The meeting between Lech Kaczynski; Angela Merkel, the German chancellor; and the French president, Jacques Chirac, was to be on Monday in the German city of Weimar but was postponed the day before - officially because the Polish president was ill.

Bronislaw Komorowski, deputy president of the business-friendly Civic Platform (PO), Poland's biggest opposition party, said: "We have lost the opportunity to communicate to the biggest countries in Europe and the world our opinion on the big debate concerning energy security."
 
Donald Tusk, the PO's president, voiced concern over media speculation that Kaczynski had conveniently fallen ill to avoid taking  part in the summit because the head of state was offended at an article satirising him in the German left-wing Tageszeitung daily.

"If it's true that this odious text was behind the meeting being postponed, that would be dramatic," Tusk said.

"Imagine how easy it would then be to push Poland towards total isolation. It would be enough to write an odious article about the president.

Satirical report

"We can't base our foreign policy on emotions and complexes."

A senior official in Kaczynski's office denied that the report was the real reason for the three-nation summit being cancelled.

But the Polish government has created a stink over the article, demanding that Germany's leaders condemn Tageszeitung.

On Wednesday, the German government distanced itself from the satirical report, saying ties between Berlin and Warsaw remained "marked by trust".

A German government spokesman stopped short of criticising Tageszeitung, saying: "The German government does not make public its views of publications that criticise the heads of state of other countries."