France's Macron to make first visit to Poland on Feb. 3-4

France's Macron to make first visit to Poland on Feb. 3-4
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, meets members of the Jewish community during a ceremony to inaugurate the renovated Wall of Names. Monday, Jan. 27, 2020 at the Shoah memorial in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)

WARSAW (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron will make his first official visit to Poland next week, a trip considered crucial for the development of France’s ties with European partners, his office said Monday.

The Elysee Palace said that during his talks with Poland’s leaders Macron wants to “clarify French views on many European issues,” open new areas of cooperation and “underline the need to protect European democratic values.”

Macron has been critical of Poland’s right-wing government in its disputes with the European Union over issues like the rule of law and judicial independence. Macron is also unhappy with Poland’s cancellation in 2016 of a major defense deal with a French company as well as its reluctance to take in asylum seekers.

Macron with hold talks in Warsaw on Feb. 3 with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, focusing on security, defense, energy, climate, economy and industry.

On Feb. 4, Macron will visit the Renaissance Castle of Wawel in the southern city of Krakow, and deliver a speech at the Jagiellonian University to stress the “need for a joint European commitment.”