Katerina Barley, who is also a former German justice minister, made the comments on German radio station DeutschlandFunk last week while commenting on the rule-of-law situation in the two countries. She argued that the EU should put financial pressure on Poland and Hungary to force them to adhere to EU rule-of-law principles, but the expression "starve financially" drew the ire of Polish PiS MPs, who wrote to EP President David Sassoli demanding her dismissal.
Barley said if clear sanctions could not be agreed, the EU budget would be an "effective lever."
"Like Frans Timmermans, she is building her career by sharply attacking Poland and Hungary, she'll remain in the place where she is," Saryusz-Wolski told Polish public television. "She is fixated, very ideologised, it adds to the strong anti-Polish emotions."
The MEP argued that the appropriate response was diplomatic letters and summoning the German ambassador to the Foreign Ministry.
Saryusz-Wolski further asserted that statements like "financially starving Poland and Hungary" are part of an information war.
"This is an information war," he said. "Someone wants to hurt someone else badly, grill, punch, scold, whip, because such a person pushed against the wall is simply more susceptible to negotiations on other important matters, because he is busy defending himself. Two unpopular right-wing members of the community have been singled out, and the concert has begun," Saryusz-Wolski said. (PAP)