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Poland summons ambassador after Belgian PM's rule of law comments

Poland summons ambassador after Belgian PM's rule of law comments
By Reuters
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WARSAW -Poland summoned Belgium's ambassador on Friday to express "disapproval and indignation" after Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo accused Warsaw of "playing with fire" in a worsening dispute with Brussels over the rule of law.

Ambassador Luc Jacobs was called in to see Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, the Polish foreign ministry said, adding: "Such public comments (as De Croo's) do not contribute to a good climate in Polish-Belgian relations."

The Belgian Embassy in Warsaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Referring to comments made by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in an interview, De Croo said in a speech on Wednesday: "You are playing a dangerous game, you are playing with fire when waging war with your European colleagues for internal political reasons", according to a transcript.

Morawiecki had told the Financial Times on Sunday that Poland would use any means at its disposal to defend itself if Brussels were to start "the third world war" by withholding funds in a dispute over judicial reforms.

The European Commission has demanded that Poland undo a disciplinary regime for judges that critics say increases political control over the courts in order to unlock 36 billion euros ($42 billion) of COVID-19 recovery funds.

The EU's top court has also imposed fines of 1 million euros a day on Poland for failing implement a ruling to dissolve a disciplinary chamber for judges.

Warsaw has condemned the use of financial penalties as "blackmail".

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