On Monday (27 April), Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier travelled to Warsaw for German-Polish intergovernmental consultations. Chaired by the heads of government of both countries – Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz – the cabinets agreed to continue to build on the excellent relations between Germany and Poland. The Coordinator of German-Polish Cooperation, Dietmar Woidke, Minister-President of Land Brandenburg, also attended the intergovernmental consultations.
Bilateral and European policy issues and the situation in Ukraine were at the top of the agenda of the 13th intergovernmental consultations. The meeting was also used to prepare the Eastern Partnership Summit, which is taking place in Riga (Latvia) in May. Foreign Minister Steinmeier also met his Polish counterpart Grzegorz Schetyna for bilateral talks at the beginning of the consultations.
The regular meetings of the ministers reflect the close partnership between Germany and Poland. In Europe, Germany only holds consultations as close as these with Weimar Triangle partners Poland and France.
Remembering Władysław Bartoszewski
The ministers also paid their respects to Władysław Bartoszewski, who died last Friday. Bartoszewski had been scheduled to deliver the closing speech at the bilateral consultations. The former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs died on 24 April at the age of 93. In his statement following Bartoszewski’s death, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said that “we have lost both a great European and a great freedom fighter”.
The members of the German Government signed the book of condolences in Warsaw. At the beginning of the day’s talks, the attendees held a minute’s silence in honour of the late Władysław Bartoszewski.
Opening of the Willy-Brandt-Begegnungsschule
Bilateral meetings were also held on the fringes of the intergovernmental consultations. Federal Chancellor Merkel was received by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski in Warsaw for a meeting in the afternoon.
Together with Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Schetyna and Polish Secretary of State Tadeusz Sławecki, Foreign Minister Steinmeier opened the new building of the Willy-Brandt-Begegnungsschule in Warsaw. The school is intended to be a centre for German-Polish dialogue and intercultural understanding. As Poland’s only German school abroad, it gives schoolchildren the opportunity to take the German International Abitur, thereby enabling them to study in both countries. The new building for the school, which opened 35 years ago, was needed on account of steadily growing numbers of pupils. Around 330 pupils from 19 nationalities currently attend the school in the Wilanów district.
Border region as a yardstick of cooperation
The Coordinator of German-Polish Intersocietal and Cross-Border Cooperation, Dietmar Woidke, also attended the intergovernmental consultations in Warsaw. Prior to the consultations, Woidke said that he hoped that the talks would, above all, have a positive impact on bilateral cooperation in the border region, citing the waterways agreement and the German-Polish police agreement as examples. Together with his Polish counterpart, Secretary of State Piotr Stachańczyk, Woidke intends to continue to work to achieve tangible improvements, including in the border regions.