Berlin seeks dialogue with Warsaw


The relations between Germany and Poland are cooled. Now the Federal President, Steinmeier visited the uncomfortable neighbors – and tries to find the literature a new access to him.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s predecessor as German President, Joachim Gauck, had visited Poland in the year 2012 as the first country in his term of office. For Steinmeier and Poland’s goals five years later, even among the first seven Visit. Only two months after taking office the Federal President travels on Friday to Warsaw, where the right-wing populist Kaczyński-law and justice party (PiS) the state President and the government. During Gauck’s visit five years ago, the commencement of the liberals (civic platform) of the current EU-ruled-President of the Council Donald Tusk and President Bronisław Komorowski, a declared Europe was a friend.

Cooled Neighborhood

In the meantime, have shifted the political balance of power in Poland is enormous. Liberal forces are marginalized in Parliament. Germany’s neighbor to the East is ruled de facto by PiS party leader Kaczyński, who makes no secret of his skepticism of Brussels and Berlin. President Andrzej Duda and head of government Beata Szydło dance whistle after Kaczyński. Also, the PiS sets the internal politics of a clear foreign policy.

To little own profile: Poland President Andrzej Duda

Since the change of power in Poland the ratio of cooled to its neighbouring countries, especially to Germany. The rightwing Kaczynski attracts again and again the anti-German card, in order to score points domestically. Berlin has therefore invested since the coming to power of the PiS to the departure in the autumn of 2015 a lot of in preceded de-escalation. German government politicians hold back in Public with the criticism of Poland’s relationship to the rule of law, media and freedom of Assembly, but also the extremely restrictive refugee policy. This also kept travel Steinmeier at its Poles as Minister of foreign Affairs. Behind closed doors, however, it is quite clear, say diplomats.

Clear Signals

Also, the late date for the commencement of the visit, Steinmeier may be interpreted as a clear Signal to Poland Under the Kaczyński, the country has lost massive influence in the EU. For Steinmeier, Poland, comes to Greece and Palestine. Left Berlin does not want to let the neighbors yet. To important is it for Berlin, to get as soon as possible, many of the EU Partner for the difficult Brexit negotiations in a common boat. Similarly, Poland can play as a country with almost 40 million inhabitants, an important role in the Emanuel Macron and Angela Merkel initiated discussions about the future of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU.

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Berlin is looking for so desperately a new dialog window with Warsaw and tried all of the inconsistencies, Despite, calls, and visits, not tear down. This is also why the Warsaw book fair, in Germany this year, the guest country was, as an ideal occasion for such a late visit to the new Federal President, the commencement of the deal. It is hoped to maintain common values, at least about the culture. Political problems should not come at the Meeting between the President, Steinmeier and Duda.

Questions to the neighbors

For positive pulses, the Polish President’s wife. Agata Duda-grain-houses engaged for many years as a teacher of German in the bilateral student exchange. The one wishes, because the policy slowdown affected the mood in the society – that shows a just-released study by the Polish Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw.

Although 64 percent of respondents in Poland will appreciate, therefore, still have the neighborly relationship as good or very good (in 2000 there were still 77 percent), but at the same time, Ensure the common future of climbing. Only 31 per cent believe that a strong Germany was good for Poland. And only every second person thinks that Berlin had a positive influence on the European Integration and the Euro crisis. More and more people show up confused and answers, recently, with “I don’t know” – a consequence of the growing anti-German mood, conclude the authors of the study. “Should a rise in anti-German rhetoric can tend to the Undecided soon-to-negative responses,” says Agnieszka Music, author of the study.

Between perplexity and charm Offensive

The disturbing Trends could be on the sidelines of the meeting, a topic of conversation. But if it goes according to Plan, want to devote Steinmeier and Duda during the one-hour meeting in Warsaw, the presidential Palace, in the first line of the new situation in the EU after the victory of the pro-European centre forces in the Netherlands and in France, and political-security issues such as Syria, the Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia.

Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the strong man of Poland, and does not hide his scepticism towards Brussels and Berlin

In the Latter case, there are quite a Match. Duda has – at least according to the Constitution – in security and foreign policy say a word. In the political reality he has been far more than willing executor of Kaczyński. And of clear domestic political interests.

Last Duda but also a personal initiative: a Referendum on a constitutional amendment. However it is still unclear whether this means at the end of a successful emancipation attempt by the young President is, or whether it only uses Kaczyński’s political objectives.