The Conservative Polish government continues to make enemies all over ‘the old world‘.
It emerged a few days ago that the administration of President Andrzej Sebastian Duda had instructed a legal expert to see if there were grounds on the basis of the legal European treaties to ask Germany for damages sustained in World War II.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), which holds a comfortable majority in parliament, revived the dormant reparations issue over the summer already, to the great discontent of Germany’s Angela Merkel.
As the Polish government is also seriously getting under the EU’s skin and Brussels threatens Warsaw with unprecedented sanctions for its rule-of-law lapses following steps to give politicians more control over the judiciary, the timing of this request could not be more disturbing.
Polish Minister Witold Waszczykowski last week said that Germany needs to take into account “the current political context.”
And the panel of Polish legal experts will be no help to the EU either. They came back with their answer yesterday, telling the Polish government that they could indeed ask for money from Germany: “the body of international law, as well as Germany’s postwar policies in regard to reparations, including the discrimination of Poland and Polish citizens relative other countries that sustained smaller material and human losses but gained much higher damages, support Poland’s claims to gain wartime damages from Germany.”
Although it stresses that given the German elections are only two weeks away, the timing for this news could not be more damaging, Germany did find the time to post a diplomatic reply.
The spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Steffen Seibert said: ”Germany has already paid in war reparations on an enormous scale, including Poland, and continues to do so. In the German government’s view, there is no reason to doubt the validity under international law of the act of declining reparations 1953. Therefore this question is in our view resolved both legally and politically.”
Also, the President of France, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, has weighed in on the issue. He made it understood that Poland is heading toward “marginalization in the EU”.