Skip to comments.Freundschaft? (Polish-German relations)
Posted on 03/08/2006 12:34:53 PM PST by lizol
As Polish president Lech Kaczynski starts a visit to Germany, a number of question marks remain over the future of the two countries relations. In the past couple of years they have been marred by disagreements over a planned center commemorating Germans expelled from Eastern Europe and, more recently, over a planned gas pipeline to link Germany with Russia bypassing Poland.
Report by Rafal Kiepuszewski
When conservative politician Lech Kaczynski was elected Polands new president last October, a number of Poles wondered about what course his foreign policy line would take. During his presidential campaign, Kaczynski came to be known as a eurosceptic, who perhaps cared more about history than present pragmatic relations. On a number of occasions, he targeted Germany, criticizing its plans to commemorate war expellees from Eastern Europe. In the past five months Kaczynski has paid several key foreign visits: to the US, France and Polands key ally in the East, Ukraine, thus defining the countrys main foreign policy objectives. But unlike his predecessor, the soft-spoken left wing politician Aleksander Kwasniewski, the new Polish president appears to be fond of tough talking. Observers say its his way of showing Europe and the world that Poland is a strategically placed nation of forty million people, which has a mind of its own. Shortly before his visit to Germany, Kaczynski criticised Berlin and Moscow for their plans to build a natural gas pipeline along the Baltic Sea bed, thus skirting Poland and the Baltic states.
I think the point is not to agree with all new ideas advanced by our European allies, but to openly say that we have a completely different point of view. The case of the planned gas pipeline from Russia that would bypass Poland is one such issue.
But Polish observers are stressing that when Kaczynski makes a strong point concerning foreign policy, he also addresses his nationalist voters at home. The present Polish minority government, led by a conservative party, whose chairman is the presidents own twin brother Jaroslaw, has made several attempts to call early elections. According to analysts, foreign policy issues, such as the Baltic gas pipeline, have become a domestic bargaining point in the neverending pre-election campaign, with the nationalists emphasizing that the pipeline would endanger Polands national interests in terms of energy security. Joachim Ciecierski of Radio Polonias German service believes that Lech Kaczynski is treading a fine line between domestic politics and foreign policy.
When Lech Kaczynski was the mayor of Warsaw, he calculated how much Germany owed Poland for the damage caused to the city during World War II. During his presidential campaign, Kaczynski took a harsh stance on Polands relations with Germany. However, upon his election, he expressed the hope that upon his election the relations would improve within a year. We have to remember that Germany is our top trading partner, that it is the most important European Union member for Poland. I hope he will manage to get along with Angela Merkel, that the gas pipeline wont be an obstacle. And to be honest, it wont be easy to repair his image.
According to commentators, one reason for the many misunderstandings between Polish and German politicians is that when Lech Kaczynski he thinks of Germany, he is preoccupied with just one German state. Joachim Ciecierski again.
Kaczynski thinks that the state of Bavaria is an ideal state, because its a Christian land, and it has a strong government. But Bavaria is not so well accepted in the whole of Germany. And Kaczynski seems to confuse Bavaria with Germany.
Observers say that contrary to predictions, during a recent visit to the US Lech Kaczynski did manage to break ice with Americas Jewish organizations, which had been concerned by his earlier nationalist remarks. There are also signs that following a frosty start, Warsaws relations with Moscow might be on the mend, as Kaczynski seems ready to seek compromise, instead of dwelling on the past. It will be interesting to see what progress the new Polish president can make in improving relations with Germany. As one Polish commentator put it recently, Warsaw should try to do more to win its European friends over to its side, only thus could it succeed in pursuing its foreign policy ambitions.
Is that a German porno? English translation - Fraud Shaft?
I know about Schadenfreude. Is this anything like that?
Thanks for the ping.
Lets hope that relations between Germany and Poland will get better,now that Germany has a new Bundeskanzler.
Nope the translation is wrong.
....." during a recent visit to the US Lech Kaczynski did manage to break ice with Americas Jewish organizations, which had been concerned by his earlier nationalist remarks"
Now we have American Jews dictating whether or not a Polish President can be for Poland? or patriotic, or what?
The American Jews intend to rule in other nations? Or just Poland.
Perhaps THEY (as Dem voters) are why Bush gave him crumbs while giving Foxes children Gold Cards.
That's my opinion too.
Frau Merkel seems to be a very reasonable person.
Sometimes it makes a difference who or what party is in charge.
She has a lot of wrongs to right,that her predecessor inflicted on the country and the relations between other countries.JMO.
Hoping for the best.
Poland would do well to remember never to trust the damn Germans or the damn Russians. Can't turn your back on either of them.
Anyway there are many things for Poland left to do. I read Kaczynski's remarks in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and in der Spiegel, that showed that he seems to be trapped in the difficult history between our countries. Furthermore his stance on the future development of Europe is something that Merkel for sure will not support. In fact the standpoints seem to be diametrically opposed.
Chriac and Merkel and the franco-allmand political establishment already agreed on a revival of their constitution in a slightly changed form. They want to restart the whole thing in 2007. That is what informed politicians (I know a few...hehe) and parts of the press in Germany are saying. Therefore it is doubtful that Kaczynski's loud verbalism helps him to open the doors in western Europe. Maybe it would have been helpful if he would defend his point of view a littlebit more silent in a personal discussion with Merkel first before blowing it into the loudspeakers of all press conferences he could find between Warsaw and Berlin. This is the easiest way to push Poland on a back seat again.
It is for sure that Merkel wants to have the Poles in the boat. Otherwise she would not have visited Poland just after her inauguration. But... ...she will not pay every price for it. Therefore it would be helpful if Poland could find out if it wants to join the European train or not. To join means to make some compromises. We (the Germans and the French) will take and already have taken compromises too.
A good example is the current discussion over a "Energy-NATO". This is a good suggestion to me since it makes sense. Smaller nations like the Balts and even bigger ones -like Poland- need our help here. Nevertheless it could be our advantage too, if a broader purchase of energy is going to lead to falling prices. A real "win-win" situation. Nevertheless it would be helpful if this proposal could be launched intelligent into the German political system. In the moment the is the impression on the German side, that the Poles want to press us to stop the cooperation with the Russians. This will not work. Pacta sunt servanda. No matter if we like it or not. Germany can not break its word with the Russians but we can invest money to build new infrastructure with Poland to be independent from Russia and others. Maybe you will not get everything but enough to live good with it.
More cautious and discreet acting would help to integrate Kaczynski into the inner circle of European leaders.
Besides - I am not saying this to teach Poland and Poles but to help since I am a real friend of your country.
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