Germany wants better relations with Poland

25th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 June 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Germany is looking to improve relations with Poland following the row over voting rights at the EU summit in Brussels, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday. Steinmeier said skill and patience were needed to find a solution to the Polish demands at the talks and that negotiators were not provoked by the "irritating arguments" put forward by Warsaw. Germany and Poland "are linked by a terrible period of history in the 20th century," Steinmeier said in reference to

25 June 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Germany is looking to improve relations with Poland following the row over voting rights at the EU summit in Brussels, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday.

Steinmeier said skill and patience were needed to find a solution to the Polish demands at the talks and that negotiators were not provoked by the "irritating arguments" put forward by Warsaw.

Germany and Poland "are linked by a terrible period of history in the 20th century," Steinmeier said in reference to German atrocities committed against its neighbour during World War II.

"That gives us a mandate to patiently seek talks with Poland, especially in times that appear difficult," the foreign minister told Germany's ARD television network.

During the marathon talks in Brussels, Poland's governing Kaczynski twins tried to stave off a new voting system based on population by citing Poland's wartime losses.

Claims by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski that German atrocities during the war were to blame for the current level of the Polish population provoked outrage among summit leaders.

Kaczynski charged that Poland's population would be 66 million, against the actual 38 million, but for the devastation and death caused by the invasion by Germany under Adolf Hitler in September 1939.

Steinmeier admitted that tempers were frayed at the gathering, which agreed on a reform treaty to replace the constitution buried by French and Dutch voters two years ago.

Poland and Britain were the main stumbling blocks to the new treaty, which is due to come into force in 2009 and streamline the operations of the EU and make in more effective.

While British reservations were resolved early on, Poland only dropped its opposition after far-reaching concessions were made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Poland objected to a new voting system which it said would have weakened its clout in the decision-making process at the expense of bigger states like Germany.

Steinmeier said the compromises found with both Poland and Britain sent out "an important signal" that would "cement the European idea" in the bloc's 27 member states.

The new treaty provides for an EU president, a high representative in charge of foreign affairs and a double majority voting system that needs approval of 55 per cent of the member states representing 65 per cent of the population.

However, the voting system will not come into place until 2017 - eight years after the treaty takes effect.

DPA

Subject: German news

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