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EU partners Poland, German ministers tackle WWII-era claims


dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday January 31, 2007

Warsaw- Poland and Germany have agreed to prepare a joint policy stance on compensation claims against Poland by a group representing Germans forced to leave Polish territory after the Second World War, according to the Polish and German foreign ministers who met Wednesday in Warsaw. "It is likely we'll be ready to prepare a joint bilateral political declaration, which is a significant step forward in our positions," Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said following talks with visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Prussian Trust, an organization representing Germans forced to flee lands in Germany's eastern wartime empire, now belonging to Poland, launched a compensation claim in the European Court of Human Rights against Poland in December.

Poland rejects any compensation claims from German expellees, arguing it had no part in the post-WWII decision to re-draw Europe's borders, a move which caused a mass exodus of Germans from Eastern Europe.

"The German Federal Government rejects the claim," German Minister Steinmeier told reporters of the Prussian Trusts lawsuit, adding that "honest dialogue" on the sensitive issue with Poland was appreciated.

With Germany currently holding the EU's rotating presidency, Steinmeier and Fotyga also addressed EU issues including the revival of work on the proposed European Constitution and new EU agreements with Russia and Ukraine.

Late last year Poland torpedoed the opening of talks on a new EU-Russia agreement, demanding that Russia first remove an import ban on Polish meat and plant product exports.

The minister also discussed the issue of EU energy security.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency