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News Link • Poland

Poland Prepares 'Absolutely Huge' Welcome for Trump


WARSAW—Like many of his fellow Polish pro-government lawmakers, Dominik Tarczynski is sending a busload of constituents to Warsaw on Thursday to cheer for President Donald Trump. The buses are being provided by a foundation close to the governing party.

"It's going to be huge—absolutely huge," Mr. Tarczynski said of the coming welcome for Mr. Trump. "They just love him, the people in Poland—they just really love him."

Poland is working to put on a hero's welcome for Mr. Trump as he prepares to give a major speech to thousand of Poles in a Warsaw square. Behind that effort is a recognition across the continent that Mr. Trump has the potential to change the balance of power in Europe.

President Barack Obama formed a close bond with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and backed her liberal worldview, her acceptance of immigrants, and her support for a deeply integrated European Union. Now it is nationalist governments such as Poland's that hope Mr. Trump will see them as ideological kindred spirits and back their push to loosen the European Union and rebalance it away from Berlin.

"There's this new success—Trump's visit," Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, said at a party congress over the weekend. Tweaking European officials who are nervous that Mr. Trump's visit could deepen the divide on the continent, Mr. Kaczynski went on: "They're envious of it!"

Poland, where the conservative Law and Justice government took over in 2015, is locked in an escalating feud with the EU's executive body in Brussels and with Western European capitals. The European Commission has said the government's changes to the Polish judicial system, including appointing its own judges to the Constitutional Court, undermine the rule of law.

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested Poland was rejecting European democratic principles and treating the bloc like "a supermarket," implying it is taking advantage of the EU without following all of its norms.

German politicians often slam Poland for failing to take in refugees and for reducing press freedoms.

In Mr. Trump, some Polish politicians and commentators see a leader who has campaigned against accepting refugees and criticized the EU and Germany's influence in the bloc.

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