Polish politicians demand resignation of German MEP Barley after her call to ‘financially starve’ Hungary

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The senior Polish ruling coalition party Law and Justice (PiS) will call on Tuesday in the European Parliament for resignation of German MEP Katarina Barley, who also as one of the vice-presidents of the European Parliament, after her statement in German radio interview asking the European Union for the “financial starvation” of Hungary and Poland, conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Hírlap reports.

“The rule of law is constantly broken and EU funds are an efficient way to exact pressure. States such as Poland and Hungary must be financially starved. Funds are an efficient lever,” Barley told German radio last week.

The motion will be presented by PiS, part of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, at Tuesday’s meeting of the European Parliament presidency, Legutko told Polish news agency PAP.

Legutko, head of the PiS European Parliament delegation, responded to the Barley statement given to Deutschlandfunk German public service radio that Viktor Orbán should be “financially starved” related to rule of law breaches and that the tax paid by European citizens should be prevented from being paid to “regimes such as those of Orbán and Kaczynski”.

In a letter to European Parliament President David Sassoli accompanying the motion, Legutko underlined that the German term aushungern (to starve), used by Barley in the interview “amounts to a provocative humiliation of the Polish and Hungarian nations who have a vivid memory of starvation”.

Last week, Barley’s comments caused widespread outrage in Poland and Hungary.

“A German is calling for the starvation of Hungary and Poland. No illusions remain. The fight for the rule of law is not meant to improve legislation in the EU. It is an ideological weapon against conservative governments,”  said Law and Justice MEP (PiS) and former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski in response.

Pointing out that Barley had not yet apologized for her words, Legutko underlined that whatever German politicians think of the governments of Poland and Hungary, this “cannot justify his insensitivity and lack of respect for the two nations that have suffered for the better part of the 20th century.”

Legutko said it is doubtful that a motion to replace Barley, from the second-largest European Parliament group, the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, would find majority support in the parliament. The petition could even be rejected at a meeting of the European Parliament presidency, but such an action will simply prove that Barley’s statements are not considered reprehensible by the majority factions of the European Parliament, the Polish politician remarked.

Due to Barley’s statement last week, several leading Polish politicians demanded an official apology. Michal Dworczyk, head of the Polish prime minister’s office, crticized Deutschlandfunk’s retrospective clarification that the term “starvation” did not apply to Poland.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki — as reported  by the Wpolityce.pl conservative news portal  — said Barley’s statement on Saturday was “reprehensible” and a “diplomatic scandal.” The Germans “should remember the horror, the genocide, the tragedies for which they are responsible”, Morawiecki stressed that in the European Union, Hungary and Poland have the same rights as countries such as Germany and France.

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