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POLAND: FM visits Bulgaria and Germany
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has begun his campaign, aimed at gaining support in the EU. On Monday, Minister Czaputowicz made his first foreign visit to Bulgaria where he met with his counterpart Ekaterina Zacharijewa and the country’s Minister for the Bulgarian EU Presidency, Liliana Pavlova. The ministers discussed Polish-Bulgarian bilateral relations, as well as the accession of Western Balkan states to the block, and the Article 7 procedure. Minister Czaputowicz presented Minister Zacharijewa with Poland’s draft statement, and underlined that Poland is hoping for dialogue in this matter. In a bid to resolve the Article 7 issue, it is no coincidence that the newly-nominated FM chose the state currently in its EU presidency for his first visit. It remains to be seen whether Bulgaria will prioritize the Polish issue on the Council agenda.
Yesterday, FM Czaputowicz visited Berlin for talks with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel. Poland would like to see relations with Germany intensified, especially within the Weimar Triangle format. Many commentators noted that Gabriel and Czaputowicz seemed satisfied with the meeting and that relations may be entering into a fresh stage. Still, behind a new cooperative attitude lie underlying tensions that will require much more work from Polish diplomats. Czaputowicz already toned down the narrative on seeking World War II reparations from Germany. Further meetings are also planned for in-depth discussion on judicial reforms. The German government, amidst bigger problems in Brussels and at home, seems to be willing to start mending relations. A new Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in Warsaw might just be the right first step.