Polish-German presidents review of Bundestag hearing on Hungary, Poland

Polish president Andrzej Duda (R) and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier (L) discussed the recent hearing on Poland in the Bundestag. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Polish President Andrzej Duda met his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday to discuss an earlier meeting in the German lower house which covered alleged rule-of-law violations in Poland and Hungary.

Germany invites deported Ukrainian activist to discuss Poland

Lyudmila Kozlovska, the head of the Poland-based “Open Dialogue” Foundation, is scheduled to appear before the German Bundestag lower house on...

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According to the head of Presidential Office, Krzysztof Szczerski, Mr Duda told Mr Steinmeier that “stigmatising” the Polish democratically chosen authorities “in a parliament of another country” is “contrary to European values.” Mr Duda also told his German counterpart that “such projects do not serve building good relations and trust between” Poland and Germany.

According Mr Szczerski, the German president “promised to get acquainted with the matter.”

The presidential discussion took place during Latvian summit of the Arraiolos group following the hearing in Bundestag – the German Lower House – that focused on the rule of law and human rights in Poland and Hungary.

The Arraiolos group summit – the setting for the presidential viewpoints exchange – is an unofficial gathering of the executive heads of states that expressed their willingness to participate. It is also an important diplomatic forum.

Lyudmila Kozlovska, head of the Open Dialog Foundation, spoke in the Bundestag and thanked for facilitating her doing so. Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

Kozlovska in Bundestag: Polish democracy heading for a fall

Mr Duda’s initiative was started by, among other issues, the hearing in the German Bundestag entitles “Human rights in danger – the dismantling the rule of law in Poland and Hungary,” which hosted a keynote speaker Lyudmila Kozlovska, a Ukrainian citizen and head of the Open Dialog Foundation, deported from the territory of the European Union to Kiev.

MPs and other people gathered in the Bundestag heard Ms Kozlovska saying that “the Polish democracy is heading for a fall” and disproving the supposition that the Open Dialogue Foundation she presides is financed by Russians, calling it a fake news.

The Ukrainian activist also thanked those present for giving her a chance to come to Germany and to speak up. Ms Kozlovska’s arrival to Germany was possible thanks to granting her a special short-term German visa.

Poland’s national broadcaster TVP learned that the visa was issued on the basis of Ms Kozlovska’s presence at the Bundestag hearing being in “Germany’s national interest”.

The Arraiolos group summit is an unofficial gathering of the executive heads of states that expressed their willingness to participate. It is also an important diplomatic forum. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

’Serious doubts’ regarding the Open Dialogue Foundation

Ms Kozlovska, was barred from entering the Schengen area and deported back to the Ukraine on the basis of an entry in the EU Schengen Information System (SIS) issued by Poland’s Internal Security Agency citing “serious doubts regarding the funding of the Open Dialogue Foundation” as the reason for her undesirability for entry into the EU.

The Open Dialogue Foundation and one of its board member, Ms Kozlovska’s husband Bartosz Kramek, first became known for their active support of the Ukrainian democratic protests in 2013 and 2014.

Later, her foundation became involved with domestic politics in Poland, with Mr Kramek famously publishing a guide to protest calling for a “government shutdown,” which would be achieved by organizing various strikes, civil disobedience events as well as by encouraging the EU to impose sanctions against Polish government officials.

Deputy FM Andrzej Papierz has requested explanation from the German ambassador in Poland Rolf Nikel regarding the granting of German temporary visa to Ms Kozlovska. Mr Papierz informed the ambassador that Poland deems Germany’s action “unjustified.”

According to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Polish side upholds its stance on placing Ludmila Kozlowska on the list persons banned from the Schengen area.