Macron criticizes Poland

President Macron

President Emmanuel Macron criticized Poland's government during a press conference in the Bulgarian city of Varna on Friday.

He said, "Poland today is not a country that can show Europe the way, it's a country that has decided to go against European interests in many areas."

The Polish government has expressed opposition to Macron's attempt to reform the EU's Posted Worker Directive. The directive permits employees from countries with lower wages and fewer social programs to post workers in wealthier countries without contributing to those countries' social welfare systems.

Macron has spent the last three days in central and eastern Europe meeting with fellow leaders from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Bulgaria. He has said that he is pleased with the progress made in those meetings.

The directive will be one of the topics discussed at summit in Brussels planned for October 19-20.

The German and Austrian governments support Macron's reform efforts. All three governments want to restrict workers to 12 months maximum stays in host countries. The European Commission's proposal sets the limit at 24 months.

Poland, like many former communist bloc countries, supports the directive. Poland is the EU member that receives the greatest benefit from the directive. Approximately 500,000 Polish nationals are covered by the directive.

Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said, "We will defend our position to the end, because it is a position that is in the interest of Polish workers."

Macron was directly critical of the Polish government's position.

"I think the Polish prime minister has once again made a strategic error," he said. "The Polish people deserve better than this. The prime minister will have a tough time explaining why it is good to pay Polish people bad wages in Poland and elsewhere in Europe."

He even suggested that Poland could be "placing itself on the margins of Europe's future history."

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