In his article titled “Lousy Mood in Europe,” published on 3rd July in the Czech daily MF Dnes, Josef Zieleniec welcomes the agreement reached at the Brussels summit of July 21-22, 2007, but he notes the one piece of bad news that we heard from Brussels: the substantial deterioration of relations between Berlin and Warsaw.
The problem, writes Josef Zieleniec, lies not so much in the substance of Polish claims to a change in the system of voting in the European Council, but rather in the arguments that the Polish representation used to justify them. “Deriving claims to voting power in the Council from the numbers of those that died in World War II or comparing the current situation in Germany to the period before Hitler’s rise to power is in direct contradiction to the fundamental idea of European integration, which was the reconciliation of nations after the war catastrophe,” writes Josef Zieleniec. Besides countering the logic of European integration, current Polish foreign policy rhetoric also threatens to reopen questions of history and gives strength to those advocating closer German-Russian ties.
In the conclusion to his article, Josef Zieleniec warns that should the current crisis in Polish-German relations transform into a permanent state, and should tragedies of history become a normal foreign policy tool, there are likely to be repercussions in Czech-German relations. Most importantly, there would also be a winner: Russia, who traditionally sees the Central European region as its sphere of influence and who has lately strived to reassert its position there. Given the above, it is time that the Czech government also reconsider its position, because it was one of Poland’s staunchest supporters before the Brussels summit.