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Poland ‘ready’ to demand WWII reparations from Germany: PM

Prime Minister Beata Szydlo

Warsaw, Poland | AFP | Poland’s rightwing premier Thursday said she believed her country had the right to demand World War II reparations from Germany but added that her government was still mulling its official position.

“The position of the Polish government on war reparations will be officially expressed when a political decision is taken,” Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told the commercial radio station RMF FM .

“In my opinion, Poland has the right to this (reparations) and the Polish state has the right to ask for them,” Szydlo said.

“We are ready to go ahead with this procedure,” she said.

The government disputes the validity of a 1953 resolution by Warsaw’s then communist authorities, who dropped claims against Germany. The deal was made under the diktat of the Soviet Union, the government argues.

Szydlo said Wednesday that Warsaw was “proposing dialogue” with Berlin about war reparations.

Her foreign and interior ministers have previously said EU and NATO neighbours Poland and Germany should hold “serious talks” about reparations, adding that the figure could be as high as one trillion dollars.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, has accused Germany of shirking responsibility for the damage it inflicted on his country.

Six million Polish citizens, including around three million of Jewish origin, were killed under Nazi occupation between 1939-45. The capital Warsaw was virtually razed.

According to a survey by the independent Ibris pollsters published late last month, 51 percent of Poles oppose any reparations claims against Germany, while 24 percent believe claims ought to be made.

The talk of reparations comes as the PiS government faces heavy fire both at home and abroad since taking office in 2015 for a slew of reforms that critics say erode democratic standards and the rule of law.

French President Emmanuel Macron said last month that Poland was going “against European interests”, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Poland a “serious issue”.

The EU launched legal action in July against the government over reforms that it fears will limit judicial independence.

2 comments

  1. This is a truly bizarre take from Poland, and one that will lose it a lot of credibility and even friendship within the EU (except for the other extremists in Britain). Poland’s current success as a Nation has been built on funding received from the EU – with Germany as the major contributor.
    Poland like Hungary clamoured to join the EU and now like Britain wants to break it down. Poland has 900,000 Polish expats in Britain, a figure far, far higher than any other EU country (the next highest is Ireland with some 35,000 according to recent figures). It is not unlikely that this number was part of the anti-EU vote in Britain.
    Will Britain hold onto his number of Poles? Who knows, but Brexit seems to make it unlikely.
    Then what will Poland do with the returnees? Probably play the EU card again for more funding?
    Poland (and Hungary) needs to make up its mind as to whether it really IS part of Europe or not. Hacking away at the foundations is not the way to behave. THere are still mny other countries who want to be part of the EU and what it stands for. Those who do not should leave, and the EU should have a system whereby this can be done easier and less disruptively than Brexit.
    Poland and Hungary should be free to rejoin the Russian Federation as they seemingly wish to do. I am sure President Putin would welcome them back.
    The worst mistakes the EU made was a) allowing Britain Membership (deGaulle was right about that!), and b) accepting too many ex-Soviet States to join too quickly.

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