prime minister travels to Brussels on Wednesday on his first
official foreign visit, aimed at improving ties with the
European Union that have been strained by Warsaw's
stance on issues such as gay rights and the death
penalty. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the identical twin brother of
President Lech Kaczynski, chose Brussels for his first
foreign trip to underline the importance he places on
ties with the bloc as Warsaw struggles with an image
problem in Western Europe, Foreign Minister Anna
Fotyga said Tuesday.
"I admit that
there are some very serious aspects to Poland's
negative image," Fotyga told foreign correspondents.
Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski have made no secret of
their strong opposition to gay rights in Poland.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski would meet with European Commission
president Jose Manuel Barroso, E.U. foreign policy chief
Javier Solana, and European Parliament president Josep
Borrell during the one-day trip. The goal is for them
"to get to know each other and to add a personal touch
to policy," Fotyga said.
She added that
she did not expect any immediate breakthrough on the
E.U.'s stalled constitution or any other "institutional
changes," noting that the bloc is "still in a period
A string of
contentious issues has emerged between Brussels and Warsaw
since the Kaczynskis' conservative Law and Justice Party won
parliamentary elections last fall. Lech Kaczynski won the
presidency weeks later. His governing coalition
includes populists and ultraconservative Catholics
whose worldview often stands in marked contrast to the
mainstream in Western Europe.
of the right-wing League of Polish Families, a junior
party, have spoken out against homosexuality. A recent
European parliament resolution warned of rising
intolerance in Poland. (AP)