French President Emmanuel Macron (R) is welcomed by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (L). AFP
“Poland today is not a country that can show Europe the way, it's a country that has decided to go against European interests in many areas,” Macron said at a press conference in the Bulgarian coastal city of Varna.
“The country is placing itself on the margins of Europe's future history,” he added.
His remarks came after Poland reiterated its rejection to Macron's push to overhaul a controversial EU rule that lets firms send temporary workers from low-wage countries to rich economies without paying local social charges.
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern. AFP
The French president embarked on a three-day tour of eastern and central Europe on Wednesday to win support for reforming the so-called Posted Workers Directive at a Brussels summit on October 19-20.
Wealthy nations like France, Germany and Austria say the rule leads to unfair competition on national labour markets and undercuts local workforces.
Backed by Vienna and Berlin, Paris now wants the duration of these job postings to be limited to 12 months, half the period proposed by the European Commission.
But there has been staunch resistence from poorer EU neighbours in the former communist bloc, where most of the cheap labour comes from.
Poland — the EU member that benefits most from the regulation — wants to keep its current rules intact.
“We will defend our position to the end, because it is a position that is in the interest of Polish workers,” Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told reporters in Warsaw on Thursday.
An estimated 500,000 of its nationals are employed by Polish companies in other EU members.
“I think the Polish prime minister has once again made a strategic error,” Macron said on Friday.
“The Polish people deserve better than this. The prime minister will have a tough time explaining why it is good to pay Polish people bad wages in Poland and elsewhere in Europe.”