Poland has backed Angela Merkel for a fourth term
Warsaw said the under-fire chancellor was the “best” choice for both Germany and the European Union and dismissed the challenge of her rival Martin Schulz.
But is also warned that the era of a Europe run from Berlin must come to an end and agreed with Donald Trump’s assertion that Germany has abused the EU for its own gain.
The endorsement is all the more astonishing because Polish political leaders have historically been scathing of Mrs Merkel, in particular over her response to the refugee crisis.
It was made by the country’s main power broker Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, just hours before the chancellor visits her neighbours for talks on the future of Europe.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski said the German chancellor was the 'right' choice
But he agreed with Donald Trump over German dominance of the EU
Breaking with diplomatic protocol he made his preference for the current German leader clear in completely unambiguous terms, declaring: “It is true that Frau Merkel would be best for us.”
Polish hostility towards Mr Schulz, the former European Parliament president who this week overtook Mrs Merkel in the polls, stems from comments he made about domestic reforms implemented by the right-wing government in Warsaw.
The socialist politician controversially compared the Polish leadership to the Kremlin over alterations to its justice system, which are currently the focus of a furious legal battle in the European Court of Justice.
In a withering attack Mr Kaczynski dismissed the former eurocrat as a “leftist ideologist” and said that Mrs Merkel had “never expressed herself in such an unpolitical way as he did."
The Polish leader also issued a strong rebuke to Berlin with an endorsement of claims made by senior members of the US President’s team that Germany had dominated Europe and milked the single currency for its own gain.
Asked about the remarks from Mr Trump, he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “Unfortunately, for the most part Mrs Merkel is absolutely the number one in the EU, and that is not a healthy situation.
"It is necessary to strengthen the national states and reduce the competences of the union. We also need to protect ourselves from too much centralisation. Germany benefits from it, but others do not."
However, he backed the German leader’s call for increased European defence cooperation and said her strong backing for NATO and sanctions against Russia was hugely important.
Angela Merkel in pictures
Tue, November 29, 2016
Angela Merkel has served as German Chancellor since 2005 and Leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000. We take a look at her political career in pictures.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the gala for the 200th anniversary of Werner von Siemens on November 29, 2016 at the historic headquarters of Siemens in Berlin
Mrs Merkel’s meeting with the party chief, who does not hold an official leadership role but is the power behind the throne, underlines the importance of her trip as more than just symbolic.
She has been critical of Warsaw in the past, and it is one of the country’s opposed to a controversial migrant quota scheme which would alleviate some pressure on Germany,
The chancellor’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said: "It’s better to talk with each other rather than about each other. Generally, Merkel is somebody who likes to address all critical issues with her partners.
“In this fashion, she will also address those topics that are critical in Poland right now."