The following article concerns Poland’s recent attempts to regain its independence from Western Europe. Its disapproving tone is no surprise, since it was published by Heute.de, a subsidiary of the state broadcaster ZDF. A German contact describes ZDF:
ZDF is one of the two state propaganda-broadcasters we have to pay for every month (€19), everyone equally, whether you watch them or not, even if you don’t have a television. If you don’t pay, you end up in prison, like a friend of ours, who spent more than two months in prison.
The translator includes this note:
The two videos mentioned at the start of the article are a metaphor for the times — some of those standing up to the totalitarianism of the EU and of Islam are also those who may make use of less than democratic methods.
Many thanks to JLH for translating the article:
Poland’s Departure From Old Europe
by Matthias Szczwerbaniewicz, Warsaw
April 6, 2016
[Photo of Foreign Minister Waszczkowski alternates with 2 videos.
First video, titled the Revenge of Western Europe, is captioned: The EU is threatening a lawsuit. The government in Warsaw still refuses to recognize decisions of the (EU) Constitutional Court.
Second video caption: After Polish government plans for a new media law to give the government oversight of all public broadcasters became known, many reacted with dismay.]
Poland’s foreign minister declares the relationships with Berlin and Paris in the framework of the “Weimar Triangle” to be at an end. In its place, Poland is seeking alliances with countries in Eastern Europe. With this step, the new government in Warsaw is demonstrating that it places little importance on a conversational forum with its Western partners.
Poland considers the Weimar Triangle as a forum for cooperation with Germany and France to be “used up”. “The Triangle was important at the time of our entry into the EU” in 2004, said Foreign Minister Witold Waszczkowski to the daily Gazeta Wyborcza. “This format is now exhausted”, he added.
Trilateral Meetings Since 1991
In 1991, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and his French and Polish colleagues Roland Dumas and Krzysztof Skubiszewski agreed on regular trilateral meetings in Weimar. The goal was to introduce Poland and the young East European democracies to Europe and NATO, as well as to develop a consolidated Europe.
In 2006, Poland’s conservative and Europe-skeptic president, Lech Kaczynski, threatened a permanent end to participation in the Weimar Triangle. In point of fact, for a long time the Weimar Triangle had not been a meeting capable of decision-making. Since the EU expansion into the East, it had only been a casual discussion forum.
Revival During the Ukraine Conflict
In January, 2014 there was a dramatic revival of the Weimar Triangle. When the violence in the square in the Ukrainian capital Kiev threatened to escalate, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, and his colleagues Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Laurent Fabius of France met in Kiev. The Weimar Triangle negotiated a political solution to the power struggle in the Ukraine.
What appeared to be a revival of the Weimar Triangle did not lead to a breakthrough in the crisis. The negotiated suggestions of the foreign ministers were only on paper, never enacted. The negotiations for the end of the Ukraine crisis were continued by the so-called Normandy Format, consisting of [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel, [French President] François Hollande, [Ukrainian President] Petro Poroshenko and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.
Poland at first reacted huffily to the fact that there was no seat for it at the negotiations, but nonetheless decided to support its partners in enacting the Minsk Agreement. Last year, the three foreign ministers of Poland, France and Germany met in Breslau to prepare together for the EU summit in Riga on Eastern partnership. At the top of the agenda was the Ukraine conflict and fear of a regional assertion of authority by Russia. It was the Triangle’s third chance for a comeback.
New Regime Plans New Alliances
After the elections and change of government in October, it became clear that the Weimar Triangle might have officially outlived its usefulness. In his foreign policy statement, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczkowski announced that he is planning new alliances “between the seas”. Poland intends to strengthen the position of the countries between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea in Europe and is betting on a close partnership in questions of policy concerning energy and refugees with the partners of the Visegrad Group — Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia and Poland.
The Warsaw government is demonstrating once more with its exit from the trilateral alliance that — in conflict with Europe — it places no value on a discussion forum with Western partners. Old Europe, represented by Germany and France, holds no future for Poland.
|1.||”Old Europe” — pardon me for thinking of this as “Rumsfeld’s Revenge”.|
Hat tip: Andy Bostom.