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Maas in Poland: breathing a sigh of relief and rolling up our sleeves for the tasks ahead Poland

Trip by Foreign Minister Maas to Poland

Trip by Foreign Minister Maas to Poland, © Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

16.06.2020 - Article

The Foreign Minister is to hold talks in Warsaw today with Jacek Czaputowicz about economic reconstruction, opening the borders and strengthening Europe’s neighbourhood. 

After three painful months with many victims due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe is starting to breathe more easily once again. The border regions were particularly affected by the travel restrictions, including the one between Germany and Poland. Poland reopened its border with Germany on Saturday. Hundreds of people gathered on the city bridge between Frankfurt an der Oder and Slubice at midnight to celebrate the opening of the border. These pictures show the scale of the relief felt on both sides of the border. Germany and Poland were separated by the virus for three months. Today, both countries can breathe a sigh of relief and roll up their sleeves for the tasks ahead.

Together for Europe’s recovery

Today, the two Foreign Ministers want to talk primarily about economic reconstruction in Europe. Maas firmly believes that the way to overcome the crisis in the long term can only be a common European path in a spirit of solidarity and that no country can be left behind. Germany and Poland will also play a crucial role with respect to achieving the goal of economic recovery as well as a European compromise.

Strengthening the EU’s neighbourhood and outlining prospects of accession

Germany believes that European solidarity does not end at the external borders of the EU. Especially in this crisis, it is crucial for the EU to extend a helping hand to its partners in its neighbourhood. This applies to the countries of the Eastern Partnership and is particularly true of the Western Balkans. It is therefore crucial for the EU to continue its enlargement policy in a credible manner, particularly now. During its forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union starting on 1 July, Germany therefore intends to get the negotiating framework and first accession conferences with North Macedonia and Albania under way.

Further funds for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation

Today, Foreign Minister Maas signed a funding agreement to the tune of 60 million euro for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. The German invasion and occupation of Poland brought terrible suffering to the Polish population. Millions of people died a cruel death in the German concentration camps on Polish soil. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is responsible for the preservation and restoration of the memorial.

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