Foreign Minister In “Cyclists & Vegetarians” Slur

In a short interview with German tabloid newspaper Bild, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski appeared to give the impression that cyclists and vegetarians have nothing in common with Polish values.

During the interview Waszczykowski took issue with the critical reaction of foreign media to PiS' recent election wins, claiming the Polish Government just want to "heal certain diseases" in the country. The Foreign Minister then elaborated on his point by adding the following:

"The previous government implemented a left-wing concept, as if the world had to move using a Marxist model in only one direction: towards a mixture of cultures and races, a world of cyclists and vegetarians, who only use renewable energy sources and combat all forms of religion. This has nothing in common with traditional Polish values.

This is against what most Poles have at heart: tradition, historical consciousness, love of the country, faith in God and a normal family life run by a man and a woman."

Witold Waszczykowski, Foreign Minister of the Polish Government 

When asked about his words on TVN 24's 'Jeden na jeden' programme, Waszczykowski explained that Bild was more of a light-hearted newspaper and that "you can make jokes". 

Nonetheless, the owners of Wroclaw based vegetarian restaurant Złe Mięso didn't see any humour in the Foreign Minister's comments, encouraging people on their Facebook page to give Waszczykowski "the middle finger salute".

Hours after the story broke, memes such as the one below also appeared online: 

A meme mocking Waszczykowski's comments: "We will rebuild the country after the damage caused by cyclists and vegetarians"

Interestingly, the Foreign Minister's decision to slander cyclists (although he did indicate later it was a joke) during his criticism of liberal politics does seem bizarre given that his own political party (PiS), when preparing their promotional material, proudly printed a picture of winning Presidential candidate Andrzej Duda cycling:

Meanwhile thanks to another interview with Reuters, Witold Waszczykowski made more headlines this weekend. The current Polish Government, maintaining the same stance as the previous administration, have made their opposition to David Cameron's plans to restrict UK social benefits to migrants from other EU states very clear. However, Waszczykowski suggested in his Reuters interview that the Polish Government could soften their opposition to David Cameron's proposals provided NATO beef up their presence in Poland. When asked if there was anything the UK Government could give in return for Poland relinquishing their opposition to the UK's planned EU benefit restrictions, Waszczykowski was quoted as saying:

"Of course. Britain could offer something to Poland in terms of international security.

We still consider ourselves a second-class NATO member-state, because in central Europe … there aren't, aside from a token presence, any significant allied forces or defence installations, which gives the Russians an excuse to play this region"

Witold Waszczykowski, Foreign Minister of the Polish Government 

Nevertheless, after news of the interview went viral, the Polish Government claimed that the Foreign Minister's comments had been taken out of context. On an official statement on the government's website, Waszczykowski stressed that the government were against any form of discrimination regarding the issue of social benefits, and that he was merely talking about a reduction in benefits for all citizens living in the UK. 

Gregor Gowans

The founder and editor of Wroclaw Uncut, Gregor has been running the website since its inception in 2012. A Wroclawian for almost 10 years, Gregor writes on a wide variety of topics including, food & drink, nightlife, local news and politics. He is also a regular guest on Radio Ram's Sunday lunch programme.

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