Last week, Polish President Andrzej Duda gave an interview to the German newspaper “Die Welt” mainly speaking about the German-Polish relations, the refugee problem, the Euro crisis and the Ukraine conflict. The following part summarises the main statements from him:
“Die Welt” begins to ask about Duda’s opinion of the German-Polish relations. He explained that history is important and this should not be forgotten. For him it is even a personal matter because the uncle of his father was killed by the Gestapo. But Duda expressed that his and the polish relations with Germany of today are good in general.
“Die Welt” also addressed the Greek crisis and asked if he shares the displeasure which goes around in Europe. The polish president made clear that it is necessary to help someone when there is a need for it. On the whole he dreams about a Poland which is once more able to help the weak and not to fear the strong. This also counts for the domestic and foreign policy.
The German newspaper broached the subject again and pointed out that the weak are also the refugees. But, according to “Die Welt,” it seems that some Polish politicians and part of the Polish population fear immigration and a Muslim immigration in particular. From Duda’s point of view, it is essential to help people in misery. A European solidarity is the best answer to that. Every state should help as far as it is in its space of possibilities. He additionally mentioned that Poland already faces thousands of refugees from Ukraine and without a solution to solve the problems in such countries of origin the refugee problem will further increase. In fact, Europe must fight against human traffickers and it should do efficient development aid in the poorest countries.
Concerning Europe “Die Welt” also asked the president about his views on the EU’s weaknesses and strengths. Without doubt, the EU and the NATO are two of the greatest successes since 1989 according Duda. But European integration went too far in some aspects. Integration is important – for instance, the freedom of travel – but he is a supporter of a Europe of “Vaterländer.” One of the disappointments of European integration is the energy policy. There are so many restrictions for the use of coal because of CO2 emissions. But in fact, there should be investments to improve technologies to use coal so that Europe could economically be more competitive in the energy sector worldwide.
The Euro was also a point of discussion. The polish president maintained that Poland should not join the Eurozone. The crisis has not finished yet and the Polish standard of living is not on a European average. Therefore Poland is not ready for the Euro. But if Poland will be so far there would be a referendum he said.
Another important question which “Die Welt” finally asked was related to the Ukraine conflict. Duda expressed his conception of a stronger NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In this case, he also wants to get support from Germany. A strong NATO in the CEE region creates a real “Bündnisgarantie.” Poland does not have to fear Russia when this NATO guarantee is taken for serious. But this is not enough. There is also a need to find a peaceful solution for Ukraine. The rules of Minsk will end by the end of this year but the conflict goes on. Consequently a new peace settlement must be implemented and Poland should be part of this process. But by then sanctions are also a key to face Russian aggression. Yet Duda regrets that Europe does not speak with one voice in this discussion.