Polish-German Reconciliation: Lessons for the Western Balkans

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Seventy-five years after World War II most outsiders might think that the goal of full reconciliation between Poland and Germany has been achieved. After all, both countries are members of the European Union and NATO. Once contested border between the two countries is today almost invisible. Two governments are also coordinating many of their policies during their regular meetings and consultations. There is also a significant number of programs championing exchanges at the social level.

However, even in 2021 when both countries mark the 30th anniversary of the Polish-German Treaty of Good Neighborship and Friendly Cooperation signed on 17 June 1991, some of the bilateral issues are still subject to dispute and some tensions still occur on the horizon. Especially when sensitive issues in dealing with the past are subject to discussion.

The aim of this paper is to look at the reconciliation process in the Western Balkans in the light of the German-Polish reconciliation. This is why the paper starts with a historical overview of the German-Polish reconciliation. It then continues with an overview of how far the Western Balkans reconciled and sketches the main challenges.

Despite different historical circumstances the German-Polish reconciliation process provides some concrete lessons for the Western Balkans. This paper, in its conclusions, gives a list of very concrete recommendations that all those interested in championing reconciliation in the Western Balkans should seriously consider.

Read the policy paper here:

Polish-German Reconciliation: Lessons for the Western Balkans

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