Visegrad/Insight and the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation organised a conference to discuss the geopolitics and economy in light of the upcoming EU Elections, as well as technology and energy issues that are highly important in the Polish-German discussion.
What are the possible trajectories of Polish-German cooperation? What can be possible triggers for given scenarios? What may be the wild cards? What are the future scenarios for the upcoming EU elections, the plausible outcomes and consequences of the electoral processes? In what way can EU Elections influence the cooperation?

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CONFERENCE:

  • Polish-German relations are heavily dependant on the transatlantic frame work that used to be a stabilising force and there are signs of new dynamics
  • 2019 may be very important for Europe because of the elections to the European Parliament, but in the end, it may turn out to be yet another muddling through tactics that Angela Merkel and other European leaders got used to – not excluding Polish and Hungarian leaders. Nevertheless, Russia is expected to use this as an opportunity of mass scale interference in the democratic process on the continent in order to weaken the process of collective decision making; as a result, new EU Commission and the Parliament may slow down after 2019
  • So far Germany sees EU as the best way to manage its relationships with all European partners; it is willing to share part of its leadership with others so, that it avoids the trap of domination
  • There are political actors in Germany that understand the threat of Nord Stream 2  to the European project, yet, so far, the government or the parliament did not come up with special law on strategic security which would allow interfering directly in projects run solely by commercial companies; this is mostly why the government advocates for the EU solution
  • Despite good relations, there are traps of misinterpretation of interests and intentions, often due to the misunderstanding of semantics on both sides; much more focus and explanation of the context is needed in media and public discussion on mutual relations
  • New dynamics in EU observed:
1. Brexit elevated the political role of European Commission
2. Focus on the rule of law elevated the role of the European Court of Justice
3. The northern group of EU countries have consolidated their positions
4. The southern group of EU countries have become more fragmented
5. Fringe parties and movements are more and more challenging the mainstream

PROPOSALS FOR BILATERAL TOPICS AND NEW COOPERATION: 

  • Combatting Russian disinformation and meddling in democratic campaigns and elections;
  • regional cooperation – interaction with Germany on V4, 3Seas Initiative, Eastern Partnership
  • Building resilience to China’s sharp power
  • Promoting quality of services and goods produced and traded among DE and PL
  • Defence, including cyber defence initiatives and PESCO
  • Building up institutional cooperation on civil society, memory and education on history with the outlook for the future cooperation prospects

 

Agenda:

9:00-9:15 registration

9:15-9:45 opening speech:

Minister Konrad Szymański, State Secretary for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland

09:45-10:00 presentation: Central European Futures 2025
Wojciech Przybylski, editor-in-chief, Visegrad/Insight

10:00-11:15 Panel discussion: Challenges in Polish-German cooperation in the upcoming 7 years. Political choices, EU platform, trade and energy.

Knut Abraham, Councillor, Embassy of Germany to Poland

Kai-Olaf Lang, Senior Fellow, SWP Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

Agnieszka Łada, director of the European Programme, Institute of Public Affairs

Jarosław Obremski, senator, the Senate of Poland

Chair: Marcin Antosiewicz, journalist

 

11:15-11:30  – coffee break

 

11:30-12:45 Panel discussion: EU Elections possible trajectories. What may they bring to Polish-German cooperation?

Piotr Buras, director, European Council of Foreign Relations

Edit Zgut, Polish Academy of Science

Cornelius Ochmann, director, Polish-German Cooperation Foundation

Marcin Zaborowski, senior associate, Visegrad/Insight

Chair: Andrzej Godlewski, SWPS University