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History: Anniversary of Poland’s EU accession – “Magnificent hour for Europe”

History: Anniversary of Poland’s EU accession – “Magnificent hour for Europe”

Germany and Poland are close neighbors. The relationship was sometimes tense. Now 20 years of Poland’s accession to the EU are being celebrated. Where are there still construction sites?

The Federal Government’s Commissioner for Poland, Dietmar Nietan, described Poland’s accession to the EU 20 years ago as a “great moment for Europe”. “With Poland’s accession to the EU, what the Iron Curtain had artificially separated has grown together again. Poland has returned to the heart of Europe,” Nietan told the German Press Agency.

This is thanks to the Poles themselves. The foreign ministers of Germany and Poland, Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and Radosław Sikorski, want to mark the 20th anniversary of Poland’s accession to the EU with a celebratory meeting.

Today, in the twin cities of Frankfurt (Oder) and Slubice, Baerbock and Sikorski visit the Collegium Polonicum on the Polish side, take part in a European festival and cross the Oder bridge to Frankfurt (Oder). At the European University Viadrina they want to discuss things with students.

A handshake on the Oder Bridge

Former Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (Greens) and his then counterpart Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz initiated the new era of partnership with a handshake on the Oder Bridge in 2004. Thousands of people cheered them on at the time. The European Union expanded eastward 20 years ago. In addition to Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta and Cyprus joined the EU.

The Poland representative sees 2024 as a year of important decisions in Europe. “Poland has a strong political, economic and military weight in our Europe,” said Nietan. “Together with Poland and France as the Weimar Triangle, we are committed to Ukraine and the security of NATO’s eastern flank. We are returning to a close, friendly and neighborly relationship with our Polish partners.” He called for civil society and the border regions to be linked even more closely.

Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD), who is also taking part in the celebrations, is calling for a greater focus on the eastern EU countries, especially in the West. According to the state government, the ties between Brandenburg and Poland have increased significantly in recent years, but there are also construction sites such as the expansion of the Eastern Railway towards Poland. Under the previous Polish government, there were also tensions over how to deal with fish deaths in the Oder.

Source: Stern

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