Minister: Poland still not an equal member in EU, NATO

Poland's Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga has called on her country's European partners to treat the EU newcomer and 1999 NATO member as an equal fully entitled to make independent strategic policy decisions.

Minister: Poland still not an equal member in EU, NATO
Poland's Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga has called on her country's European partners to treat the EU newcomer and 1999 NATO member as an equal fully entitled to make independent strategic policy decisions.

"Poland's status is not equal to other EU and NATO member states," Fotyga said in an interview published Thursday by the International Herald Tribune (IHT).

Referring to Poland's talks with the United States on the possible installation of a controversial anti-ballistic missile defence system aimed at warding off attacks from rogue states, Fotyga insists her country has the right to make an independent decision.

"Why shouldn't we have the same rights as Britain or Denmark, which have missile defence?" Fotyga told the IHT.

"Why is it that so many countries discuss our right to have this system? It is trying to undermine our position as an equal partner. We want to engage in discussions with the US with the same rights as the other countries."

Fotyga also slammed German requests for the return of German cultural artifacts found on Polish territory after Nazi Germany's Second World War invasion and occupation of the country.

Poland did not steal any of these cultural treasures, Fotyga points out. The Nazis hid them on what is now Polish territory to protect them against Allied bombing campaigns.

"When we talk about cultural heritage, Germany poses clear requirements vis-a-vis Poland but it does not put the same requirements vis-a-vis France," Fotyga said.

"Yet it was the Nazis who had tried to annihilate Poland's cultural heritage when they occupied Poland during the Second World War. It will be difficult to continue negotiations under such conditions."

Fotyga insists this most recent controversy has created a stronger perception in Poland that Germany wants to dominate it within the EU - and to revise history to cast Germany as a victim of the Second World War.

The Polish minister also pointed to the drive of German conservative legislator Erika Steinbach for Poland to compensate Germans who fled or were expelled from Poland after 1945 as yet another warning sign for Warsaw.

"In Polish minds," Fotyga told the IHT, "this means the eradication of the obvious truth: responsibility for the Second World War."

"When you are bigger and more powerful, you have to be one hundred times more sensitive than your small neighbour and never humiliate," Fotyga advised Berlin.

Fotyga also sharply criticised Berlin's failure to agree the construction of a gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea floor with its EU partners. The controversial project is spearheaded by Moscow and Berlin.

"That gas pipeline undermines European solidarity and questions our ability to have an equal voice," Fotyga told the IHT.

DPA
Last Mod: 16 Ağustos 2007, 17:08
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