Germany wants to improve relations with Poland
BERLIN, Sep 10: Germany's relations with Poland have become unsteady and the neighbours need to work on promoting mutual understanding, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was today quoted as saying.
''There are a few irritations in the neighbourly relationship between Germany and Poland,'' Steinmeier told German rbb local radio amid reports that ethnic Germans in Poland were coming under pressure from nationalist lawmakers in Warsaw.
Steinmeier said he had discussed the need to create ''a bridge of understanding'' with Polish counterpart Anna Fotyga.
German media reported this weekend that some rights of the German minority in Poland were under threat, saying the League of Polish Families (LPR), a right-wing party in the coalition government, aimed to strip them of an electoral privilege.
However, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on the sidelines of an European Union-Asia summit in Helsinki that she had met Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who had assured her the minority rights would be upheld.
She said Kaczynski would visit Berlin for talks on October 30.
The ethnic German minority in Poland, estimated at 300,000 of the 38 million population, is exempted from a rule that requires parties to secure at least 5 per cent of vote to gain representation in parliament.
This allows members of the minority to sit in the parliament without surmounting this hurdle a concession the LPR wants to be repealed, according to the German media reports.
The incident follows a string of recent controversies that have strained relations between Germany and Poland, which suffered heavily under Nazi occupation during World War Two.