Research / Geopolitics

German-Polish relations: Points of agreement and collision.

Abstract: The outcome of the German elections in 2021 could significantly transform not only the country’s domestic political relations, but also the political and economic status quo of the EU and Central and Eastern Europe. The present study aims to present the main factors in the dynamics of German-Polish relations, highlighting the most important points of agreement and difference, which will significantly impact the foreign policy of the two countries.

2021 is rightly referred to as Supervahljahr, with six provincial elections in one year and federal parliamentary elections in September, a confluence of elections that has not occurred for nearly 70 years without the reigning chancellor running for office. Developments in German domestic politics may also have an impact on the political and economic map of the Visegrád Group (V4), as well as Central and Eastern Europe in general. The present study seeks to present the current cornerstones of Polish-German relations, which will certainly influence the further development of political and economic power throughout the Central Europe region.

Within German-Polish relations, one can note the juxtaposition between sometimes-turbulent political interactions and generally seamless economic cooperation. The question regarding their relationship is typically always to what extent the sides are willing to risk this prosperous economic collaboration to achieve specific domestic and foreign policy interests.

Expected areas of lasting cooperation between Germany and Poland

Germany-V4 relations

The mechanisms of German-Polish cooperation are good examples of Germany's foreign policy thinking and the concept of its cooperation with the Visegrád countries. Germany prefers to establish bilateral cooperation in relation to its V4 neighbors, not only because of the divide et impera approach on the German side, but „because of unequal interests and differences of opinions among the Group members,” toward the country, which makes “the V4 less important to Germany than the sum of its individual relationships”.[i]

The V4, in this relationship, mostly acts as a conciliatory forum, where there is no consensus among the members on all issues, even from an economic standpoint. The constituent nations are often competitors in the fight for foreign capital investments.


[i] GAWRICH, Andrea Dr., STEPANOV, Maxim: “German Foreign Policy toward the Visegrad Countries. Patterns of Integration in Central Europe.” In: DGAP analysis, 29.09.2014., https://dgap.org/en/research/publications/german-foreign-policy-toward-visegrad-countries (31.08.2021) p.1

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