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  • #342461

    Anonymous

    [size=18pt]Europe’s Debt Crisis Brings
    Two Former Foes Closer Than Ever
    [/size]

    image
    [size=8pt]Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland, arriving in Brussels on Thursday,
    has been a crucial supporter of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.[/size]

    BERLIN — In the battle over how to save the euro, Germany has plenty
    of leverage but not many friends. Among its staunchest supporters is also one
    of the most surprising, its historic enemy, Poland.

    For all the damage wrought by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, it has brought
    even greater harmony to the fraught and often bloody historical relationship between
    Poland and Germany. In the midst of discord, the former foes find themselves closer
    than ever, perhaps paving the way to a new axis of Paris, Berlin and Warsaw that could
    eventually form the core of a more deeply integrated Europe.

    Poland is a crucial supporting player in the euro drama that is reaching a crossroads with
    the summit meeting Thursday and Friday in Brussels. It represents a scarce
    commodity — a growing economy with enthusiasm for European integration — and even
    plans to eventually join the euro zone.

    “There is no Plan B for Poland other than Europe: stronger Europe, more active Europe,
    economically but also politically,” said Eugeniusz Smolar, a foreign policy expert at the
    Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw.

    Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, supports Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in
    her push for full treaty changes to mandate tighter budget rules and oversight, rather than
    a deal between the countries that use the euro. And in the wheeling and dealing behind the
    scenes to reach agreement in Brussels, Poland has several advantages.

    It has close ties to former Soviet bloc countries as well as northern European countries like
    Sweden that do not use the euro. Poland occupies a special place as the leader among the
    nations that are not in the euro zone but have not officially opted out, and it has voluntarily
    joined the Euro Plus Pact to improve fiscal strength and competitiveness. It even stands to
    displace Britain’s waning influence, depending on how events turn.

    Poland’s enthusiastic support for European integration stands in stark contrast to Britain’s constant
    demands for exceptions, carve-outs and caveats.

    And Poland’s suffering at German and Russian hands, its history of invasion, partition and occupation,
    puts Polish leaders in a unique position to calm rising concerns of German dominance within Europe.

    In an address last week in Berlin, Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, said that the
    greatest threat to Poland’s security was not Russian missiles or the Taliban and that “it’s certainly
    not German tanks.” Instead, Mr. Sikorski said, it was the collapse of the euro zone that offered
    the paramount danger to his country, and he said he demanded that Germany “as Europe’s
    indispensible nation” take responsibility and lead.

    “I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is,” Mr. Sikorski said,
    in a line that has been quoted time and again since, in a speech that has government and foreign
    policy circles in Berlin still buzzing. “I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.”

    Many Polish politicians said that Mr. Sikorski went too far in calling for a federal Europe, offering
    to give up their hard-won sovereignty. And few are clamoring to join the euro quickly, preferring
    to wait until some resolution to the present crisis has been found.

    The greater concern among Poles is being left behind as countries integrate their economies
    more deeply. Mr. Tusk will be pushing for an agreement that involves all 27 members of the
    European Union, said Bartek Nowak, executive director of the Center for International Relations
    in Warsaw. Even if Germany and France lead the way to an agreement among the 17 European
    Union countries that use the euro, Poland may choose to participate.

    “If the 17 decide to improve their economic governance, I think Poland will join voluntarily
    because Poland wants to join the euro zone,” Mr. Nowak said.

    A senior German official told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that Germany and France would
    move ahead with the 17 members of the euro zone rather than the 27 members of the
    European Union, if necessary, to enact reforms that would make fiscal discipline mandatory.
    But the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, singled out Poland as an example
    of a country that had not yet adopted the euro but would be able to take part in the new system.

    The convergence between Poland and Germany is the product of a generation of efforts on
    both sides. The German government made a commitment after the fall of Communism to bring
    its eastern neighbors into the European fold, and that has paid off through the maturation of
    a strong new ally.

    Poland, with 38 million people the largest of the former Soviet bloc states to join the European
    Union, is the only country in the group that has not fallen into recession since the financial crisis
    began. In the third quarter it grew 4.2 percent compared with the year before, making it one of
    the few countries growing at a fast clip in the generally anemic Continent.

    German exports to Poland have more than doubled since the Central European country joined the
    European Union in 2004. Total trade between the two nations reached nearly $89 billion last year.

    All this despite Poland’s having emerged from Soviet domination in a vulnerable position. Its longtime
    enemy, Germany, had ended years of division and was again the most populous country west of Russia.
    Much of western Poland was once German territory, and fears that a resurgent Germany would try to
    reclaim it were commonplace.

    Instead Germany advocated for Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries to be
    brought into Western institutions like NATO and the European Union. This was largely a matter
    of self-interest, pushing the zone of instability away from its borders, but also an act of historic responsibility.

    When Mr. Tusk succeeded Jaroslaw Kaczynski as prime minister in 2007, he put an emphasis
    on repairing ties with European partners. “The Tusk government from the beginning came to
    the conclusion that the key to improving Poland’s position in the European Union lies in Berlin,”
    said Kai-Olaf Lang, an expert on Central and Eastern Europe at the German Institute for
    International and Security Affairs.

    Under Mr. Tusk, Mr. Lang said, Poland has assumed Germany’s former role as the “custodian
    of unity in the European Union.”

    A Polish politician, Jerzy Buzek, serves as the president of the European Parliament. And Poland
    assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union this past summer at a critical juncture.

    Mr. Tusk gave a speech before the European Parliament at that time that, like Mr. Sikorski’s
    recent address in Berlin, attracted significant attention and solidified Poland’s reputation as a
    force for European integration. “I am convinced that the answer to the crisis is more Europe,
    more European integration, and this calls for strong European institutions,” Mr. Tusk said.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/world/europe/debt-crisis-bring-former-foes-poland-and-germany-closer-than-ever.html?pagewanted=all

    Good ties with neighbors is a good thing, especially working on healthy relations with former foes.
    However, the further Poland goes into the EU, thus more multi-culti liberal it is likely to become.
    When it comes to Germany, Poland should emulate Bavaria: A few solid cities and lots of culture
    and arable land being worked for local production.

    #369041

    Anonymous

    Mmm, what can I say? Poland's main problem is always antagonizing its neighbors, so this appears to be a good move. The next step is to get along with Russia…*whistle*

    #369042

    Anonymous

    Sounds like a fair deal,
    become our agricultural slave so you can feed Germany's multicultural horde…    ::)

    #369043

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Mmm, what can I say? Poland's main problem is always antagonizing its neighbors, so this appears to be a good move. The next step is to get along with Russia…*whistle*

    At least Tusk, as much Europhile technocrat that he is, is not conflictive with either Russia or Germany, unlike his idiot predecesors.

    #369044

    Anonymous

    Does anyone today truly feel that their government cares about their peoples problems?

    #369045

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Does anyone today truly feel that their government cares about their peoples problems?

    Not truly, only sort of. They tend to care just enough to make it seem like it is worth re-electing them. And this doesn't always work, but then the ones who do get elected just pursue to same strategy.

    #369046

    Anonymous
    Quote:

    Quote:
    Does anyone today truly feel that their government cares about their peoples problems?

    Not truly, only sort of. They tend to care just enough to make it seem like it is worth re-electing them. And this doesn't always work, but then the ones who do get elected just pursue to same strategy.

    Machiavelli would be proud.

    #369047

    Anonymous

    I dont know much about Polish economy. Isn't Poland low on debt?

    #369048

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    I dont know much about Polish economy. Isn't Poland low on debt?

    Poland's debt is growing year by year. It is the EU's way of ensuring that its members do not bail out. The USSR did the same thing, albeit in a slightly different way. But it is a strategy of creating a series of dependents (from whom money and resources can be sucked out of) for an unseen and unaccountable authority (the European Central Bank in the case of the EU) or for an authority that is impossible to challenge (as was the case of government in Moscow during the USSR era).

    #369049

    Anonymous

    Remember – I posted an article that Poland agreed to send 20 billion to Greece and Italy, so Poland's debt is increasing as fast as everyone else.

    #369050

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Remember – I posted an article that Poland agreed to send 20 billion to Greece and Italy, so Poland's debt is increasing as fast as everyone else.

    That also means that nations will be in debt to Poland. Better to own debt than to owe it.

    #369051

    Anonymous

    The closer Poland and Germany become, the closer the Baltic republics become to the UK and America.

    #369052

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    The closer Poland and Germany become, the closer the Baltic republics become to the UK and America.

    Polish always say that about Russia and Germany when they have closer ties.
    I think this reliance on some big power far away is much less constructive than trying to fix things with immediate neighbours.
    Polish and Lithuanian ties are not so hot right but, but they have no reason to be. We should really be trying to repair relations, but instead only relations one reads about are bad ones. It's actually pathetic.

    #369053

    Anonymous

    Polish always say that about Russia and Germany when they have closer ties.
    I think this reliance on some big power far away is much less constructive than trying to fix things with immediate neighbours.
    Polish and Lithuanian ties are not so hot right but, but they have no reason to be. We should really be trying to repair relations, but instead only relations one reads about are bad ones. It's actually pathetic.

    It is very worrying. To be honest it is in large part Lithuania's fault. I think that the government need to show more will towards improving relations with the Poles. The climate between Warsaw and Vilnius is becoming worrying. Lithuania cannot afford to alienate Europe, especially its bordering countries. Where will it turn if Poland, Germany and Russia are against it? Is this what it has come to? Losing all allies except the United States and hoping for military assistance from Scandinavia in the case of an emergency? The whole thing is ridiculous. Lithuania has a very strange reflex whereby any move by Europe to improve relations with Russia is seen by them as a threat to their own security. This leads to a constantly tense situation with Moscow and will further alienate Lithuania from its European neighbors who may wish to see an improvement in relations. Maybe in twenty years when Europe are on good terms with Russia we will see the Baltic republics staying allies with the United States. This would not at all be an ideal situation.

    #369054

    Anonymous
    Quote:

    Polish always say that about Russia and Germany when they have closer ties.
    I think this reliance on some big power far away is much less constructive than trying to fix things with immediate neighbours.
    Polish and Lithuanian ties are not so hot right but, but they have no reason to be. We should really be trying to repair relations, but instead only relations one reads about are bad ones. It's actually pathetic.

    It is very worrying. To be honest it is in large part Lithuania's fault. I think that the government need to show more will towards improving relations with the Poles. The climate between Warsaw and Vilnius is becoming worrying. Lithuania cannot afford to alienate Europe, especially its bordering countries. Where will it turn if Poland, Germany and Russia are against it? Is this what it has come to? Losing all allies except the United States and hoping for military assistance from Scandinavia in the case of an emergency? The whole thing is ridiculous. Lithuania has a very strange reflex whereby any move by Europe to improve relations with Russia is seen by them as a threat to their own security. This leads to a constantly tense situation with Moscow and will further alienate Lithuania from its European neighbors who may wish to see an improvement in relations. Maybe in twenty years when Europe are on good terms with Russia we will see the Baltic republics staying allies with the United States. This would not at all be an ideal situation.

    Don't worry, Poland will never leave you. Your govenments are still just a little bit mixxed up since you got your independance.

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