can replace PiS in Poland and lead the country back to Europe.” This is evidenced by the fact that he says “we” about Eduard Heger – the leader of the Slovak Democrats party belonging to the EPP group in the European Parliament.

This interpretation of Manfred Weber’s words was confirmed in a message to Konkret24 by the spokesman for this politician, Dirk Gotink. “Of course he said that as president of the European People’s Party,” Gotink told us. “The EPP is the largest political family in Europe, the party of liberators from communism and the strongest voice against Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. This EPP family is represented in all European Union member states,” he added.

European party PO and PSL

The European People’s Party is a European political party consisting of pro-European, Christian Democratic, popular and conservative-liberal parties all European Union countries. From Poland, the EPP includes two opposition parties to the PiS government: Platforma Obywatelska and Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe. Moreover, PO MEP Jan Olbrycht is one of ten EPP vice-presidents from ten different European Union countries. Manfred Weber’s predecessor as EPP chairman was the current PO chairman, Donald Tusk.

In the quoted interview, Manfred Weber once again referred to the PiS government. When he argued that party members would “build bridges, argue and overcome divisions”, the journalist reminded him that he had previously spoken of “a firewall for PiS, which is the dominant force in the Group of European Conservatives and Reformists” and asked the MEP: ” What: a dam or a bridge? The EPP chairman replied: “PiS belongs to the camp of our political opponents. Through the adoption of the Lex Tusk, the Article 7 procedure, the selection of dependent judges – in this way they put themselves outside the democratic discourse and join the company of Alternatives for Germany and Le Pen.”

Main photo source: PAP/EPA

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