(Bloomberg) -- Poland accused German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of trying to interfere in the country’s parliamentary election, threatening a new conflict with its Western neighbor.
Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said remarks by the chancellor, who on Sunday called on Warsaw to investigate reports on illegally-issued work visas and threatened to introduce border controls, violated “the principles of the sovereign equality of states.”
The exchange will likely add to frictions between Poland and the government in Berlin ahead of the tightly-contested election on Oct. 15. The ruling Law & Justice party last year demanded that Germany pay $1.3 trillion in compensation for wartime damage. Its chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called the main opposition party leader and former European Council President Donald Tusk a German “embed.”
“The competence of the German chancellor clearly doesn’t concern the ongoing proceedings in Poland,” Rau said on X platform late on Sunday. “Statements in this regard indicate an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of the Polish state and the ongoing electoral campaign in Poland.”
Polish media have reported that bribes were involved in allowing more than 250,000 citizens of African and Asian countries to work in Poland over the past two-and-a-half years. The Foreign Ministry in Warsaw has disputed the numbers and said it’s investigating only 268 visa requests.
Read more: Poland Downplays Cash-For-Visa Scandal in Diplomatic Snub to EU
The allegations hit close to home for the the right-wing government, which has used anti-immigrant rhetoric to attract conservative voters ahead of the vote. It has called a referendum on the EU’s migrant relocation plan on the same day as the election. It built a fence on the border with Belarus and has warned the country will be overrun by migrants if the opposition takes power.
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