MAKE a big splash and you will get wet. Poland's foreign minister Radek Sikorski (disclosure: a friend of this piece's main author) attracted favourable headlines with a speech in Berlin on Monday evening, in which he demanded (his word) that Germany take the lead in solving the euro crisis.
In return for a hands-off approach by the European Union on matters of culture and tradition, he offered Polish support for, in effect, a German-led federal Europe. Our
on the speech has attracted 400-plus comments in 24 hours and was the best-read piece on
's website yesterday.
What of reaction elsewhere? Readers may be surprised to hear that Poland's main opposition parties think Mr Sikorski's stance is tantamount to treason. He faces a no-confidence vote in parliament, and the main opposition leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, wants him
for breaking his constitutional oath: a federal Europe, he
[link in Polish], would bring Poland back to the colonial status it suffered before 1989. Joachim Brudziński, an MP from Mr Kaczyński's party,
Mr Sikorski was advocating a "Fourth Reich and German hegemony".
Other Polish politicians, including the leftist opposition SLD as well as Mr Sikorski's party colleagues and coalition allies, have been broadly supportive. Some commentators, such as
Piotr Gursztyn in
, noted that Mr Sikorski has yet to make his official foreign-policy speech to the Polish parliament; was he speaking in a personal capacity in Berlin, or with the full backing of the government?
Press reaction in Germany was more muted. The heavyweight
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
said Angela Merkel had praised Mr Sikorski's suggestions. The main news agency DPA appears not to have covered the speech at all, but
(which sponsored the event at which Mr Sikorski spoke) carried
(German-speaking readers may find the comments interesting).