We won’t force Poland into the Eurozone: Bundestag Speaker

Wolfgang Schäuble, the Bundestag Speaker declared that Germany has no intention of mentoring Poland and will not be attempting to force it to join the Eurozone against its will.

Interviewed by Polish daily “Rzeczpospolita”, the former German finance minister, currently the Speaker of the Bundestag, said that Polish-German relations were not and should not be dependent on which party is in power at any particular time. He regards the close relations between the countries as “a real miracle” given the baggage that history has left behind.

Poland adheres to ECJ decisions

Mr Schäuble was not phased by disputes over the issue of the rule of law. As long as ultimate decisions by the ECJ were respected he felt Poland had every right to its views. “I have not seen any evidence that Poland is not implementing ECJ verdicts,” he remarked. That, for him, meant that Poland was committed to the principle of the rule of law.

No need for German mentor

He also refused to comment on the state of Polish democracy. Instead, he said that he felt Germany should concentrate on the state of its own democracy. “Poland does not need a German mentor in order to maintain its democracy and freedom.”

Mr Schäuble also felt Poland had contributed to Germany’s reunification via its peaceful Solidarity revolution.

No conflict with the US

The Bundestag Speaker reassured Poland that Germany had no intention of becoming a global player to rival America and make Poland choose which side it was on. He voiced his own strong preference for a Euroatlantic approach in the EU.

Nord Stream 2

Mr Schäuble said that as Speaker of the Bundestag he has to remain neutral, but hinted at being sceptical about Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany that by-passes Poland. He pointed to the fact that the EPP’s candidate for EC President, Manfred Weber, opposes the project. He confirmed that regardless of what happens to the project, Germany would not shift on its support for sanctions against Russia until Russia respected international law with regard to Crimea and Ukrainian security.

Adoption of the Euro is a call for Poland to make

The Bundestag Speaker said that accession to the Eurozone was Poland’s decision. Despite the fact that European law obliges countries that meet the criteria for membership of the Eurozone to join it, he said he was against forcing the pace. “We did not force Sweden to do it and we won’t be forcing Poland either.”

Reparations ‘unrealistic’

The former German Finance Minister stuck closely to the official German position that the issue of reparations was settled after the war and then again in the early nineties when Germany recognised the new borders between Poland and Germany. He felt that any discussion about reparations now would lead to “unrealistic expectations that could never be met”.