Opposition slams Poland's president for anti-EU speech

Georgette Mosbacher, right, shakes hand with Polish President Andrzej Duda during a ceremony receiving her credentials as new United States ambassador

Georgette Mosbacher, right, shakes hand with Polish President Andrzej Duda during a ceremony receiving her credentials as new United States ambassador

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Opposition leaders in Poland have voiced outrage at President Andrzej Duda's attack on the European Union, saying it hurts Poland's reputation abroad and rejects the teaching of Poland's top authority, the late pope St. John Paul II.

Duda, an ally of Poland's ruling right-wing party, spoke to the local community in Lezajsk, in the southeast, just weeks before key local elections next month.

His comments that the EU is "some imaginary community" with little consequence to Poland echoed the criticism of the bloc that the Law and Justice party has voiced.

Chief opposition leader Grzegorz Schetyna said Wednesday Duda did not understand the damage such words do to Poland.

Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, of the Peasant Party, said Duda, a devout Catholic, spoke against the Polish-born pope's support for Poland's EU membership.