Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland and Germany took part in the debate on the future of the European Union organized by the Polish Institute of International Affairs, the Polish MFA and the German Embassy in Poland on 12th April in Warsaw.
During the discussion moderated by Sławomir Dębski, director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and Daniela Schwarzer, director of the German Council for Foreign Relations (DGAP), Heiko Maas and Jacek Czaputowicz pointed out that the EU must find an answer to the challenges related to climate change, relations with China, Russia and the USA, but also to intra-European divisions regarding e.g. migration policy.
The heads of MFAs discussed also bilateral cooperation. Minister Maas indicated that Poland and Germany, as countries located in the center of Europe, can act as intermediaries between the eastern and western parts of the continent. He also mentioned The Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU as one of the topics of Polish-German consultations. Minister Czaputowicz positively assessed the state of Polish-German relations, pointing to such areas as the relations between the societies of both countries or the economy.
Although the ministers agreed that Brexit means a change in the balance of power within the EU, they assessed its scale differently. "The axis of three large states - Germany, France and Great Britain - will cease to exist. Then other countries such as Italy, Poland and Spain will have to redefine their roles" commented Minister Maas. Jacek Czaputowicz noted that one of the consequences of a UK exit from the EU will be that France and Germany will gain a stronger voice in the EU Council and that “the deficits” of the existing system will have to be solved.
During the Q&A session the ministers were asked about the transatlantic relations. Minister Czaputowicz stated that cooperation with the US is indispensable for ensuring the security of Europe. That is why Poland supports the construction of European strategic autonomy, provided that it contributes to the increase of the EU military potential, without moving away from the US in this sphere and excluding the EU from transatlantic relations. Minister Maas emphasized that the EU security initiatives are not directed against NATO, but rather they are a reaction to changes in American security policy. The two countries represent different positions when it comes to tax harmonization within the EU, an idea opposed by Poland.