Germany: War reparations to Poland resolved but debate OK

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 17, 2018 9:11 AM
Germany: War reparations to Poland resolved but debate OK

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's foreign minister suggested Wednesday that an experts group could be created to look into calls from some of Poland's nationalist leaders that the country should be paid World War II reparations from Berlin.

However, Sigmar Gabriel also made very clear during his meeting with new Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz that under international law and according to bilateral treaties between the two nations, the question of reparations has long been concluded.

"The German government has a clear position: for us there are no reasons for reparations," Gabriel said. "The issue has been resolved legally with the Polish government after the fall of communism in Poland."

Czaputowicz said he was also open to the idea of having experts look into the whole issue. He underlined that the public debate on reparations was an important one in Poland that needed to be discussed.

Both men said a close German-Polish relationship was important for the two countries and the European Union as well.

On a different matter, Gabriel said he also welcomed Polish government efforts to explain its position regarding controversial changes in the country's justice system.

"If Poland offers to show its arguments against the European Commission's position in a so called 'white paper' we will not refuse to look at it," Gabriel said.

The EU's executive Commission has started proceedings against Warsaw that may eventually lead to a suspension of its voting rights — if all other EU nations agree.

Poland last month completed a sweeping overhaul of its justice system, ignoring EU warnings it breached democratic principles.