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Monday, 13 July 2009

A meeting between the President of Germany and Lech Kaczyński

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Monday saw the President of Germany, Horst Köhler, pay a state visit to Poland. This was the first visit abroad by the German President upon his re-election to office. Köhler met with the Polish President and, after the greeting ceremony, the two presidents went to a one-on-one meeting, after which they delivered their respective speeches to the media. In the meantime, the wives of the presidents, Maria Kaczyńska and Eva Luise Köhler, paid a visit to Centrum Zdrowia Dziecka (Child Health Centre) in Międzylesie.

During the meeting, which was very friendly in character and lasted longer than expected, Lech Kaczyński and Horst Köhler discussed subjects connected with the economic and financial crisis, the policy of the EU pertaining to safety and foreign matters, relations with Poland’s eastern neighbours and European Neighbourhood Policy. Apart from that, they discussed subjects related to bilateral cooperation.

Lech Kaczyński, during the press conference following the meeting, said that his talks with Köhler concerned matters such as the economic crisis. “We have been talking for a long time about (…) the international crisis – in particular about its financial aspects, means to counter it and possible ways to avoid the occurrence of similar situations in the future,” the Polish President emphasized.

The two presidents also discussed the issue of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty. “I have said once more (…) that I will sign the Lisbon Treaty as soon as our Irish friends accept it or, to be more specific, on the day the official results of the referendum are announced,” Lech Kaczyński said. He once again assured that Poland will not hamper the ratification of this new document of the European Union.

“I have expressed my reservations, which I share with the Polish Government, with regard to matters such as Nord Stream (Northern European Gas Pipeline) or the issue of activity of certain prominent German personages. We have decided that these shall be subjects of our subsequent discussions,” Lech Kaczyński announced.

Köhler said that the Escape, Expulsion, Reconciliation foundation is aimed at commemorating the expulsions that took place in Europe and that, in his country, “there is no major political force which would wish to re-write history.” He added that discussions pertaining to this matter, as well as to other matters, would continue. During his visit, Köhler also met with Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister.

Even before the visit, Mariusz Handzlik, Polish Undersecretary of State, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP), emphasized the importance of the fact that the President of Germany chose Warsaw, out of all the places available, to be the destination of his first official visit abroad upon being re-elected.

“For us, this is a token of the importance which Horst Köhler attributes to the relations with Poland,” Handzlik said. He added that the President of Germany plans to pay his second official visit to Paris. “This shows the directions in which his attention will be turned during his second incumbency,” he assessed.

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