Skip to comments.We'd have more power in EU if Germans hadn't 'reduced our population' in WWII, says Polish PM
Posted on 06/21/2007 10:54:10 AM PDT by RWR8189
The Polish PM has stunned European leaders today with an astonishing attack on Germany for starting the Second World War.
In a spectacularly undiplomatic outburst, he said his country was losing out in today's European Union as a direct result of the millions of deaths that followed its invasion by Germany in 1939.
"We are only demanding one thing - that we get back what was taken from us," said Jaroslaw Kaczynski at the opening of the EU summit in Brussels, chaired by German chancellor Angela Merkel.
"If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million."
The issue of population is at the heart of a heated row over voting rights that could wreck Tony Blair's last EU summit.
A proposed new system of sharing out votes rewards countries such as Germany with the biggest numbers - and Poland is angrily demanding more.
Poland's population is 38 million - implying that Mr Kaczynski blames the Germans for the loss of 28 million people.
Mr Kaczynski and his twin brother Lech, Poland's president, are said to be Second World War obsessives, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of their country's sufferings under occupation.
The identical twins, whose father fought in the 1944 Warsaw uprising, have become infamous for their unrestrained comments and dislike of EU integration.
Luxembourg's premier, Jean-Claude Juncker, said they should stop living in the past. "You have to jump into the present," he told FT Deutschland.
"You will not be happy in the long run if you are always looking in the rear-view mirror."
It sets the scene for a rancorous dinner tonight when leaders of the 27 EU states need to thrash out a series of disputes to avoid a crisis.
Mr Blair, notching up his 47th EU summit, told his Cabinet in London that he was prepared to walk away from the table unless his own demands were met in full.
Before flying out, he and Gordon Brown had telephone talks with Mrs Merkel - indicating that Mr Brown is intensely involved in the negotiations.
Mr Blair came under fire for trying to water down the EU's "son of constitution" treaty. Mr Juncker a veteran federalist, fumed: "We will not stand by and see all the substance removed from the treaty."
New French president Nicolas Sarkozy said there were multiple disputes.
"We don't just have problems with Poland," he said. "We have problems with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, a little bit with the Czech Republic. The problems are numerous."
Privately, No 10 indicated that Mr Blair wanted his demands met "100 per cent". But European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso retorted: "All the leaders say that they want 100 per cent achievement. But in Europe you've got to be reasonable and rational.
"At the end there has to be some, let's say, agreement."
Mrs Merkel sent an 11th-hour letter pleading with the leaders to compromise, so that Europe could move on from inwardlooking disputes to pressing issues such as climate change, energy supplies and globalisation.
"The European public now expects us to put the necessary reforms of the Union in hand," she wrote. "The time has now come to set out the roadmap for the impending reform of the treaties."
The Kaczynski twins, even in the depths of their purported stupidity, probably wouldn't try to pass off a map of the German "language area" as a map of prewar Germany.
Not just the Nazis, remember Katyn Forest.
lol, isn't that the tactic Hitler himself used? He wanted to "liberate" the German speaking peoples in the surrounding nations.
Why stop at 1938? Europe has a long history of wars and its effects.
As much as you’d want to wish the Polish well, I honestly don’t see a movement in this direction towards reparations/ power redistribution, etc., doing anything to improve the situation the parties involved, are in presently. Even if they did, what would the reparations consist of? Who determines how long it should go on? To whom? For how many generations?
The past was a bad mess. Anything done to change the wrongs of history would only seem to justify the actions of Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe. IMHO.
The slaughter of the Poles is within living memory. The Poles are saying to the Germans: Who the heck do you think you are talking to!
So would the Germans argue. And the Blacks would claim benefits for "deprived opportunity to improve."
And from there, it would go nowhere.
I don't know how many exchanges it would take to admit that the past is the past, and nothing else can be done to change it. Non-quantifiable losses cannot be reparated, is what I'd think regarding the matter in question.
The territory of modern Poland which was part of prewar Germany was central Pomerania and part of Silesia.
That would be roughly 5 million people today.
The man does have a point...
Some people apparently don’t grasp the concept of genocide.
I was keying off the current Polish complaints, and trying to reach a resolution to the current dispute. If they don't go for this proposal, we could always offer to roll the clock back 100 years to 1907 borders.
Why stop there? Previous wars effected population as well.
Oh come off it. I can still remember my aunts in Mississipi taling about “the war.” Like This or that thing happens during” the war.” This would be about 1942 and they weren’t talking about World War II, or World War I, or the Spani-sh-Americans War. They were talking about the events of the siege of Vicksburg by a Union Army. Their mother was a young child living in the caves cut in the side of a hill, and their uncvles, a Choctow indian named John Smith was killed during the siege after leaving her and her mothr with some food. Got his head blown off by a cannon ball or something. Once upon a time I could find his grave. Now that is history as people know it, not as history professors do.
He indeed has a point. There is no doubt that the German actions lead to the disadvantages of Poland today. Barring a reversal of time, how would one go about settling past wrongs to 'right' the present condition? Reparations only worsen an already bad situation.
However, there is a fundamental disconnect in the European Constitution.
You have the European Parliament, analogous to our House and which is elected according to population.
Then you have the European Council which is analogous to our Senate.
However, unlike our Senate, the Council's 27 ministers (one for each country) have unequal, weighted votes.
If I were Poland I would demand that - as in the US Senate - each state receive one equal vote in the Council.
That would be far more useful than any sort of reparations.
The Germans lost 7 million soldiers and civilians in WW2, and Poland got 40,000 square miles of German territory. Apparently the “history obsessed” twins aren’t aware of that. And how many Poles did the Soviets kill, hmm?