HomeTop StoriesGerman states launch initiative for closer friendship with Poland

German states launch initiative for closer friendship with Poland

Several German states have launched an initiative to forge closer ties between people in Germany and Poland, including by visiting the neighboring country, learning the language and building mutual understanding.

Relations between the German and Polish governments have been tense for years, mainly over the Nord Stream pipeline that brought Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Poland.

Since the conservative nationalist government in Warsaw was voted out at the end of 2023, the two governments have become politically closer again.

About 2 million people with Polish roots live in Germany, while Poland has a recognized German minority of about 300,000 people.

Prime Minister Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig spoke on Friday in the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, in favor of an upgrade of the German-Polish Youth Bureau, similar to the French-German Youth Bureau.

This had contributed much to the reconciliation with France, but had three times as much money as its German-Polish counterpart, Schwesig said. “We need to do more,” she said.

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Together with North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein, the East German states submitted a motion to the Bundesrat to strengthen relations with their eastern neighbor.

This not only concerns youth work, but also, for example, more money for language lessons or an unlimited German-Polish train ticket based on the French-German model.

At the political level, the 1991 German-Polish friendship treaty should be modernized, similar to the French-German Élysée Treaty. New life will be breathed into the Weimar Triangle of cooperation between Germany, France and Poland.

(LR) Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein Daniel Guenther and Minister President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer stand together with Minister President of Thuringia Bodo Ramelow at the start of the meeting of the Bundesrat.  Kay Nietfeld/dpa

(LR) Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein Daniel Guenther and Minister President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer stand together with Minister President of Thuringia Bodo Ramelow at the start of the meeting of the Bundesrat. Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig and Prime Minister of Hesse Boris Rhein stand together at the start of the meeting of the Bundesrat.  Kay Nietfeld/dpaPrime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig and Prime Minister of Hesse Boris Rhein stand together at the start of the meeting of the Bundesrat.  Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig and Prime Minister of Hesse Boris Rhein stand together at the start of the meeting of the Bundesrat. Kay Nietfeld/dpa

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