U.S. President Barack Obama expressed concern on Friday over Poland's moves to shackle its constitutional court, calling for more action during talks with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, before a NATO summit in Warsaw.
Speaking after meeting Duda, Obama said Poland had taken some steps to address U.S. and European concerns but more should be done.
"I expressed to President Duda our concerns over certain actions, and the impasse over Poland's constitutional tribunal," Obama told reporters.
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"I insisted that we are very respectful of Poland's sovereignty and I recognize that parliament is working on legislation to take some important steps, but more work needs to be done," the U.S. leader said.
Critics says the Polish government's efforts to reform the constitutional tribunal undermine democratic standards and are part of a broader effort to seize more control over state institution, charges the ruling Law and Justice party denies.
But, according to the Washington Post, Telewizja Polska, the main public broadcaster in Poland, viewers heard that President Obama said something very different: “Ninety-five per cent of the meeting was about issues of NATO and security, but Obama praised Polish efforts at democracy,” the Polish reporter said. “Concerning the issue of the constitutional tribunal, he said he is sure that spreading democratic values in Poland will not stop.”