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EU president-elect in Poland for talks on migration, law

International
Ursula von der Leyen, Mateusz Morawiecki

Ursula von der Leyen, left, designated European Commission President and Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, right, brief the media during a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, July 25, 2019.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen met with Poland’s prime minister Thursday to discuss the executive body’s agenda for when she takes the helm later this year, including the sticky points of migration and rule of law.

Before the talks Von der Leyen, who takes up her post on Nov. 1, said she did not expect to find agreement on all points, and named migration and the rule of law as difficult themes. She stressed, however, it was important that the sides listen to each other’s arguments with respect.

The visit to Warsaw was von der Leyen’s second foreign trip, after Paris, since being approved for her post. Her talks focus on shaping the new commission. Poland backed her candidacy.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki expressed “great hope that in the coming years we will jointly work for a new opening and build a Europe of compromises.”

Poland’s right-wing government is hoping for more understanding from the EU under von der Leyen for its policies. Warsaw is bitter over sanctioning procedures that the EU, under current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, has launched over changes to Poland’s judiciary that are seen as a threat to the rule of law, in violation of EU values.

Poland has refused to accept migrants from the Middle East and Africa, arguing it is hosting over 1 million Ukrainians, some of whom fled war zones. Von der Leyen had previously signaled she is aware of that.

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