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French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said Poland was isolating itself in Europe and Polish citizens "deserve better" than their government's refusal to seek compromise on European rules on the employment of labour from low-pay nations.
Macron said Warsaw, where a nationalist, eurosceptic government has been in power since 2015, was moving in the opposite direction to Europe on numerous issues and would not be able to determine the path of Europe's future.
"Europe is a region created on the basis of values, a relationship with democracy and public freedoms which Poland is today in conflict with," Macron said on the third leg of a trip to central Europe to win support for his vision of a revamped European Union.
He described Poland's refusal to change its stance on a revision of the bloc's "posted" workers directive, which the French leader says leads to "social dumping and unfair competition", as a mistake.
In a scathing attack that could drag relations between western EU powers and the European Commission in Brussels on the one hand and Poland on the other to a new low, he said Polish people deserved better.
"Poland is not defining Europe's future today and nor will it define the Europe of tomorrow," Macron said at a joint press conference with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in the Black Sea resort city of Varna.
Macron said he wanted Bulgaria - like Poland a former communist state that joined the EU much later than western counterparts - to be at the negotiating table over European integration.
On the hot-button issue of posted worker rules, Radev said the EU needed to balance the concerns of countries in the rich west and the poor east.