Poland has always lied at the crossroads of Europe, as suggested by the title of one of Norman Davies' famous history books Heart of Europe. Intermediate between the West and the East; buffer state; ally or enemy of the main European powers, Poland was once a very powerful country whose territory extended as far as the Black Sea. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Polish state had to overcome three subsequent partitions which finally led to the downfall: A hundred and twenty three years of complete disappearance from the map of Europe (1795 -1918). As a result of a common Slavic cultural heritage and tightly interwoven history – of which one mustn't forget fifty years of « communist rule » during the Cold War - Poland has had throughout the past decades a specific relation to its Eastern-neighbour countries, namely Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Of these three states, Russia has always stood as the most powerful one, greatly feared by the Poles. Since the collapse of the USSR and with it of the Russian domination over Eastern Europe, Poland has conducted a very Western-oriented foreign policy, joining NATO (in 1999) and - later on - the European Union (on 1rst of May 2004).
[...] The overall Ukraine population amounts to Government information on the Polish foreign policy in the year 2004, presented at the session of the Sejm on January K. Burnetko, interwiew of A.Kwasniewski, former Polish president (1995- 2005), Tygodnik Powszechny We shall do everything to ensure that this (democratic) breakthrough gains the appreciation and recognition of the community of the democratic states of the West quotation from Daniel Rotfeld's (Polish foreign minister) speech in Sejm, 21rst January 2005. Source : Polish ambassy in Slovenia http://www.poland-embassy.si/eng/politics/Expose.htm quotation from A.Kwasniewski, in the above mentionned interview (from Tygodnik Powszechny). [...]
[...] Are there similar patterns of behaviour towards Russia, Belarus and Ukraine which could help us to set criteria of Polish foreign policy in this area? We will show first that the Orange revolution in Ukraine in which Poland actively took part - stands as a key event which radically changed the balance of power in Eastern Europe as Poland emerged as a democratic challenger to Russia in the region. Poland is now trying to trigger similar events in Belarus, while having to face Russia‘s upset. [...]
[...] A quotation from Daniel Rotfeld - former Polish foreign minister - in a speech to the Polish Sejm on 21st January 2005 perfectly illustrates this fact : After all, it is an event of historic proportions, comparable to the European of the Nations” in 1989 One must keep in mind that Poland was the only country to have taken seriously - right from their beginning - the demonstrations on Independence square in Kiev. Poland saw in them a genuine opportunity for Ukraine to finally achieve democracy as well as true independence, getting rid of the old communist ruling class and of Russian domination altogether. [...]
[...] Radzinowicz, a Polish journalist, Poland has to change its strategy towards Belarus, in order to avoid the mistake it made during the last Polish-Belarusian crisis (already mentioned cf July 2005), when in protest to the Polish minority persecutions in Belarus, Poland called its ambassador in Minsk back to Poland to send him back again to office after the storm calmed down. Indeed, Poland's duty though not easy to fulfill - is to convinced its parteners within the EU that the Belarusian issue is to be dealt jointly since it concerns the whole EU, not only Poland The journalist has a point here; there is actually an obvious diplomatic void as far as EU-Belarus relations are concerned; the EU doesn't have any representative in Minsk. [...]
[...] The current Polish minister for foreign affairs, Sfefan Meller, was the first European minister to pay a visit to Victor Yanoukovitch - president of Ukraine - in Kiev, on 10th January 2006, at the deepest of the oil crisis. The meeting mainly dealt with the way oil supply for Ukraine and Poland could be met without depending too much on Russia. The key word remained diversification», Ukraine and Poland agreed on the necessity for both countries to resort to Middle East oil-state producers . [...]
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