When in 2017 Beata Szydło lost the vote in a disgraceful way on the reappointment of Donald Tusk as the head of the European Council, the Law and Justice propaganda apparatus announced that the head of Polish government had won a moral victory. The dispute over the new German ambassador is a similarly disgraceful one. All of Europe learned that Poland was resisting the reception of the diplomat because of his father's past, who was assigned to Adolf Hitler's bunker at the end of the war as a staff officer. Meanwhile, Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven was born in 1956 and has nothing to do with Nazism; as a diplomat, he has always held - as many Polish diplomats can testify - a position that is favourable to Warsaw.
Only a madman or a diplomatic dilettante could see a well-respected diplomat associated with German social democracy and link him to the Third Reich as well as make him responsible for his father's military service. Once upon a time, as the 6th largest country in the EU, Poland was among those setting the tone for the European community. Now, it goes on absurd witch hunts not only against its own citizens, but also against diplomats from allied countries.
It was Jarosław Kaczynski, the chairman of the Law and Justice party, who, as discovered by "Wyborcza", saw Freytag von Loringhoven's nomination as an intentional slap in the face by Angela Merkel and thus blocked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from issuing the so-called "agrément", i.e. preliminary permission to come to the post. The media servile to the ruling camp began to cry in fake outrage that sending the son of a Wehrmacht officer to an outpost in Poland was a hostile move on the part of Germany and that, in the interest of the state, such a diplomat should not be allowed to serve in Warsaw.
Several weeks have passed since. In the meantime, firm talks took place between Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Morawiecki, and unexpectedly, on the eve of the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven received the agrément from the Polish MFA.
A moral victory? Not even close. This was a total capitulation on the side of the Polish government. Apparently, Berlin did not intend to budge on the issue of its Ambassador and gave the Polish ruling camp a choice: either Freytag von Loringhoven is cleared to serve in Poland or the Embassy in Warsaw will not be manned. At a time of unpredictable crisis in Belarus, when Germany, Poland and Lithuania are coordinating the position of the European Union, such a downgrading of Warsaw-Berlin relations would be a suicidal step.
How will the Law and Justice party explain its change of heart on Freytag von Loringhoven, not only to the voters, but also to its own politicians? Witold Waszczykowski, who as the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs became famous for his numerous blunders, is openly showing his irritation in the media.
Why did the Law and Justice Party decide to start quarelling with Berlin during such a delicate time? It was clear from the beginning that relations with the Germans would suffer. Everything seems to indicate that the anti-German phobias of Kaczyński and his sycophants, who consider every German as a Nazi, prevailed over the common sense. The applause of the hard-liners within the electorate counted more than the opinion of those few professional diplomats who, after five years of the Law and Justice party's rule, still remain at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The issue concerning diplomats that nobody in the Law and Justice party government listens to and that nobody apparently needs was mentioned in an interview for the "Rzeczpospolita" by the departing Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. Jacek Czaputowicz, who admitted that he had to "consult" with Kaczyński whether to invite the German foreign minister to celebrate the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. Czaputowicz also revealed that there is no one in the current leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the new minister Zbigniew Rau, who graduated from a diplomatic school or served in any diplomatic post. I am afraid that with such people at the helm, the Polish diplomacy, which has been steadily disintegrating since 2015, is entering the free fall stage.
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