Poland's Foreign Minister said Thursday that recent harsh criticisms of his government's policies by French President were aimed at his "domestic audience" rather than Warsaw.
Macron used a regional tour last week to say Poland is "a country that has decided to go against European interests in many areas", and risks finding itself "on the margins" of the EU in the future.
Witold Waszczykowski said Macron is in "a difficult situation" domestically and under pressure to "deliver right now" as his poll ratings slide.
"He has to create the programme which will be implemented, so I understand that some of his comments are not directly related towards Poland but to the domestic audience," Waszczykowski told reporters after a meeting in Budapest of central and eastern European foreign ministers.
Macron's remarks came as he seeks to overhaul a controversial EU rule that lets firms send temporary workers from low-wage countries like Poland to rich economies without paying the host country's social charges.
Wealthy nations like France, Germany and Austria say the so-called Posted Workers Directive leads to unfair competition and undercuts local workforces.
Macron hopes the rule will be reformed at a Brussels summit on October 19-20. But Poland -- the EU member that benefits most from the regulation -- wants to keep the current rules.
"We will defend our position to the end, because it is a position that is in the interest of Polish workers," Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said last week.
Szydlo called Macron's criticisms "arrogant", but, in a fresh broadside published Thursday in French weekly Le Point, Macron dubbed Warsaw's stance on a range of issues "very worrying" and accused it of "calling into question the rule of law".
That alluded to EU concerns, which Warsaw rejects, over controversial court reforms that Brussels fears will erode judicial independence.
Warsaw insists they are "in line with European standards".
Waszczykowski said the posted workers issue should be "discussed in the framework of experts and not be brought to the political or ideological level.
"I hope that when we move this problem from the political agenda to the technical discussion we can find a compromise solution for the whole EU," he said.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said "our Polish friends can expect solidarity" from Budapest, a staunch ally of Warsaw.