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Poland's deputy FM calls for rebuilding ties with Germany, addresses war reparations

08.01.2024 13:15
The relations between Poland and Germany need to be repaired, and the issue of war reparations should be addressed, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna told public broadcaster Polish Radio in an interview on Monday.
Andrzej Szejna.
Andrzej Szejna.Photo: Przemysław Chmielewski/Polskie Radio

"Of course," Szejna replied when asked if the relationship with Germany needed to be rebuilt. He highlighted the necessity of resolving various diplomatic issues, including high-level talks, and criticized the reduction of the relationship to "some, one might say, slap on the part of Poland at Germany and some intra-political interests of the ruling party."

Szejna argued that it's unwise to dispute with a country with which Poland has strong business ties. "And it is with someone with whom [business] can be done on many issues: for example, Ukraine, a common front in bilateral cooperation or the Weimar Triangle, because migration issues, or the migration pact, on various levels are in the interests of very many countries," he added.

He pointed to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's stance on the migration pact as an example of a leader recognizing her country's interests. Szejna suggested Poland should also seek additional resources and support from Germany, particularly in strengthening borders and defense within NATO, considering the costs Poland incurs for supporting Ukraine.

Regarding the contentious issue of war reparations, Szejna believes it should not be set aside in rebuilding Polish-German relations. "I believe that the issue of reparations, with all awareness of the legal complexity of this topic and knowing the position of Germany, should be raised," he stated. He advocated for a diplomatic approach, coupled with pressure and a firm stance, while advising against discussing the details in media settings.

A report on Poland's losses during World War II due to German aggression and occupation was presented on September 1, 2022. Subsequently, on October 3, 2022, the then-Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau signed a diplomatic note to Germany demanding compensation for tangible and intangible losses amounting to PLN 6 trillion 220 billion 609 million. However, the German government maintains that the issue of reparations remains closed and has no intention of negotiating on the matter.

Source: PAP