Germany and Poland enjoy close neighbourly relations based on their joint membership of NATO (since 1998) and the European Union (since 2004). Historical links, brisk trade, cross-border civil-society activities, youth exchanges, numerous partnerships between municipalities and regions as well as a dense network of cooperation in the border region form a stable foundation for our relations.
The office of Coordinator of German-Polish Intersocietal and Cross-Border Cooperation was established in 2004 with a view to strengthening the good-neighbourly ties between the two countries.
Dietmar Nietan was appointed on 9 March 2022. His predecessors in office were Professor Gesine Schwan (2004‑2009) and former Minister of State Cornelia Pieper (2009‑2013) and Dietmar Woidke (2014-2022).
Since entering the German Bundestag in 1998, Dietmar Nietan has been closely involved in German-Polish relations in various capacities, including 12 years as Chair of the Federal Association of the German-Polish Society.
Dietmar Nietan issued the following statement in October 2023, halfway through his term of office as Coordinator:
The memory of the crimes committed by Germans in Poland during the Second World War gives us Germans cause, even today, to live up to the responsibility towards Poland that stems from those deeds. Moreover, we Germans will never forget the courageous stance taken by people in Poland for justice and freedom, a stance which made possible the fall of the Iron Curtain and German reunification. That is why I have so far celebrated every 3 October with our Polish friends – for it is our shared day!
Both then and now, it is the wide range of links between our civil societies and our interaction across the border which form a strong and rich foundation of partnership with Poland. As Coordinator of German-Polish Intersocietal and Cross-Border Cooperation, I consider it one of my key tasks to further stabilise these key bridges and strengthen mutual understanding and trust.
I am glad that we have been able, in the past months, to make further progress on important civil-society projects.
With the establishment of the German-Polish House, we will create a place of remembrance for the Polish victims of German crimes in Poland. This place of remembrance will also be a venue for encounters, through which we Germans in particular will be able to fill the gaps in our knowledge about German-Polish history and so add greater depth to our partnership with the largest neighbour on our eastern border.
We also want to promote the Polish language in Germany. As a first step to this end, the German Bundestag has made available five million euro for extracurricular Polish lessons for people of Polish descent. The first courses will start this year!
Looking to the future, I will continue to do my utmost to ensure that Germany and Poland work well together to shoulder their responsibilities in the EU. Having regard in particular to EU eastern enlargement and the continuing Russian war against Ukraine, we must improve and expand our cooperation yet further in many areas, including security policy and energy policy.