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    Tusk Questions Poland’s Stance on WWII Reparations Claims Against Germany

    Despite the Polish Government making its position clear in a Council of Ministers Resolution in 2023 that Poland has legal claims against Germany for WW2 reparations, and his previous comments in 2004 that Germany must take full responsibility for the harm Poland suffered in World War II, Prime Minster Donald Tusk has performed a U-turn. In Berlin yesterday, Tusk said that legally, the issue of reparations is closed

    Tusk In 2004 – Germany To Take 100% Responsibility

    Tusk said, in the debate before passing the first Resolution calling on Germany to pay reparations, in 2004, that: 

    “ … in this resolution, and later in every Polish statement by a Polish politician, we should clearly demand that the German government bear all possible consequences of civil claims that Germany will make against anyone, especially Poles, in connection with World War II

    Tusk then stated: 

    Germany must take one hundred percent financial responsibility for any consequences of the claims.

    Poland Has Legal Claims Against Germany For Reparations

    In 2017, Arkadiusz Mularczyk commissioned the Sejm Bureau of Research to present a legal opinion on the possibility of making claims against Germany. The legal opinion stated:

    Tusk’s Comments In Contrast To Poland’s Official Position Re: Reparation Claims

    it is reasonable to argue that the Republic of Poland is entitled to seek compensation from the Federal Republic of Germany and the allegation that these compensation claims had expired or had been barred by the statute of limitations is unfounded.”

    In 2022, following the publication of the War Report, Polish MPs almost unanimously voted through a second Resolution calling for “Germany to assume unequivocally its political, historical, legal and financial responsibility for all the consequences caused in the Republic of Poland and to Polish citizens by the unleashing of World War II by the Third German Reich”. 

    The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs then sent a Diplomatic Note to Germany “to permanently, comprehensively, definitively, legally, and materially settle the consequences of German aggression and occupation” (page 3 of the abridged War Report); highlighting that the issue of reparations, legally, is open.

    Official Polish Position – Legally Open

    This was followed by a Council of Ministers Resolution in 2023 that sets out Poland’s official position concerning reparations, stating that “Poland has never renounced its claim to reparations from Germany” and “binds all organs of the Polish government to support Poland’s claim for reparations”. Therefore, the official position of the Polish Government is that the issue of reparations is legally open. 

    As such, Tusk’s comments in Berlin that “in the formal, legal sense, the issue of reparations was closed many years ago” clearly contradicts the Polish government’s current position.

    President of Law of Justice, Jarosław Kaczyński said:

    “Donald Tusk’s latest statement on reparations for Poland violates Poland’s basic interests and undermines both Poland’s attempts to get compensation and status. And not only political status but also cultural status.”

    Former Plenipotentiary for Compensation for Damage Caused by German Aggression and Occupation in 1939-1945, Arkadiusz Mularczyk said:

    “The phrases used by Prime Minister Donald Tusk during his visit to Berlin meeting with Chancellor Scholz are shocking. This is the Prime Minister’s first visit to Berlin and he immediately undermines and weakens Poland’s status. Before proceeding formally to any talks, he is already saying that the matter is closed from the legal side and from the international side –  this is not true.

    The Council of Ministers Resolution in April 2023 makes it clear that the Polish government takes the unequivocal position that the issue of reparations for Poland has never been the subject of any international Polish-German agreement. Poland has never relinquished war reparations and moreover, the Polish government demands that these matters be settled in the form of an international treaty agreement.

    The legal state of affairs is clear. The political state of affairs is clear. Donald Tusk’s actions is an absolute betrayal of Poland’s interests and weakens Poland’s position.”

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