Foreign Minister Baerbock in Poland: “Deep friendship” and demands

Status: 10.12.2021 2:36 p.m.

During her first visit, Foreign Minister Baerbock asked Poland to allow aid for the refugees on the border with Belarus. In the dispute with the EU, she relies on dialogue – and emphasized the German-Polish friendship.

The new German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is relying on a joint negotiated solution in the legal dispute with Poland. If the discrepancies are very large, as on this issue, “it is all the more important to be in intensive discussions on these issues,” said the Green politician after a meeting with her Polish colleague Zbigniew Rau at a joint press conference in Warsaw.

In the EU there has been a dispute with the governments of Hungary and Poland for years because, as evidenced by a number of court rulings, they do not comply with EU law. The EU Commission has opened infringement proceedings against the government in Warsaw because of the reforms of the judicial system.

Annalena Baerbock’s visit to Poland: many challenges for the new foreign minister

Olaf Bock, ARD Warsaw, morning magazine, December 10th, 2021

Baerbock admitted that there were major “discrepancies” here, which should, however, be resolved in conversation. Rau added that “a strategic, patient dialogue” is needed on the rule of law.

At the beginning of her series of inaugural trips to Paris, Brussels and Warsaw, Baerbock had insisted on observing the rule of law and announced that she would not mince words during her visit to Warsaw and would also address critical questions.

Call for help for refugees

Baerbock called on Poland to allow humanitarian aid for migrants in the region on the border with Belarus. Germany stands with full responsibility and solidarity on the side of Poland and the Baltic states in the face of the blackmail maneuver of the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. “But we must also, I would like to make it clear, that in view of the freezing temperatures in the border area, humanitarian aid is available on both sides of the border.”

The people who fell victim to this cynical game were not to blame for the situation and needed help, Baerbock said.

Commitment to German-Polish friendship

Baerbock also made an emphatic commitment to German-Polish friendship. This friendship is “deep” and “priceless” within the EU and “anything but self-evident” in view of the immeasurable Polish casualties during the war and the occupation.

Baerbock referred to the “never-ending responsibility of Germany”. The Foreign Minister emphasized that she wanted to “honestly cultivate this friendship in peace.” She wanted to express this by laying the wreath at the grave of the unknown soldier.

Rau renews demand for reparations

Rau reiterated the demand from the Polish government for reparations for the damage caused by World War II. “We expect the new German government to be willing to face this responsibility,” said Rau and called for discussions about reparations.

This concerns, for example, compensation for Polish cultural monuments, works of art, archives and libraries that were not destroyed by acts of war, “but rather as a result of the occupying power’s efforts to eradicate them from human heritage,” said Rau.

At the beginning of her inaugural visit to Warsaw, Baerbock was received by the Polish President Andrzej Duda.

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