Optimism Surfaces in Europe as Polish Opposition's Victory Signals Change

16.10.2023 posted by Admin

European Optimism: Polish Opposition's Impact

European politicians celebrated the projected victory of Polish opposition forces on Sunday, especially in Germany, which has often been a target of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party.

Terry Reintke, a German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and co-leader of the Greens in the European Parliament, expressed optimism about Poland's future role in Europe with the change in government. She stated, "I expect that Poland will become a constructive partner and that the change in government will strengthen its standing in Europe. Poland is an extremely relevant democracy for Europe."

In recent years, German-Polish relations have faced challenges due to demands from the Law and Justice party leaders, insisting that Germany pay over €1 trillion in war reparations.

During the party's election campaign, anti-German sentiment was stoked, including accusations that Donald Tusk, the leader of the opposition Civic Coalition and likely the next prime minister, was a "German agent."

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock attempted to mend relations last year by visiting Warsaw on Germany's national day as a sign of respect for an important ally and neighbor. However, Poland's leadership responded by presenting her with a bill for war crimes.

Given this history of tension, German politicians from various parties called on their government to seize the moment and redefine their relationship with Poland. Social Democratic MP Metin Hakverdi, a member of the German parliament's EU committee, suggested that Germany should initiate efforts to revive bilateral relations in the event of a change in government, focusing on strengthening security cooperation, especially within the NATO framework.

Katja Leikert, a member of the German parliament affiliated with the center-right Christian Democrats, emphasized that the election results bring hope to Europe. She highlighted the significance of having a pro-democratic and pro-European government in Warsaw, particularly in times of crisis.

Rolf Nikel, who endured years of anti-German posturing as Germany's ambassador to Warsaw, was even more enthusiastic about the election outcome, referring to it as "spring in the middle of October."

This sentiment extended to Brussels, where opposition leader Donald Tusk is well-known for his tenure as president of the European Council from 2014 to 2019. Hopes are high among EU officials and experts that Poland's likely new center-right government will contribute more constructively to EU matters.

An EU diplomat, speaking anonymously, expressed the belief that the election result would lead to a better-functioning EU that upholds its values and principles, particularly solidarity and responsibility, which should serve as an example to others and strengthen the EU in the face of geopolitical challenges.

Donald Tusk's return to power in Warsaw is seen as a boost for the European People's Party (EPP), a powerful center-right alliance to which Commission President Ursula von der Leyen belongs. This shift in the Council's balance toward the center could enhance von der Leyen's prospects for a second term as Commission chief after the European election next June.

Mujtaba Rahman, the managing director of the Eurasia Group consultancy in Europe, noted that Tusk's influence in the European Council and his ability to push debates forward will be significant. Tusk's role as an EPP leader in a big country can reinforce the chances of a centrist majority within the European Council.
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