Poland’s Bilateral Relations
After the events of 11 September 2001, US foreign policy has almost wholly refocused on the
fight against terrorism, with the George Walker Bush administration proceeding to build an anti-terror
coalition on an unprecedented scale. The form and extent of US allies’ contribution to that endeavour
has been, in fact, linked to how its practical usefulness is assessed by Washington.
Therefore, the reaction of the Polish authorities to the New York and Washington attacks was
not confined to expressions of grieve and symbolic solidarity with the American people, but also had a
practical dimension. On 20 September Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski sent a letter to
President George W. Bush, expressing unequivocal support for the US position on the terrorist attack
and the building of an anti-terror coalition, and also declaring the readiness of Poland, as a NATO
member, to contribute militarily to all aspects of the US military action. On 25 September the Council of
Ministers opened the Polish airspace to US aircraft. And on 4 October, just as other NATO allies, Poland
responded to the US request for assistance by offering access to military bases, full with their equipment
and wide logistic support involving transportation and supplies. The Polish president was among the first
leaders of NATO member states to be informed of the launch of the US military action in Afghanistan.
For his part, President Kwaśniewski expressed Poland’s full support for the military activities, declaring
the Polish units’ preparedness to take part in military operations in the region.
As the United States’ major ally in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, and a country with
regional leadership aspirations, Poland organised an international conference on the fight against
terrorism; it was held in Warsaw on 6 November, with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski in the chair.
The conference passed a Declaration and an Action Plan on combating terrorism. Its success
reinforced, in the eyes of Washington, Poland’s already strong position in the region.
Many important bilateral visits were paid in 2001. On 3–7 April Foreign Minister Władysław
Bartoszewski stayed in the US, meeting in Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell, National
Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin.
It was the first high-ranking visit by a Polish envoy to the US after assumption of the US
presidency by George W. Bush. The subjects discussed covered both bilateral issues (e.g. preparations
for President Bush’s visit to Poland and private property restitution) and multilateral ones (e.g. indemnity
for forced slave labourers in the Third Reich, the second stage of NATO’s enlargement, and the Missiles
The most important event in bilateral contacts was an official visit to Poland by President
George W. Bush paid on 15 and 16 June. The US president delivered a major speech in Warsaw, in
which he reiterated the US support for NATO’s further expansion. The Polish and US presidents issued
a joint statement, detailing both parties’ position on the most important international and bilateral issues.
The role of NATO as a guarantor of transatlantic security was confirmed.
One of the first representatives of the Polish authorities paying a visit to the US after the 11
September attacks was the Chief of Staff, General Czesław Piątas. On 3 October he met Lisa Bronson,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for NATO and European Policy, and Heather Conley, Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State for Nordic/Baltic States. On 22–25 October Poland’s Head of National
Security Bureau, Marek Siwiec, held several meetings in the United States on Poland’s contribution to
On 12–17 December Minister of Foreign Affairs Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz paid an official visit
to the US, during which he met Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice. His conversations largely focused on the international situation and ways of
tightening up bilateral co-operation. The purpose of the meetings was to emphasise the continuity of
Poland’s foreign policy, strengthen bilateral relations (e.g. by laying down a plan for dynamic Polish-US
dialogue at the highest level), exchange opinions on the anti-terror coalition, assess NATO’s new
relations with Russia, relations with Ukraine, and the second stage of NATO’s expansion, hear about the
US administration’s actions to further the peace process in the Middle East, and discuss the
modernisation of the Polish Armed Forces. Also taken up were issues of economic co-operation,
including the opportunities in the US market for Polish small to medium-sized enterprises, and an
On 11 September 2001 President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek sent to President
George W. Bush their letters of condolence after the terrorist attacks. A similar letter to the US Vice President and
President of the Senate, Richard Cheney, was sent by the Speaker of Polish Senate, Alicja Grześkowiak.
increase in Polish exports to the US. Minister Cimoszewicz also spoke with Jewish-American
communities on subjects that included truthful information on past and present Polish-Jewish relations,
the establishment of the Museum of History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, and restitution of communal and
The intensity of bilateral relations was reflected in numerous other visits in both directions,
which brought about a perceptible tightening up of co-operation on the political, economic, defence and
In the field of military co-operation, the Programme of Reconstruction and Modernisation of the
Polish Armed Forces for 2001–2006 was adopted. One of the offers to supply multipurpose aircraft to
the Polish Air Forces came from the US. That country’s representatives argued that the selection of the
F-16 would result in an inflow into Poland of tested modern technology as well as bringing the prospect
of participation in the production and use of the Joint Strike Fighter, a future replacement of the F-16.
Negotiations concerning transfer of a frigate to the Polish Navy were continued in 2001.
According to an agreed timetable, a Perry class unit, the USS Wardsworth—renamed the ORP Gen.
Kazimierz Pułaski—should call at the Gdynia port in autumn 2002.
The Ministry of National Defence also benefited from a host of training and educational
programmes financed with US federal budget resources, including a $1.7 million participation in the
International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme. Poland also received $12.24 million
financial support to modernise equipment and structure, from the Foreign Military Financing facility.
Polish-US economic relations grew further, although with a perceptible tilt in US favour. Imports
from US to Poland were up 5% in 2001, while exports from Poland to the US dropped 6%, as a result of
which mutual exchanges accounted for 16% of Poland’s overall foreign purchases and 0.07% of foreign
sales. On the by-country list of foreign direct investments in Poland in 2001, the US came second. The
largest investor among the 128 US entrants was Citibank, followed by General Motors, Enterprise
Investors, International Paper and Phillip Morris.
During President Bush’s stay in Warsaw in June, both countries concluded a trade protocol and
a civil aviation agreement, expanding LOT Polish Airlines’ access to US airports. The US side also
undertook to support in Congress a bill prolonging the General System of Preference (GSP), about to
end on 30 September 2001, so that Poland could retain its GSP status after that day while at the same
time adjusting some of its tariffs to the EU’s external tariff schedule. As of 31 December 2001, no
decision on GSP was yet taken by Congress.
The second half of 2001 saw a decline in Polish steel exports to the US, following a July
decision—unfavourable to this country—taken by the U.S. International Trade Commission in response
to a dumping complaint lodged by local steel rod producers against competitors from 12 countries,
including Poland. As a result, a 62% countervailing duty was imposed on steel products from Poland and
the other countries.
The US devoted special attention to the observance in Poland of the laws on the protection of
intellectual property. In a report on the subject dated 1 November 2001, US Trade Representative
Robert Zoellick pointed to a persisting large proportion of readily available pirated materials. On the
other hand, the US welcomed Polish legislation on intellectual property protection as complying with the
WTO TRIPS accord, as a result of which Poland was moved from the so-called Priority Watch List
(2000) into a less restrictive Watch List.
The US party criticised the Pharmaceuticals Act passed by the Polish Sejm on 27 July 2001,
which abolished a protection period for data exclusivity till the time Poland joins the European Union.
The question of visa-free tourist traffic by Polish citizens visiting the US remained unresolved.
In the course of numerous bilateral contacts, Poland raised the need for reciprocity, expecting the US to
do away with the tourist-visa requirement for Polish citizens travelling to that country. Regrettably, such
These included the visits by: Head of National Remembrance Institute Leon Kieres (12–16 February);
Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Stefan Meller (6–7 March); Undersecretary of State at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski (28–31 March); Vice-chairman of the Sejm’s National Defence
Committee Jerzy Szmajdziński (2–5 April); Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrzej Ananicz (4
April); Minister of Finance Jarosław Bauc (27–30 April); Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of National Defence
Tadeusz Diem (15–16 May); Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Jerzy Steinhoff (29–31 May); and
Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrzej Byrt (4–5 December). Paying visits to Poland
were: Chief Coordinator for CFE at the Department of State, Craig Dunkerley (26–27 February); Deputy Secretary
of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley (10 May); Senators Gordon
Smith (Rep., Oregon), Barbara Mikulski (Dem., Maryland) and George Voinovich (Rep., Ohio) on 1–2 June; and the
Department of State’s Heather Conley and Francis X. Taylor, Coordinator for Counterterrorism (5–7 November), in
connection with the Warsaw conference.
For its part, Poland removed the visa requirement for US tourists in 1992.
a prospect was rendered even more distant by the events of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent
tightening up of security procedures in the US. Besides, under US regulations, the visa requirement may
only be removed if the proportion of visa refusals stays within 3%, whereas the figure for Polish
applicants intending to enter the US exceeded 30% in 2001.
To some extent, the overall condition of Polish-US relations has been influenced by this
country’s traditionally complex relations with the Jewish diaspora. The 1941 events at Jedwabne,
described in Prof. Jan Tomasz Gross’ book The Neighbours, stirred both communities, Polish and
Jewish. However, the dignified character of the commemorative ceremony at Jedwabne (10 July)—at
which the Polish president and government unequivocally condemned the war-time murder of the
members of the local Jewish population by some members of the town’s Polish community—contributed
to a continuation of Polish-Jewish dialogue.
The Polish authorities have sought to properly commemorate, to the fullest extent possible, the
Jewish community’s presence on Polish territory. Serving this goal in 2001 was the promotion of the
initiative to build in Warsaw a Museum of History of Polish Jews. Along with paying tribute to the victims
of the Holocaust, the project will also honour the Jewish community’s splendid centuries-long tradition in
Poland and its impact on Polish culture.
An event which helped to establish stronger ties between both communities, especially on the
local level, was the ceremonial opening in summer 2001 of a Jewish cemetery in Ożarów,
Świętokrzyskie voivodship, attended by the living members of the local Jewish community, their
descendants, representatives of central and local government and members of the local Polish
A topical issue, however, is still the way in which many US citizens, not only of Jewish
background, perceive Poles’ attitude towards the Jews. In the opinion of Polish authorities, objective
historical truth about Polish-Jewish relations, especially at the time of the Holocaust, is still insufficiently
presented in US schools. Lack of co-operation in this respect with some Jewish organisations is well
exemplified by the opinions spread by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles. The film production
Uprising, broadcast by the national NBC network provoked the National Polish American–Jewish
American Council to protest to its makers and the TV station against far-reaching simplification of
historical realities relating to the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Another sensitive issue in Polish-Jewish relations, stirring resentment among part of the Jewish
community in the US, is the prolonged process of private property restitution in Poland. The bill the
Polish Sejm passed on the subject (7 March 2001) vastly restricted the eligibility criteria for property
restitution or indemnification, e.g. by introducing the citizenship requirement. In response, on 6 May
2001, members of the New York state legislature, Jeffrey Klein and Dov Hikind, sought to prevail on the
local authorities to impose sanctions against LOT Polish Airlines. They wanted the New York airport
authority to terminate an agreement on passenger and baggage servicing, which would prevent LOT
aeroplanes from landing at the JFK airport. But on 23 March Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski
vetoed the legislation, which meant that the question of Jewish property restitution remained unresolved
Among legislative actions not conducive to good relations with Poland, mention should be made
of the US Congress resolution of 16 May, calling on the Auschwitz Museum in Oświęcim to hand over
seven paintings in water colours to their author, former Auschwitz inmate Dina Gottlieb–Babitt. The
Congressional initiative was condemned by the International Auschwitz Council and the Holocaust
Museum in Washington. The water colours, in which Ms Babitt, acting on orders from Dr Mengele,
depicted Romanies later murdered in the concentration camp, are today part of documentation on Dr
Mengele’s criminal activities. For several years now Ms Babitt has sought to recover them, arguing that
as the author she is also their rightful owner. Polish Romanies appealed to Ms Babitt to desist from her
intention to deprive the Auschwitz State Museum of the paintings, given the scant documentation on
Romany extermination. The water colours are on display for visitors to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp
site as part of an exhibition commemorating Romany martyrdom.
There is every reason to describe the Polish-US relations in 2001 as very good. As both parties
emphasised, contentious issues were few and far between. The activities of the Polish authorities in the
The president objected to several provisions of the bill, including one which reserved property restitution for
persons possessing Polish citizenship as of 31 December 1999—as violating the constitutional principle of citizens’
equality before the law. And, according to the president, the provision confining the heir status to spouses, children
and grand-children contravened the civilised principles related to inheritance law.
aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September were very highly appraised in Washington, which
confirmed this country’s position as a close ally of the United States. As a consequence of this, mutual
contacts were invigorated, reaching a previously unseen level of intensity.
Bilateral relations in 2001 focused on security policy, European integration (reflecting Canada’s
interest in Poland’s tightening links with the European Union), arms control and disarmament
(co-operation under the Missile Technology Control Regime, convention on the Prohibition of
Anti-personal Mines, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Waasenar Agreement, light and small-bore arms,
conventions on chemical and biological weapons). These subjects were taken up in the course of
numerous consultations held at the level of vice-ministers.
The relatively small number of top-level meetings should be put down to the parliamentary
elections and the preceding campaign in this country, and also Polish foreign policy concentration on EU
accession and the anti-terrorist coalition in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks in the US. For
these reasons, a meeting between Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Canadian Prime
Minister Jean Chretien, scheduled to take place in Stockholm in September, was cancelled. Similarly, a
visit to Poland by the Canadian foreign minister did not take place.
In the course of the year, a letter of intent on postal sector modernisation was signed between
the Polish Ministry of Communications and the Canadian Post, and a bilateral civil aviation accord was
Two-way trade, as reported by the Central Statistical Office (GUS), reached $337 million in 2001
(up 2.9% from 2000), splitting into $168.2 million in Polish exports to Canada (up 4%) and $168.6 million
in imports (up 1.8%). The major articles exchanged were products of the engineering, metal and
On the by-country list of foreign direct investments in Poland, as compiled by the State Agency
for Foreign Investment (PAIZ), Canada ranked 22nd, with $250 million. In the largest project, United
Technologies Holding, the owner of leading air engine maker Pratt and Whitney Canada, acquired an
85% Treasury-owned stake in PZL-Rzeszów for $70 million, and it also committed itself to invest
another $70 million in the future. And in May the Canadian company Bombardier, a leading producer of
railway rolling stock in the world, took control of Wrocław’s Pafawag, after buying out its previous owner,
The largest economic promotion event, not only in 2001 but in the whole history of bilateral
relations, was the Polish National Co-operation Exhibition. Held in May in Montreal and Toronto with the
participation of more than 100 exhibitors, it drew 4, 000 visitors. In October, the First Polish-Canadian
Natural Gas and Energy Forum was held in Warsaw, with representatives of several dozen companies
from both countries discussing prospects for co-operation.
While continuing to defray the costs of language training for Polish Army officers, Canada also
ran a practical instruction programme for high ranking officers in institutions and bases within Poland. A
total of 73 Polish officers were trained in the course of 2001, and this assistance went on the following
The most important cultural events in 2001 included: a Montreal exhibition of Polish modernist
painters from the collection of the National Museum in Cracow; the Return of the Polish Treasuries
exhibition held in Quebec City and Winnipeg and featuring artefacts from the Wawel Castle Museum in
Cracow; and the screening in Ottawa of a major Polish film production Quo Vadis for the diplomatic
personnel and Canada’s political figures. Coming to the fore among Canadian cultural events in Poland
were: the performance of opera singer Maria Pellegrini at the National Theatre in Poznań, an exhibition
in Warsaw’s Mała Galeria gallery of photos by Toronto resident Tomasz Konart, and Canadian shows
within film festivals in Warsaw and Cracow.
On 23 October 2001 a new building of the Canadian Embassy was opened in Warsaw, at
Piotr Erenfeicht, born 1969; graduate Warsaw University’s Centre for American Studies; on the Foreign Ministry
staff since 1998, expert, American Department, sine 2000; currently second secretary, Polish Embassy,
Visits to Canada were paid by undersecretary of state at the Ministry of National Defence Tadeusz Diem, and
undersecretaries of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Grażyna Bernatowicz and Stefan Meller.
An impulse to the intensification of Polish-Mexican relations came with the assumption of the
highest office in Mexico by a democratically elected president, Vincente Fox. In April political
consultations at a vice-ministerial level were held in Mexico City to review bilateral co-operation in the
political and economic sphere, and also the treaty basis for this co-operation. Mexico perceives Poland
as a political and economic leader in Central and Eastern Europe, and a country whose importance will
grow in step with progress of European integration. Also in April, Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek
stayed in Mexico with an unofficial visit. He repeated an invitation for President Fox to pay an official visit
to Poland. The invitation was accepted, and the visit was planned to take place in spring 2002. In June
bilateral economic consultations were held. Both countries also developed their co-operation at the
parliamentary and regional level and in the forum of international organisations, especially the OECD
and the UN (where Poland supported Mexico in elections to the Security Council). Poland and Mexico
consulted their respective positions on human rights observance in Cuba.
Two-way trade picked up, with Poland recording a surplus for the first time in several years. The
combined value of mutual exchanges reached $188 million (up by 34% from 2000), including $104
million in exports from Poland (up 62%) and $84 million in imports from Mexico (up 10%).
The main Polish exports to Mexico are products of the food, chemical, engineering and furniture
industry, while major imports include products of the electronic, motor and food industries. Vast
opportunities still exist for an increase in Polish sales in the shipbuilding, aircraft and engineering
sectors. When Poland becomes an EU member state, it will be automatically covered by the provisions
of the EU-Mexico free trade agreement, which will help to eliminate the trade barriers currently in place.
In the course of 2001, the first, although still small, Polish investments in Mexico were recorded.
As part of Polish culture promotion, several events were held in Mexico within the International
Ignacy Paderewski Year, and presentations were staged of latest achievements in the field of cinema (a
Polish Films Festival was organised and the Quo Vadis movie was screened), theatre, music and plastic
Following the removal of the visa requirement in 1999, the number of Polish tourists to Mexico
has been growing. Regrettably, there has also been an increase in the number of Polish citizens seeking
illegal entry into the US from the Mexican territory.
Due to its potential, proximity and support for Polish integration with the European Union, the
Federal Republic of Germany counts among this country’s major partners. In 2001, just as in previous
years, the bilateral relations were very intense, with the heads of state and government meeting several
times. President Aleksander Kwaśniewski talked with President Johanes Rau and Chancellor Gerhard
Schröder during his stay in Berlin for the European Press Ball held in January under the slogan
―Germany and Poland—Friends and Partners in Europe.‖ The two presidents were guests of the 4th
Congress of Polish and German Twin Cities held in Gdańsk on 24 June to commemorate the 25th
anniversary of the first twinning agreement (between that city and Bremen) which had started a series of
more than 300 such arrangements. President Kwaśniewski was also a guest of honour at the
celebrations marking the Day of German Unity (3 October).
Polish-German political dialogue was focused on the process of European integration, with
bilateral talks dominated by EU enlargement and accession negotiations. At a meeting in Berlin on 6
April, both heads of government, Jerzy Buzek and Gerhard Schröder, devoted much attention to the
question of indemnities for former Third Reich slave labourers, following a controversy stirred by the 16
February agreement between the Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation (Poland) and the
Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (Germany).
An important event was the 4th intergovernmental consultation held in Frankfurt an der Oder on
18 June, i.e. almost exactly ten years after the conclusion of the bilateral Treaty of Good
Neighbourliness and Friendly Co-operation. Taking part in the consultations were: the Polish prime
minister, the German federal chancellor, the two countries’ ministers of foreign affairs, internal affairs
Paweł Bogdziewicz, born 1974; graduate, Economics Department, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin;
staff member of the American Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Both governments declared the will to settle the contentious issues swiftly. Agreement was reached at the turn of
November and in early December 2001, when both foundations arranged for Polish claimants’ losses (from an
unfavourable rate of exchange in currency settlements) to be compensated for with interest on capital kept on the
accounts of these foundations.
and defence, the Polish minister of education and the German federal minister for family, senior citizens,
women and youth. Also present were secretaries of state at the ministries of the economy and the
environment from both sides. In addition to Poland’s accession to the EU, the talks also covered the
most important bilateral and international issues. Calling for a departure from an emotional approach to
Polish-German relations, Prime Minister Buzek said these relations should be fleshed out with concrete
arrangements, and Chancellor Schröder pointed out that while nurturing good bilateral contacts, Poland
and Germany should also remember about their European perspective. He also said that new member
states’ participation in the 2004 elections to the European Parliament, as planned by the EU, required a
great effort on the part of Poland and the other candidate countries. During the consultation, agreements
were signed on military co-operation and environmental protection.
During a summer tour of Germany’s eastern Länder, Chancellor Schröder came to Szczecin on
14 August to meet President Kwaśniewski and Prime Minister Buzek and discuss NATO and EU
expansion (with the president), and also the indemnification of former Third Reich slave labourers and
economic issues (with the prime minister). On 1 September, sixty-two years after the outbreak of World
War II, the Polish prime minister met in Jagniątkowo with Saxony’s Minister-President Kurt Biedenkopf.
The first foreign visit by the newly appointed Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller, paid just five
days after the swearing in ceremony, was to Berlin (21 October). During his talks there, Chancellor
Schröder reiterated German support for Poland’s EU accession in the first wave of enlargement, and
repeated the previous German position on the free movement of persons. The only way to meet Polish
expectations in that area, he said, was through bilateral negotiations on increasing the existing
contingents for Polish citizens permitted to take up employment in Germany. The parties agreed that the
subject would be taken up by both labour ministers. In his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD), Prime Minister Miller addressed the SDP congress in Nuremberg (19 November).
Intense contacts were also kept by both countries’ foreign ministers. Władysław Bartoszewski
and Joschka Fischer met in Berlin at the international Bertelsmann Forum (19 January) and at the
conference ―Support for Expansion of Economic Co-operation in the Baltic Sea Region‖ (13 March).
Minister Bartoszewski spoke to German ambassadors at their annual get-together in Berlin (3
September), and was decorated with the German Grand Cross of the Order of Merit in recognition of his
contribution to reconciliation among Germans, Poles and Jews. During Mr Fischer’s working visit to
Warsaw (8 November) at the invitation of Minister Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, the two reviewed
international issues, Poland’s accession to the EU and bilateral questions, with particular emphasis on
the Foundation for Polish-German Co-operation and border crossings. As a result of Minister
Cimoszewicz’s meeting with former Federal Minister of Defence, Volker Rühe (27 November), the
Polish government established working contacts with the CDU opposition party.
An important role in bilateral relations was played by inter-parliamentary contacts. The
parliamentary caucuses for contacts with the other party, established at the Polish Sejm and the
German Bundestag, held a conference in Szczecin on the ―Chances and Challenges on Polish-German
Borderland Prior to EU Enlargement‖ (2 April), at which they adopted a joint declaration. And both
parliaments’ European integration committees held their first joint session in Słubice (15 May),
discussing the borderland’s economic condition, transfrontier co-operation, free movement of labour
and internal security. A delegation of the Polish-German parliamentary caucus stayed in Berlin in June.
Among the traditionally intense interministerial contacts mention should be made of: the 10th
session of the Council of the Organisation for Polish-German Youth Co-operation held in Berlin in the
presence of Polish Education Minister Edmund Wittbrodt and the German Federal Minister for Family,
Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Christine Bergmann (21–22 February); consultations among the
Polish, German and Danish defence ministers in Berlin (27 April) and Copenhagen (13 November),
Polish National Bank (NBP) President Leszek Balcerowicz’s Berlin talks with German Finance Minister
H. Eichel and with businesspeople (5 April); and meetings held in Berlin by Chairman of the Committee
for Scientific Research Michał Kleiber with heads of German research organisations (5–6 December).
An increasingly weighty contribution to Polish-German contacts came from transfrontier and
inter-regional co-operation. The subject was discussed at a meeting which Ministers Bartoszewski and
Fischer had in Wrocław with minister-presidents of German Länder and chief local government
executives and voivods of Polish voivodships (17 May). Visits to Poland were paid by the following
minister-presidents: Edmund Stoiber of Bavaria (18 April), Sigmar Gabriel of Lower Saxony (5–9 May),
Manfred Stolpe of Brandenburg (4–6 June) and Herald Ringstorff of Mecklenburg–Vorpommern (13–14
September). At a meeting in Berlin held on the initiative of Brandenburg authorities, Minister-President
Stolpe and Berlin Mayor K. Wowereit played host to chief local government executives and voivods from
the Dolnośląskie, Lubuskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Wielkopolskie and Mazowieckie voivodships,
discussing improvements in transport connections, intensification of economic contacts, expansion of
youth exchanges and support for Polish language teaching.
In step with its development, the transfrontier and interregional co-operation moved deeper into
the local level, involving local territorial units (gminas) and the institutions and organisations concerned.
The areas where Poland’s borderland gminas collaborate with their German counterparts include
cross-border traffic, retailing, tourism, transportation and car-park facilities, border waters, waste
recycling and flood control. These contacts have been promoted since 1994 by the Gorzów
Wielkopolski-based Polish-German Association for Economic Support established by the German
Länder and Polish voivodships in the border area. In September the Polish and German governments
signed an agreement on providing DM1.18 million parity financing for the association starting from 2001.
And executive committees of Polish poviats and German districts held a conference in Brynk (near
Tarnowskie Góry) devoted to working out the principles and targets of co-operation in the context of
The Episcopal Conferences of both countries signed an agreement in Warsaw on 17
September, providing for a transfer to dioceses in northern Poland of 3,661 parish books carried to
Germany towards the end of World War II.
Germany has been Poland’s largest trading partner since 1990. It now accounts for 34.4% of
Polish total exports and 24.0% of imports. The 2001 figure for two-way trade was $24,459 million, i.e.
$1,715 million more than a year earlier. The growth was generated primarily by Polish sales, which
reached $12,414 million against $12,045 million worth of imports. For the first time since 1996 Poland
registered a trade surplus with Germany, of $369 million. The main articles in Polish shipments to that
country included non-electrical machinery and equipment, furniture with lightning equipment, vehicles,
clothing/knitwear and electrical machinery and appliances. Imports from Germany were dominated by
final products, with nearly 45% accounted for by means of transport (mainly cars) and machinery and
For years Polish-German relations have been affected by barriers posed to Polish exports of
construction and installation services. Poles’ access to the German market has been restricted in the
wake of a construction crisis there. On Poland’s initiative, a mixed commission headed by
undersecretaries of state at the Polish Ministry of the Economy and the German Federal Ministry of
Labour held a meeting in Warsaw (14 March). In December, after the two heads of government had
agreed to start talks on expanding the contingent for Polish citizens taking up employment in Germany,
such negotiations were held at the Federal Ministry of Labour in Berlin.
The second most important area of bilateral economic co-operation, after trade, has been
investment. At the end of 2001, Germany’s cumulative investment in Poland reached $7.1 billion,
placing it on the third position in the by-country classification. And on the list of 906 largest investor
companies, as compiled by the State Agency for Foreign Investment (PAIZ), there were 270 German
entrants. These were led by Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank AG, with $1 billion investments (in Bank
Przemysłowo-Handlowy and Wielkopolski Bank Rolny), Metro AG with $625 million (supermarkets and
services), and Reemtsma with $465 million (tobacco companies WWT Poznań, Jankowice and
Kościan). Smaller German investments that did not make it to the PAIZ list are estimated to approach $2
billion, coming from some 6,000 mostly small and medium-sized companies. The bulk of German capital
comes to banking and finance, wholesaling and retailing, motor industry, construction materials, food
processing and chemicals. The Polish investments in Germany, mainly in retailing and services, are
estimated at DM250 million.
France. Weimar Triangle
Polish-French relations in 2001 were marked by both parties’ will to maintain political contacts
at the highest level, which, however, was not accompanied by in-depth political dialogue.
Bilateral relations over the past years have been encumbered by two-way stereotypes and
mutual wariness. On both sides, there have lingered certain misconceptions about the other partner,
and even misunderstanding of its position and role in Europe and the world. Some sections of the Polish
public, for example, perceive France as a country not quite supportive of European Union enlargement,
while in France Poles are being seen as overly pro-American. There were also tensions caused, for
example, by French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine’s statement at a press conference in Brussels
(held on 19 November after a session of the General Affairs Council) about Poland’s alleged support for
US-British air raids of Iraq or about a possible admission to the EU of Bulgaria and Romania—which
many observers interpreted as an attempt to slow down enlargement and exert pressure on an
―unprepared Poland.‖ Coming into the picture are also misgivings about enlargement among some
Jadwiga Stachura, born 1947; graduate Law Faculty of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and Warsaw
University’s School of Journalism; doctor of political sciences; with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1993;
currently, senior counsellor to the minister at the Department of Strategy and Foreign Policy Planning.
segments of the French public. Apart from declarations, it would be hard to pinpoint on the part of
France any ―strong, unequivocal gesture of support‖ for Poland in its negotiations with the Union. It must
be admitted, though, that France did not disturb the negotiations in a manner done by Germany and
Austria (restrictions on the free movement of persons) or the Netherlands (renegotiations of agricultural
Attempts to improve the atmosphere around Polish-French relations, especially in connection
with mutual visits by foreign ministers, failed to produce the expected results. But it must be noted that
Poland was the first country visited by Minister Védrine after the French presidency of the EU. France in
turn was the first EU member state to ratify the Treaty of Nice (12 June). The overall tone of the
ratification debate in the National Assembly, and many statements by individual deputies, were clearly in
favour of enlargement. Minister Védrine urged the deputies to perceive future EU expansion ―not as a
risk, but rather a chance for the EU and for France.‖
In must also be emphasised that during a national debate on the future of the Union, held in
France in 2001, the enlargement was perceived primarily in the Polish context. The opinions presented
were for the most part favourable to Poland. French opinion poll findings also indicated wide public
support in that country for Poland’s accession to the EU, which stood in contrast to the data published by
Eurobarometer in Brussels.
An interesting initiative aimed at deepening Polish-French dialogue on Europe was a
conference ―Poland and France in the European Union‖ held in Warsaw (21–22 June) and attended by
Prime Minister Buzek, Ministers Bartoszewski and Kułakowski, and, representing France, Minister for
European Affairs Pierre Moscovici.
Another change in mutual contacts is that the previous historical and sentimental background of
bilateral relations no longer carries so much weight. This kind of affinity with Poland is no longer felt by
the younger generation of the French, while among their elders some kind of fatigue with Polish
historical and patriotic rhetoric can be seen. This provokes understandable bitterness in some quarters
Today, this country is viewed in France from the angle of its democratic and economic
development, preparedness for EU accession, and a vision of Europe and the world of the future.
The following were the most important bilateral political contacts in 2001: Prime Minister Leszek
Miller’s working visit to Paris (10 December), an official visit to Poland by National Assembly Speaker
Raymond Forni (1–2 February), working visits by Foreign Ministers: Védrine in Warsaw (16 March) and
Bartoszewski in Paris (3–4 July), and Leszek Miller’s visit to Paris in his capacity as SLD party leader,
during which he was received by the French president and prime minister (5 September). There was
also a short meeting between Foreign Ministers Cimoszewicz and Védrine in New York, at a session of
the UN General Assembly (11 November). Poland’s chief negotiator in accession talks, Jan Kułakowski,
stayed several times in France, for example, on 2 May he held talks in Paris with Minister Pierre
Top on the agenda in talks between both countries’ politicians were bilateral-co-operation
issues and Poland’s negotiations with the Union. By tradition, France put emphasis on the promotion of
French investments and economic projects in Poland.
A characteristic feature of Polish-French relations over the past years has been that economic
co-operation by far exceeds political contacts in terms of quality and intensity. In 2001 two-way trade
went up (with Poland running a deficit), and French investment activity in Poland continued at a high
level. The growth of trade, by 18% on a year earlier, was achieved despite an economic slowdown
throughout Europe, including Poland. Imports from France registered at €3.5 billion, and exports to that
country at €2 billion, but the latter grew more rapidly (up 23.6%) than the former (17.1%). As France’s
14th largest market and 29th supplier globally, Poland is also its most important partner in Central and
Eastern Europe. And for Poland, France is the third/fourth largest trading partner.
Despite a certain slowdown in 2001, France retained the leadership position among foreign
investors in this country. In a decade to 2001, its Polish investments approached $9.5 billion, and further
commitments are estimated at another $1 billion (mainly in distribution). A major French project in 2001
was Credit Agricole’s €520 million acquisition of 75% stakes in Lukas Bank SA and in Europejski
Fundusz Leasingowy, to form Credit Agricole Polska holding company. The French partners expressed
interest in more investments in food processing, heavy industries, armaments, construction, road and
transport infrastructure and the environment.
An important, if underestimated, element of Polish-French relations has been interregional
co-operation. It embraces 127 agreements involving mostly towns and cities in both countries (and in
According to figures from the Department for Economics and Trade at the Polish Embassy in France.
only several instances, rural communities), and 44 agreements involving poviats and voivodships in
Poland and departments and regions in France.
In a tendency observed for several years now, attempts have been made to add a
European-integration dimension to this collaboration. With local governments turning in their search for
financing to EU programmes, the existing contacts have often been broadened to include third-country
partners (as exemplified by projects in which the city of Poznań teamed up with Rennes and the German
city of Jena, and Olecko joined forces with Marly, Lithuania’s Vilkaviskis and Latvia’s Valmiera).
An institution of special importance for Polish-French contacts, including interregional
co-operation, is the France-Poland Foundation, which has played a weighty role in furthering local
democracy in Poland and stimulating co-operation between local governments in both countries. For the
past two years, though, with no new projects in sight, the foundation seems to have been losing
momentum. One explanation may be a diminishing annual subsidy to finance its operations as provided
by the French government, and the announcement of its total abandonment by 2004.
The Weimar Triangle remains a ―political institution‖ of a huge, even if still untapped, potential.
In 2001, when it largely provided a platform for political dialogue among Poland, France and Germany,
the most important events included: a summit in Hambach, attended by Polish and French presidents
and the German chancellor (27 February), and tripartite meetings of finance ministers in Warsaw (1
June) and of defence ministers in Paris (4–5 July). Despite the Weimar Triangle 10th anniversary falling
on 2001, France failed to organise an annual meeting of foreign ministers, and the occasion went
virtually unnoticed in France.
Co-operation within the Weimar Triangle requires commitment from all three partners. In reality,
its intensity is largely contingent on the condition of Franco-German relations. And it should be
remembered that these relations were exceptionally tense after the EU’s Nice summit in December
2000. Bilateral consultations initiated in January 2001 within the so-called Blasheim process (so named
after the town in which the first of Franco-German summits in 2001 took place) failed to produce the
expected results. In these circumstances, there was little reason to expect particularly intense activity on
the part of Poland’s French and German partners within the Weimar framework.
Despite regular top-level contacts between Polish and French leaders, there is a need for
deepening the political dialogue on bilateral issues, the future of the European Union, and Europe’s role
and position in the world. Such dialogue, to be founded on both countries’ position and role in a future
enlarged EU, requires mutual good will in the assessment of the partner’s position and activities.
France is one of few countries in the world pursuing a global foreign policy. It has the means to
exerts its political, economic, military and cultural influence in all corners of the globe. It is second only to
the US in terms of the size of its diplomatic and consular network. According to former Foreign Minister
Védrine, France ranks among 6–7 world powers (with the US a superpower), while Poland belongs to a
group of regional powers. It is from this viewpoint that the bilateral relations should be viewed and
assessed, which may reveal one reason behind the discrepancy between Polish expectations and the
hard facts in the country’s relations with France.
The position of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a very
important partner for this country—both in bilateral contacts and in the process of Poland’s integration
with Euro-Atlantic structures—further consolidated in 2001, reflecting the UK’s growing political
importance within the European Union, London’s declared friendly attitude towards Polish effort to join
the EU, and the concurrence of both countries’ visions of European integration. The importance that the
UK assigns to contacts with Poland was demonstrated by an initiative to prepare joint proposals on
future evolution of co-operation within the EU, which were later submitted to the Laeken summit as a
Polish-British contribution to the discussion on the future of the Union. During a meeting in London on 2
November, Prime Ministers Leszek Miller and Tony Blair signed a joint declaration ―The Future of
Europe: Bringing Europe Closer to Citizens. Polish-British Contribution to the Debate.‖ The document
set out the lines along which, in the opinion of both heads of government, the debate on the European
H. Védrine, Les cartes de la France à l’heure de la mondialisation, Paris, 2000.
Mariusz Kazana, born 1960; graduate of Warsaw University’s Law Department; with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
since 1988; counsellor at the Polish Embassy in France since 1999.
Union’s future should be conducted. During talks with his Polish guest, Mr Blair supported Poland’s
position that the candidate countries should be invited as equal participants to the Convention preparing
the next Intergovernmental Conference. He also emphasised that he could not imagine the coming EU
enlargement without Poland. The two prime ministers also expressed interest in expanding co-operation
between the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Labour Party.
Intense contacts were held by both countries’ cabinet members in charge of foreign affairs.
During his visit to London (11–12 March), Władysław Bartoszewski heard Robin Cook’s assurances of
the UK’s full support for Polish entry into the EU, and conviction that the next EU summit, at Gothenburg,
would witness a political breakthrough on the timetable for enlargement. Mr Bartoszewski in turn averred
that the fears of an inflow of Polish labour into the UK were ungrounded. His talks with Defence
Secretary Geoffrey Hoon focused on collaboration within the North Atlantic Alliance, stabilisation of the
Balkan situation, possible assistance to the Polish-Ukrainian battalion, and opportunities for
co-operation between both countries’ defence industries. On 30 October Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
paid a visit to Warsaw, where he met with Prime Minister Leszek Miller and Foreign Minister
Defence Secretary Hoon paid a visit to Poland (13–14 February), during which he was received
by President Kwaśniewski. On 28–30 September Jan Kułakowski, the Polish government’s
plenipotentiary for accession negotiations, held talks in London with British partners, delivered a lecture
at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and took part in a debate organised by the Centre for
A Polish-British historical commission appointed to document the Polish intelligence services’
activity in World War II and co-operation with their British counterparts continued its proceedings in
2001, planning to complete the research work by June 2002. As in previous years, British partners were
involved in twinning arrangements aimed to grant assistance to Poland in its preparations for EU
membership. There were 18 such projects, with the UK contributing as the main partner to programmes
to improve the management of the eastern border, prepare Poland for participation in the EU’s Common
Agricultural Policy, and restrict the adverse social consequences of agricultural restructuring.
On the trade front, the last two years saw an unprecedented increase in Polish exports to the
UK: up 27% in 2001, and up 29% in 2000. As a result, Poland’s trade deficit with that country narrowed
in 2001 to $293 million. Exports and imports run at $1,799 million and $2,092 million respectively, adding
up to $3,892 million. This level put Poland among the UK’s largest trading partners in Central and
Eastern Europe and the former USSR, on a par with the Russian Federation.
In Polish exports to the UK, the shares of machinery and mechanical appliances and means of
transport went up to, respectively, 27% and 15%, while those of coal, silver, copper and sawn timber
were on the decline. Increasingly, Polish-made goods were available in Great Britain via distribution
channels run by foreign owners of Polish-based companies. Export growth was also stimulated by the
―Opportunity of Poland‖ promotional campaign of the British Ministry of Industry and Trade, initiated
back in February 1999, which was accompanied by many important promotional events organised by,
for example, the London Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry and local
authorities. In the campaign, Poland was presented as an important economic partner and an attractive
venue for British direct investments. In imports from the UK, the top three positions were taken by
machinery and mechanical appliances, chemical industry products (mainly pharmaceuticals) and
vehicles, while the share of crude oil and oil products went down.
British investments in Poland totalled $2,667 million, placing the UK on the sixth position in the
by-country rankings. The largest investor was Tesco ($530 million), followed by BP International ($390.5
million) and Shell Overseas Holdings Ltd. ($305.2 million).
Poland is Italy’s main Central European partner, and in 2001 Italy not only kept, but even
strengthened its position as one of Poland’s most important partners among the European Union
countries. This fact was evidenced by Rome’s firm approval for EU enlargement (with an emphasis laid
on the political nature of the process) and by the support which the Italian government and most Italian
people granted to Poland’s aspirations to join the Union. This support, manifest for instance at the Nice
summit in December 2000, stimulated an intensive dialogue between the two countries. The talks which
Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek had during his visit to Rome on 8 February with his Italian counterpart
Giuliano Amato focused on Poland’s integration with the EU. Prime Ministers Buzek and Amato also
discussed economic issues, including ways to balance two-way trade, expansion of defence industry
contacts (through Italy’s greater contribution to privatising and modernising this sector in Poland), and
The issues indicated in the declaration were expanded upon in both prime ministers’ joint article, ―A Bigger, Bolder
Europe,‖ published by Rzeczpospolita daily (23 March 2002) and also available from the Guardian online edition.
closer co-operation between both countries’ small and medium-size enterprises. An agreement was
reached on energising the Mixed Commission for Economic, Industrial, Scientific and Technological
Co-operation. After his meeting with Mr Buzek, Prime Minister Amato said Italy supported Poland’s
efforts to speed up the accession negotiations so that it could join the EU in 2003. Prime Minister Buzek
also had meetings in Rome with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and the speakers of the
Chamber of Deputies, Luciano Violante, and of the Senate, Nicola Mancino.
Mr Silvio Berlusconi, who became Italy’s new prime minister following the 13 May parliamentary
elections, was also friendly towards Poland. His cabinet indicated no intention of slowing down the EU’s
reforms and the enlargement process. And even though it used the term Eurorealism rather than
Euroenthusiasm to define its attitude towards the EU affairs, this cabinet called for a brisker debate on
the Union’s enlargement and functioning while taking more notice of national interests and differences.
The Central European summit held in Verbania, Northern Italy, on 21 June was an occasion for
a meeting between Presidents Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. Bilateral working
contacts devoted to integration were very intense in 2001, involving experts from the two countries’
Foreign and Labour Ministries and from the Polish Office of the Committee for European Integration.
Another important aspect of Polish-Italian relations was connected with interregional co-operation,
whose development and scope proved unequalled in Poland’s bilateral contacts with any EU partner.
This form of co-operation, which embraced 16 Polish voivodships and 19 Italian regions and
autonomous provinces, also served to promote Polish economic interests in Italy.
Italy was one of Poland’s major economic and trading partners among the developed countries
in 2001. It ranked second, after Germany, in trade with EU member-states, with two-way exchanges
totalling $6,097 million. Poland recorded a high deficit of $2.2 billion, however, with this figure slightly
higher than a year before. Polish exports ran at $1,948 million and imports at $4,148 million. Poland’s
sales to the Italian market included mainly vehicles, machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals
and related products, textiles and live animals and related products. The biggest purchases were:
machinery and mechanical appliances, fabrics and textiles, base metals and related products and
Italy is the fifth largest foreign investor on the Polish market. At the end of 2001 its investments
totalled $3,501 million, with 67 Italian firms bringing in over $1 million each. These included Fiat,
Unicredito (holdings in Bank Pekao SA), Lucchini (Warszawa steelworks) and Ferrero (confectionery).
Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland
Relations with the Nordic countries rank very high in Poland’s international contacts due to
geographical proximity and a community of interests. Poland is the main Central European partner for
the Nordic countries, whose capital involvement here is higher than elsewhere in the region.
The traditionally very intensive relations with Sweden gained new importance once Sweden
assumed the presidency of the European Union, during the first half of 2001. Since the 1990s Sweden
has been offering political and practical support to Poland’s reforms and endeavours to join the EU by
sharing its experience and lending effective assistance to adjustment processes. In 2001, 69% of the
Swedish people, i.e. more than in any other EU member state, declared themselves in favour of
Poland’s admission to the Union. Sweden was unwilling to accept the idea of transforming the EU into a
European super-state, and in this respect Stockholm’s position coincided with that of Warsaw. During its
presidency of the EU, the Swedish government made EU enlargement an issue of top priority, ranking
as high as the fight against unemployment and environmental protection. Stockholm hoped that
progress in the accession process could be obtained by means of a breakthrough in negotiations with
the candidate countries. Unfortunately, the plans of the Swedish presidency proved difficult to realise
and, as the negotiations did not proceed as quickly as expected, Stockholm failed to speed up the
closures of new negotiating chapters.
The question of EU enlargement dominated the Polish-Swedish political dialogue in 2001. It was
also the main subject of talks which President Aleksander Kwaśniewski conducted with Prime Minister
Göran Persson during his working visit to Sweden on 10–11 May. On that occasion Mr Kwaśniewski
delivered a lecture ―Enlarged European Union: Towards Political Union‖ at the Higher School of
Commerce in Stockholm. The pace of accession negotiations was also one of the major topics of Prime
Minister Jerzy Buzek’s visit to Stockholm on 7 February. Mr Persson encouraged the Polish prime
minister to seek a compromise in negotiations with the EU on the free flow of capital (including land
sales), Poles’ eligibility for employment in the EU countries, and the environment. He pointed out that
compared to other candidate countries that had also started the accession negotiations in March 1998
Poland recorded some delays in the negotiating process. The two prime ministers also discussed
co-operation within the ―Knowledge-based Economy‖ project and the Baltic Sea region. Mr Buzek was
received by King Carl XVI Gustaf, spoke with Riksdag Speaker Brigitta Dahl, and had a meeting with a
group of Swedish businessmen. Prime Ministers Buzek and Persson met again at the Gothenburg
European Council in June 2001.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Władysław Bartoszewski took part in an international conference on
ways to combat different forms of intolerance and racism held in Stockholm on January 29–30, making a
speech on the Holocaust. Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, who replaced him after the change of cabinet in
Poland, laid emphasis on the development of co-operation in the Baltic Sea region during his visit to
Sweden on 16 November.
Intensive interparliamentary co-operation covered an exchange of experiences in legislation,
alignment with the Community acquis, and local government operations. Sejm and Senate Speakers
Marek Borowski and Longin Pastusiak attended a conference of European parliamentary speakers held
in Stockholm on 16–17 November.
Interministerial contacts reached a satisfactory level, involving the ministries of agriculture,
environment, transport, internal affairs, finance, communications and privatisation. Scientific and
cultural contacts developed within the framework of a programme for Polish-Swedish co-operation in
culture, science and education in 1998–2001. It embraced exchange of scholarships, visits and
fellowships as well as direct contacts between higher schools. Polish and Swedish universities and
colleges co-operate under the Socrates and Visby programmes. The Polish Institute in Stockholm is
active organising and co-organising culture events in Sweden.
Poland and Sweden take an active part in regional co-operation in the Baltic Sea region. Within
its framework, several dozen initiatives of interministerial and civic character have been launched.
Regular multilateral meetings, including those attended by parliamentarians from the Baltic Sea states,
are another form of such co-operation.
High dynamics of Polish exports to Sweden produced a drop in the trade deficit recorded by
Poland to $366 million in 2001. Two-way trade totalled $2,335 million, with Polish sales running at
$984.4 million and purchases at $1,350 million. In the period to 2001, Swedish companies invested $2.3
billion in Poland, ranking 8th in the by-country classification. The biggest individual investors were: 1)
Vattenfall ($444 million), a shareholder in Elektrociepłownie Warszawskie SA electricity/heat producers
and Górnośląskie Zakłady Energetyczne distributors; 2) Telia AB ($340 million), telecommunications; 3)
ABB ($310.2 million), electrical engineering; 4) Skanska Group ($187.2 million), construction, real
estate; and 5) IKEA ($150 million), furniture.
Relations with Denmark developed into good neighbourly co-operation, with that country
granting distinct support to Poland’s integration with the European structures. Yet the centre-right
Anders Fogh Rasmussen government, which came into power following the November 2001 elections,
placed greater emphasis—compared to its social-democratic/liberal predecessor led by Poul Nyrup
Rasmussen—on candidate countries’ compliance with the EU membership criteria, while accentuating
in a lesser degree the political aspects of the enlargement process. In the opinion of A. F. Rasmussen
and his cabinet, the first stage of enlargement should embrace as many candidates as possible, but it
did not have to be a grand enlargement, and should not be delayed because of some candidates’ failure
to get ready on time. The EU expansion was announced as a priority of the Danish presidency in the
second half of 2002.
The talks which Prime Ministers Jerzy Buzek and P. N. Rasmussen had in Copenhagen (11
June) and in Warsaw (2 July) focused on the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Denmark to
Poland. Intending to guarantee safe energy supplies to Poland and reduce the economy’s dependence
on gas shipments from Russia, the Buzek cabinet attached special importance to differentiating the
sources of natural gas supplies. In the presence of the two prime ministers, on 2 July, representatives of
the PGNiG natural gas and oil mining company and the DONG Dansk Olie og Naturgas consortium
signed a contract for the supply of 16 billion m of natural gas over eight years. Appended to the
contract was a political declaration. During the signing ceremony Mr Buzek observed that diversification
of supply sources translated into Poland’s greater economic security, and that the Danish supplies
should bring down the price of natural gas. Mr Rasmussen assured the Polish prime minister of
Denmark’s support for Polish aspirations to join the EU.
During a visit to Poland on March 28, Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft had talks with
his Polish counterpart Władysław Bartoszewski concerning EU enlargement, security policy, regional
co-operation and bilateral relations. Poland raised the question of barriers which Polish capital
Under this contract, a 230 kilometre Baltic Pipe running across the Baltic from Rodvig in Zealand to Niechorze in
Zachodniopomorskie voivodship is to be laid by a consortium controlled in two thirds by DONG and in one third by
PGNiG. The contract left an option for Norwegian Statoil to join the consortium by March 2002, which would mean
extending the pipeline to Norway and connecting it with the Norwegian natural gas supply network. Thus Poland
would gain access to Norwegian natural gas and further diversify its supply sources. The pipeline is to be laid by
2003 and put to use in September 2004.
equipment exporters encountered in Denmark when seeking work permits for their installation
personnel. Mr Lykketoft was received by President Kwaśniewski and Prime Minister Buzek.
As in the past years, military co-operation between Poland and Denmark was very intense. On
27 April Defence Ministers Bronisław Komorowski from Poland, Jan Troejborg from Denmark and
Germany’s Rudolf Scharping met in Berlin. In June, Mr Troejborg paid a visit to Poland and on 13
November Poland’s new Defence Minister Jerzy Szmajdziński met in Denmark with his Danish and
German counterparts to discuss questions of the fight against terrorism, relations with Russia and NATO
A group of activists from Danish farmers’ organisations paid a study visit to Poland on 18–20
October under a programme to promote Poland’s EU membership. Delegates from 18 Danish and 150
Polish firms attended the forum ―Promotion of Poland among Small and Medium-sized Enterprises‖ held
in Poznań on 16–18 October.
The Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy co-operated with its Danish counterpart in the
area of social welfare, assistance to the disabled, and social security. The ministries of internal affairs
worked together at the Council of the Baltic Sea States (within a taskforce on organised crime in the
Baltic Sea region), Interpol and Baltkom. Co-operation between the Polish and Danish police and border
guards developed dynamically, too. Environment ministries jointly implemented projects in the areas of
water supply and sewerage, nature conservation and ecology-friendly municipal heating systems.
Infrastructure ministries acted jointly to raise the safety of shipping and protect the marine environment
against contamination. The Polish Ministry of Regional Development and Construction and the Danish
Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs signed a co-operation agreement in 2001.
On 6 December Poland and Denmark concluded a convention on the avoidance of double
taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion in respect of taxes on income and capital.
Two-way trade totalled $1,814 million in 2001, marking a 10.5% rise on a year earlier. Polish
exports reached $933.1 million and imports $880.6 million. As in the previous two years, Poland
recorded a trade surplus, which in 2001 amounted to $52.5 million. Danish companies’ investment in
Poland rose in 2001 to reach a cumulative $915 million, giving them the 13th place in the by-country
rankings. The biggest Danish investors in Poland included: 1) Danish Investment Fund for Central and
Eastern Europe ($158,3 million); 2) Icopal ($93 million), building materials; 3) Soras Holding A/S ($85
million), real estate; 4) Teledenmark Internationale A/S ($75 million), cellular telecommunications.
Relations with Finland were marked by a high level of mutual contacts. As an advocate of
deeper European integration, Finland spoke in favour of conducting the Union’s institutional reforms so
as to create conditions for quick enlargement, streamline decision-making and prevent domination by
big member-states. The strongest support for the enlargement came in Finland from the political and
business elites, while at the same time large sections of the Finnish people exhibited an indifferent or
even reluctant attitude. The question of enlargement received much attention during Finnish President
Tarja Halonen’s visit to Poland (25–26 April). During her talks with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski,
Ms Halonen expressed support for Poland’s membership aspirations, yet she emphasised that as one of
the biggest countries in Europe Poland could not expect a lenient treatment. The Finnish president
offered to share experience with Poland in protecting the EU’s external borders. Another subject of the
talks was development of co-operation in the Baltic Sea region and within the EU’s Northern Dimension.
President Halonen had another meeting with Mr Kwaśniewski during a ceremony to bid farewell to
Estonian President Lennart Meri held in Tallinn in September.
Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek sought Finnish support for speeding up the accession negotiations
with the EU during his working visit to Helsinki (23–24 February), where he had meetings with Prime
Minister Paavo Lipponen and President Halonen. Minister of Foreign Affairs Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz
spoke with his Finnish counterpart during the November session of the UN General Assembly. Military
co-operation—bilateral and multilateral— was developing vigorously within BALTSEA and the
Polish-Nordic Brigade (SFOR). In September, Finnish Defence Minister J. Jan-Erik Enestam came on
an official visit to Poland. There was also an intensification of interregional co-operation, which in 2001
involved the offices of chief local-government executives from the Podlaskie, Opolskie, Świętokrzyskie
and Karpackie voivodships and Finnish regional councils. In May, during Minister of Regional
Development and Construction Jerzy Kropiwnicki’s visit to Finland, the discussions were devoted to
Finnish regions’ experiences in co-operation within the EU framework.
Polish priests and nuns have provided pastoral guidance in many parts of Finland. On 27
January Fr Józef Wróbel, a professor at KUL Catholic University, was appointed the Bishop of Helsinki
As in the past years, two-way trade was affected by serious imbalance, although Poland’s deficit
dropped to $549.8 million, reflecting an export growth in 2001. Two-way exchanges reached $1,148
million, with Polish shipments at $299 million and imports at $848.8 million. Finnish companies have
invested $424.1 million in Poland, placing 21st in the by-country foreign investors rankings. Most Finnish
capital was brought in by Sampo ($200 million in the insurance sector), Sanitec (sanitary ware) and
Paroc Group (building materials).
In relations with Norway the most important event was the completion of several years of
negotiations on the purchase of Norwegian natural gas. During his visit to Oslo on 3 September, Prime
Minister Jerzy Buzek and his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg signed a declaration on
co-operation in the energy sector. They expressed satisfaction with a good state of bilateral relations
and emphasised the importance of the natural gas supplies contract. Serving as a basis for both
countries’ further co-operation in the energy sector, the contract should also help boost contacts in other
areas and strengthen integration in the Baltic Sea region. In the presence of both prime ministers,
representatives of the PGNiG natural gas and oil mining company and the Norwegian Negotiating
11 3 12
Committee signed a long-term agreement on the purchase by Poland of 74 billion m of natural gas.
Mr Buzek termed it one of his cabinet’s major achievements. In his opinion, finding a new, non-eastern
gas supplier will provide, along with NATO membership, an important guarantee of Poland’s security in
the decades to come. Also, with the pipelines running from east to west and from north to south of its
territory, Poland will be in a position to supply natural gas to its neighbours.
Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Thorbjörn Jagland, who came on an official visit to Poland
on 5–6 June, discussed bilateral relations with Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski. The two
ministers praised the signing of a programme to recruit Polish medical personnel to work in Norway.
They paid much attention to security within the NATO framework and to NATO’s further expansion.
Minister Jagland declared interest in tighter co-operation with NATO’s six non-EU member-states in the
context of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, and he emphasised Norway’s support for
Poland’s EU membership aspirations. He was received by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and by
Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek.
As in the previous years, Polish-Norwegian military co-operation developed dynamically. In
2001, officers from the 21st Podhale Riflemen Brigade took part in the Joint Winter military exercises in
northern Norway, Polish warships participated in the Blue Game manoeuvres in the North Sea, and a
Polish airforce unit for the first time ever was present at NATO Air Meet exercises over Norway. The
armed forces’ representatives were taking part in courses and seminars organised by both countries.
Polish and Norwegian battalions (along with battalions from Denmark, Sweden and Finland) were
included in the Nordic-Polish Brigade (SFOR) taking part in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. An
important contribution to bilateral co-operation in the defence area came from scientific, technological
and industrial co-operation.
Interministerial contacts developed mainly in the fields of the environment and transport.
Commercial road haulage grew as a result of both countries’ liberal licensing policies, and there was
also an expansion of co-operation between Polish and Norwegian ports, especially between
Szczecin-Świnoujście and its partners in Norway. The main conduits for regional co-operation were the
CBSS, the Union of Baltic Cities and the Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation Conference.
Two-way trade developed dynamically to $898.5 million in 2001. As in the past years, Poland
registered a deficit, at $83.9 million, with exports running at $407.3 million and imports at $491.2 million.
Norwegian firms invested around $500 million in Poland and placed 17th in the by-country foreign
investor rankings. The biggest individual investors were: Norsk Hydro (chemicals, building materials,
fertilisers, aluminium); Statoil (distribution of petroleum products); Orkla media (shareholder in the
Rzeczpospolita daily and regional press) and Rema 1000 (supermarkets).
Iceland supported Poland’s aspirations to join the European Union, while at the same time
arguing that the bloc’s enlargement necessitated renegotiations of the European Economic Area
agreement. In August a seminar was held in Reykjavik on EU expansion and the impact of Poland’s EU
membership on bilateral co-operation. It was attended by undersecretaries of state P. Samecki from the
Office of the Council for European Integration and R. Gmyrek from the Ministry of Agriculture. During
their talks with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Exports, Halldor Ásgrimsson, and of Fishing, Arni
Mathiesen, a proposal was formulated to establish a bilateral working group for economic co-operation
The Committee represented the following Norwegian companies: Statoil ASA, Norsk Hydro Produksjon a.s.,
TotalFinaElf Exploration Norge AS, A/S Norskeshell and Mobil Exploration Norway Inc.
12 3 3
The shipments are to start in 2008 with 2.5 billion m , increasing gradually to 5 billion m /year in 2011, and then
continue for another 13 years. The contract contains the ―take or pay‖ provision, which means that the supplies will
continue irrespective of actual demand. Lifted in the North Sea, the natural gas will be reaching Niechorze through
a 1,100 km long pipeline, whose construction will be financed by Norwegian corporations.
The leader of the SLD main opposition party, Leszek Miller, announced that once his party won the elections it
would review the contract concluded by the Buzek cabinet. The SLD feared that by signing the contracts with
Norway and Denmark Poland ordered more natural gas than it needed.
and a Polish-Icelandic chamber of commerce, and also to establish contacts between the Maritime
Fishing Institute in Gdynia and the Maritime Research Institute in Reykjavik. Polish exports grew
remarkably in 2001 to reach $198.5 million. Imports rose as well, to $24.9 million, with Poland recording
a trade surplus of $173.6 million. Shiprepair services by Polish yards, coal and briquettes topped the
sales list, while leather and fish were the main Polish imports from Iceland.
Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg
The Benelux countries are important political and economic partners for Poland.
Relations with Belgium in 2001 were influenced by that country’s presidency of the European
Union in the second half of the year. Although a proponent of enlargement, the Kingdom of Belgium
nevertheless took a much more restrained attitude towards Poland’s pursuit of Union membership as
compared with the Nordic countries. Accession negotiations came a distant fifth on the Belgian
presidency’s priority list. Yet in bilateral contacts with that country EU enlargement was at the top of the
agenda. When visiting Brussels for inauguration of the Europalia 2001 Festival (1–2 October), President
Aleksander Kwaśniewski met King of the Belgians, Albert II, and Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, with
whom he discussed Poland’s prospects of joining the EU and co-operation with the United States in the
fight against terrorism. This country’s integration with the Union was discussed by Prime Ministers
Buzek and Verhofstadt at a meeting held in connection with Mr Buzek’s visit to European and NATO
institutions (18 January). The accession negotiations under the Belgian presidency and bilateral
questions were taken up during Mr Verhofstadt’s visit to Warsaw on 13–14 February. In talks with Prime
Minister Buzek, President Kwaśniewski and head of the Sejm’s European Law Commission Bronisław
Geremek, the Belgian prime minister declared the EU’s readiness to do everything in its power to ensure
a successful completion of the negotiations. He also said that the particular date on which to complete
the negotiations would come as a result of action by both parties. Prime Minister Buzek stayed on a visit
in Brussels on 5 October, and Prime Minister Verhofstadt, during his stay in Warsaw to inaugurate the
academic year at the College of Europe in Natolin (23 October), was received by President Kwaśniewski
and held talks with Prime Minister Leszek Miller and Foreign Minister Cimoszewicz. He urged his
interlocutors to exhibit more negotiating flexibility and speed up the pace of preparations for accession.
On the interparliamentary level, Chamber of Representatives Speaker Herman De Croo paid a
visit to Poland (3–5 April) and was received by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski. Also staying in this
country was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Traffic and Transport Isabelle Durant (3 April).
During a visit by Finance Minister Didier Reynders (20 August), both countries signed a convention for
the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and
capital. Poland’s expanding contacts with Belgium’s constituent parts, Flanders, Wallonia and the
Brussels-Capital Region—in place since the mid-1990s—received a boost from entry into force of
co-operation agreements with these entities.
Traditionally close contacts were held in the military field, with more than 20 projects carried out.
These included: the trawler ORP Mewa’s participation in Sandy Coast manoeuvres and her call at the
port of Zeerbruge in September, a stay in Belgium of a group of National Defence Academy
postgraduate students at the invitation of the Royal Higher Institute of Defence, and the participation of a
group of Belgian officers in the National Defence Academy’s war games at Rembertów (both events in
An event in Polish-Belgian relations, going beyond mere promotion of Polish culture and at the
same time assuming added importance in the context of this country’s pursuit of EU membership was
the Europalia 2001 Festival presenting Poland’s artistic output. Held between October and December in
Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the French city of Strasbourg, it promoted the most
interesting Polish cultural and artistic achievements and their authors through a series of exhibitions,
recitals, concerts, theatrical performances, film shows and literary meetings. Their combined audiences
are estimated at 120,000.
Polish-Belgian trade has been marked by high level and rapid growth. In 2001 it reached $2,409
million. Polish exports rose to $1,114 million, which, when coupled with $1,368 million worth of imports,
produced a reduction of this country’s deficit to $254.7 million. Highly processed goods (in the
machinery and mechanical appliances group) were the dominant items in Polish shipments, including
primary and secondary batteries and cells, household appliances and electronic equipment. Other
product groups included furniture, vehicles and transport equipment, textile machinery, and textiles.
Imports from Belgium were led be chemicals and related products, plastics and plastic products, textiles,
machines, mechanical appliances and electrical equipment.
Belgian investments in Poland in 2001, having risen by a factor of 28 on 1996, reached $1,161
million and ranked in 11th place on the by-country list. The largest investors were: 1) KBC
Bancasurance Holding NV ($583 million), banking and insurance; 2) Fortis Bank ($176 million), banking;
3) Tractebel ($82.8 million), a stake in Elektrociepłownia SA heat/electricity producer in Połaniec. In
practice, the actual level and dynamics of the Belgium contribution were even higher, but the largest
Belgian project in this country—Hedelberger Cement-CBR, involving mixed Belgian and German
capital—was classed by the PAIZ agency as transnational. Also left outside the PAIZ list were numerous
Belgian investments with the unit value below $1 million.
In relations with the Netherlands, that country’s firm support for the Polish pursuit of European
Union accession helped both parties to tighten up bilateral contacts and intensify political dialogue. In
the course of Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek’s talks held during his visit to The Hague on 6 September,
bilateral issues and European integration were in the focus of attention. The importance of the Utrecht
Conference in the process of Poland’s preparations for Union membership was emphasised, and Dutch
Prime Minister Wim Kok declared his country’s readiness to open its labour market to nationals from the
new member states right on the first day after accession.
The Kingdom of Netherlands has greatly contributed to assistance programmes aimed to
facilitate Poland’s adjustment to the EU requirements, including its participation—as the main or
co-operating country—in PHARE institutional development projects (58 projects in 2001) and in bilateral
pre-accession assistance programmes. As part of the PSO programme of co-operation with Central
and Eastern European countries, large support was directed to Polish agriculture in areas such as
horticulture, fruit growing, stock raising, milk production and dairy processing. Assistance programmes
also covered transport, the environment, water management and forestry. The Utrecht Conference had
three sessions in 2001, in the course of which opinions and data were exchanged and in-depth dialogue
was conducted on EU functioning, accession and negotiating positions. As part of the conference, joint
Polish-Dutch campaigns were drafted to provide information on the Union and popularise the
Netherlands was among the host countries of the Europalia 2001 Festival (October–December),
which promoted Poland’s EU membership and presented this country’s cultural achievements. Bilateral
cultural co-operation was furthered not only through interministerial projects, but also along commercial
lines, through exchanges of operatic companies, orchestras and soloists. The two countries went on
with their collaboration in the field of museums, which had started back in 1999. The prestigious
Erasmus Award for 2001 went to Poland’s Adam Michnik, former dissident and now editor-in-chief of the
country’s largest-circulation daily, Gazeta Wyborcza.
Bilateral co-operation developed in the military field (aimed to tighten up direct contacts at all
operational levels) and also in the area of home affairs. During a visit to Warsaw (13 February) by
Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Annemarie Jorritsmy-Lebbink, an agreement was signed
on prevention of double taxation.
In October 2001 the Netherlands concluded an educational co-operation agreement with
Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, aimed to unify schooling standards in accordance with EU
requirements. In the field of science contacts were maintained between Poland’s Committee for
Scientific Research and the Netherlands’ TSO Organisation for Scientific Research, between the Polish
Academy of Sciences (PAN) and the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, and between the
universities of Warsaw and Amsterdam (in the field of management). Polish institutions of higher
learning, especially those oriented to pedagogy, co-operated with their counterparts in the Netherlands
within the framework of the Socrates/Erasmus programme. And people and institutions in charge of the
educational system in this country collaborated with their Dutch partners under the Socrates/Arion
Around 200 Polish administrative units (voivodships, towns/cities, poviats, and gminas)
co-operated with partners in the Netherlands within twinning arrangements, thus laying a groundwork for
future co-operation within the EU framework. When Poland was hit by a disastrous flood in 2001, the
government and society of the Netherlands were quick to lend humanitarian assistance, and the
government additionally offered technical assistance in removing the flood damage, countering similar
calamities in the future, and installing an effective early warning system.
The combined trade level in 2001, at $3,491 million, split into $1,706 million in exports from
Poland and $1,785 million in imports from the Netherlands. The resulting Polish trade deficit of $79.1
million represented a major fall from $274.6 million, recorded two years previously. There was an
increase in the contribution made to Polish shipments by highly processed goods, including machinery
and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and motor industry products. Major imports to Poland
included products of the chemical, mechanical engineering and electrical industries.
The Netherlands came fourth on the by-country list of major foreign investors in Poland in 2001.
With cumulative investments at $4,585 million, the number of companies with a Dutch shareholding in
For more on Dutch pre-accession assistance programmes see R. Wojtal, ―Relations with the Netherlands,‖
Yearbook of Polish Foreign Policy 2000, pp. 150–151.
this country was estimated at 1,100. Seventy-four Dutch investment projects had the unit value of more
than $1 million. Dutch capital also flew in as part of transnational projects, involving companies such as
Unilever, Royal Dutch Shell and Eureko BV. Several hundred Dutch farmers leased farmland in Poland.
When Poland, as part of accession negotiations, sought a transition period for the purchase of land by
foreign nationals, the Dutch government demanded that leasehold prior to EU accession be counted in
the same manner as after accession in computing the leasehold years required for land-purchase
In relations with Luxembourg, the most important event in 2001 was an official visit to this
country by Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker (1–3 April). His talks with Prime Minister Buzek and
President Kwaśniewski focused on EU enlargement, an initiative to establish co-operation between
Benelux and the Visegrad Group, and bilateral economic and cultural relations. Prime Minister Juncker
was received by Sejm Speaker Maciej Płażyński and Senate Speaker Alicja Grześkowiak, and he also
met Minister of Foreign Affairs Władysław Bartoszewski and Minister of Finance Jarosław Bauc. During
his visit, the Luxembourg prime minister went to Lublin voivodship to familiarise himself with the
condition of Polish agriculture, its transformation, and Poland’s capacity to receive EU assistance. On 5
December, at a meeting in Luxembourg, heads of government of Visegrad Group countries met with
their Benelux counterparts.
Luxembourg was among the countries hosting the Europalia 2001 Festival, a major cultural
event held from October to December. On 1 February, a bilateral convention on social security came
into force. Two-way trade was heavily tipped in favour of imports from Luxembourg, but owing to an
increase in Polish exports, the deficit narrowed in 2001 to $40 million, on combined exchanges of $104
million ($32 million in exports from Poland and $72 in imports from Luxembourg). The value of
Luxembourg investments in Poland rose in 2001 to produce a cumulative level of $77.8 million. Six
companies invested more than $1 million each, with the largest contribution coming from EMPIK
Centrum Investments (retailing).
Spain and Portugal
Countries of the Iberian Peninsula regarded Poland as their most important partner in Central
and Eastern Europe.
In this country’s relations with Spain in 2001 bilateral co-operation was steadily tightened up,
while its treaty basis was simultaneously expanded and institutionalisation deepened. The most
important event was the visit which King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia paid to Poland on 16–18 May.
This was the royal couple’s second stay in this country since 1989. During King Juan Carlos’ meeting
with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, and also in the course of the plenary talks attended by Foreign
Ministers Władysław Bartoszewski and Josep Piqué, the two parties expressed their desire to
strengthen bilateral co-operation, both within NATO and in connection with Poland’s approaching
accession to the European Union. The results of the royal visit demonstrated that the Polish-Spanish
relations rose to the highest level, confirming the prominent role that Poland plays in Spain’s eastern
Spanish politicians considered Poland as their future ally with regard to EU institutional reforms,
but at the same time they warned against an ―artificial‖ acceleration in accession negotiations and
against a superficial approach to the requirement of aligning Polish legislation with the Community
acquis. During Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek’s visit to Madrid on 14 July, Prime Minister José Maria Aznar
assured his guest of ―full support‖ for Poland’s aspirations from Spain, whose presidency of the EU fell
on the first half of 2002. In the course of the visit, a decision was taken to broaden bilateral co-operation
in the armaments industry and—crowning several years of negotiations—an agreement was eventually
reached on a $200 million purchase of eight CASA C295 transport aircraft for the Polish airforce.
Another outcome of the visit was the founding of a nongovernmental Poland-Spain Forum to promote
bilateral co-operation. Prime Ministers Buzek and Aznar also took part in a ceremony at Alcalá de
Henares near Madrid which inaugurated the Polish Year in Spain, consisting of a series of promotional
events intended to familiarise Spaniards with this country. The objectives of the Spanish presidency of
the EU, beginning on 1 January 2002, and bilateral relations were the subjects of talks between Prime
Ministers Leszek Miller and José Maria Aznar during the latter’s visit to Warsaw on 3 December.
Consultations among experts, initiated back in September 1999, have given Poland access to
Spanish experience in European integration. The 5th Polish-Spanish Bilateral Forum held in Andalusia
in January 2001 served to exchange experiences in the employment of structural-fund allocations and in
regional development. In February a bilateral meeting was held in Warsaw on the Common Agricultural
Policy. In June Polish and Spanish experts took part in the conference ―Community Dimension of
European Integration. Spanish Experience. Implications for Poland‖ organised at the initiative of the
Polish President’s Chancellery and the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Spain was also involved in
twinning co-operation with Poland in the coal and steel sectors, and took part in a project to strengthen
Poland’s administrative capacity and human resources in preparation for EU membership. Spain
contributed to three projects under the PHARE 2000 programme in Dolnośląskie, Małopolskie and
Intense contacts were taking place between Polish and Spanish parliaments. In February
Senate Speaker Alicja Grześkowiak paid a visit to Madrid, where she had talks with the speakers of both
houses of the Spanish parliament, Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma and Luisa Fernanda Rudi Ubeda,
and with Prime Minister José Maria Aznar. A group of Congress of Deputies’ members, headed by L. F.
Rudi Ubeda, visited the Sejm in November as the first foreign delegation after the parliamentary
elections in Poland.
Close contacts were maintained between the two countries’ respective ministries. A delegation
of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy led by Deputy Prime Minister Longin Komołowski singed a
convention on social security in Madrid in February. Both labour ministries drew up an agreement on the
movement of labour. Spain was also visited by representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Internal
Affairs and Administration, and of National Defence, and by delegates from the Committee for Scientific
Research, Office of the Committee for European Integration, the Civil Service Office, the Supreme Court
and the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces.
The Polish Year in Spain, which began in July 2001 and is to continue until the end of 2002, is
intended to present Poland’s culture through concerts, exhibitions, film shows and promotion of Polish
literature. Composer Krzysztof Penderecki was presented the prestigious Prince of Asturias award. In
December 2001, during the Polish Days in Seville, a letter of intent was signed on that city’s
co-operation with Cracow, while Małopolskie voivodship concluded a twinning agreement with the
The first congress of Spaniards of Polish origin and expatriate Poles in Spain held in Fuengirola
on 16–17 March was attended by representatives of all Polish and Polish-Spanish organisations with the
exception of the Basque-Polish Arrano-Zuria Cultural Association from Bilbao. The congress drafted the
founding act and charter for a federation of Polish organisations in Spain.
In 2001 two-way trade reached $1,850.5 million, splitting into $715.5 million in exports from
Poland and $1,135 million in imports from Spain. Thanks to an increase in Polish sales, the deficit
recorded by this country dropped to around $420million. As in the previous years, Spanish companies
did not take much interest in investing in Poland. The cumulative investment figure in 2001 was $380
million, placing Spain 21st in the rankings. The largest investors were: 1) Acciona ($165 million), stakes
in Mostostal and Elektrim; 2) Ferrovial, a stake in Budimex; 3) Campofrio, meat processing. Bilateral
co-operation in the defence sector is going to receive a stimulus from the purchase of the CASA aircraft
by Poland. As part of the transaction, EADS CASA acquired a majority stake in PZL Okęcie, while at the
same time signing a commitment to modernise the plant. In 2001 Polish capital for the first time ever flew
into Spain, after Transsystem company from Łańcut won a DM200 million tender to modernise an
assembly line at the Mercedes plant in a Basque town of Vitoria.
Two-way trade benefited from the founding of the Spanish-Polish Economic Association in
Madrid (October 2000) and the Polish-Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw (November 2000).
Relations with Portugal in 2001 were affected by a government crisis in that country and by a
cabinet change in Poland. Political contacts were, therefore, less dynamic, especially when compared to
a very large number of visits which Polish delegates paid to Lisbon in 2000. Portuguese politicians
nevertheless declared their steadfast support for Poland’s EU membership and averred that completing
the accession negotiations in 2002 was possible, even if requiring much effort from Poland. The two
countries’ Ministers of Foreign Affairs Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Jaime José Matos da Gama met in
November at the UN General Assembly session in New York. Minister of Transport Jerzy Widzyk, in
Lisbon for a European conference of transport ministers, had talks with his Portuguese counterpart. In
April secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture Z. Chrzanowski went to Portugal to conduct
consultations on the EU’s agricultural policy. Working meetings were held between both countries’
Labour Ministries’ experts. Military co-operation continued, especially between airforces and airborne
troops, and in research and development (fibre optics, aviation medicine and defence against chemical
weapons). The number one event in cultural co-operation was the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Year at
Aveiro University. Music critics from many countries took part in musical workshops, while Adam
Wodnicki, a Polish pianist living in the US, gave a special concert in tribute to the composer.
Bilateral trade continued to grow and reached $421.4 million in 2001 compared to $351.1 million
the year before. The growth was largely generated by Polish exports, which totalled $260.4 million,
against $161 million in imports, producing a trade surplus for this country of $99.4 million. Portuguese
firms have invested $414 million in Poland, placing 20th in the by-country ranking. The biggest individual
investors were: Jeronimo Martins ($250 million) in wholesaling and retailing; Banco Commercial
Portugues, holding stakes in BIG Bank Gdański and in Eureko (which, in turn, holds a stake in the PZU
national insurer); and Banco Espiriti Santo, holding a stake in Kredyt Bank.
The Irish government backed the EU enlargement process, proceeding from the assumption
that it will not only help to consolidate European stability and confidence, but also open up new markets
of considerable potential. Declaring support for the Polish pursuit of Union membership, the Irish
partners shared their experiences in taking advantage of EU membership for the purpose of growth
acceleration. Yet some sections of Irish society expressed concern about the consequences of EU
enlargement for the Irish economy. In particular, their misgivings were about: a more restricted access to
structural funds (following the combination of a fall in the EU’s average per capita GDP and rapid
economic growth in Ireland); the country’s more difficult access to the EU agricultural budget resources;
migration of some transnational production facilities (especially in the electronic, textile and food
processing sectors) to Central and Eastern Europe in order to capitalise on cost differentials. With
regard to Poland, the Irish misgivings were focused on increased competition on markets for agricultural
products and, after enlargement, large fund transfers to Polish agriculture, to be set in motion by the
large numbers of people employed in the sector. At the same time, however, opinions were voiced that
the reorientation of PHARE programmes for candidate states, laying stress on strengthening their
institutional capacity, would open new training and consulting opportunities for Irish official and private
partners. Yet despite approval from all of the country’s major political parties, the Treaty of Nice was
rejected in a national referendum held on 7 June 2001, by 54% to 46%.
The prime ministers from both countries met in 2001 at European Council summits: at
Gothenburg in June (Bertie Ahern and Jerzy Buzek) and at Laeken in December (Bertie Ahern and
Leszek Miller). Foreign ministers, Władysław Bartoszewski and Brian Cowen, met in Luxembourg on 12
June. Political dialogue was continued on the parliamentary level: in February, Sejm Speaker Maciej
Płażyński paid a visit to Dublin.
Agricultural co-operation was developing favourably, and the Irish Ministry of Agriculture readily
shared its experiences with EU integration. The first Irish farmers were offered leaseholds of several
thousand hectares of farmland left over from former PGR state farms, mainly around Zielona Góra,
Wrocław, Opole and Słupsk. Interest in such leaseholds among Irish farmers was on the rise.
Co-operation between both countries’ Labour Ministries was expanding. During study visits to Ireland,
Polish experts acquainted themselves with the experiences of that country’s employment offices,
especially with regard to labour market policy, efforts to raise the labour force participation rate, the fight
against unemployment, and vocational consulting and intermediation.
A policy of the labour market’s limited liberalisation, launched in 2000 to attract skilled labour
from outside the European Economic Area to undermanned sectors, has opened an opportunity of legal
employment in Ireland for Polish citizens. The Irish government declared readiness to open its labour
market for new EU member states right on the day of their accession.
The expansion of economic contacts and tourist traffic between both countries encouraged
tighter bilateral co-operation in the area of justice and home affairs. Intergovernmental agreements on
suppression of organised crime and other serious crime, and on transfer and admission of persons
staying in both countries’ territories without permission, signed back in the previous year, entered into
force on 12 May 2001.
On the interregional level, contacts were developing between Lublin and Galway, and also, as
part of trilateral arrangements, between Katowice, Dublin-Tallaght and the Dutch city of Groningen, and
between Ostrołęka, Galway and Denmark’s Anholt. Visits by Warsaw Mayor Paweł Piskorski to Dublin
and by Dublin Mayor Maurice Ahern to Warsaw initiated twinning contacts between both capitals.
Polish-Irish trade increased in 2001 to reach $396.4 million, with Poland’s deficit slightly
narrowing to $188.4 million. Polish exports reached $104 million and imports $292.4 million. The main
items in Polish shipments included machinery and equipment (including household appliances),
vehicles and transport equipment, mineral products, textiles and chemical industry products. In imports
from Ireland, a large proportion was accounted for by goods made by Irish subsidiaries of foreign
corporations (electronics, food processing, chemicals). As a year earlier, Ireland came 12th on the
by-country list of foreign investors in Poland, with a cumulative $1,041 million. The largest investments
were in banking (Bank Zachodni in Wrocław and Poznań-based Wielkopolski Bank Kredytowy),
construction (Ożarów cement plant), grain milling, and other food industry sectors.
Occupying a very important position among Poland’s Central European partners, Austria came
in 2001 with a proposal of ―regional partnership‖ addressed to this country and also to the Czech
Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. It was accepted by invited countries at a conference in
Vienna on 6 June, with the caveat that it must not be institutionalised and that all parties should be
treated on an equal footing. The success of ―regional partnership‖ and the prospects of forming a
common interest group in an enlarged EU in the future, the invited countries noted, were contingent on
what attitude Austria would take and how strongly it would support the EU membership of Central
European candidates. Poland opted to join the ―regional partnership,‖ seeing in it a chance for the
participating countries to jointly influence Austria’s position. The goal was to rekindle that country’s
interest in Central European issues and encourage the Wolfgang Schüssel government to take a more
constructive stand in accession negotiations and to show greater vigour in persuading Austrian society
about benefits of enlargement. Austria, just as in previous years, was a tough partner in accession
negotiations, while public support for enlargement (including Poland’s accession) was low. An
anti-enlargement position of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) exerted an influence on the policy
pursued by the government, in which the party was a junior partner, and it reinforced an unfriendly
attitude towards EU expansion among sizeable segments of the Austrian public. With regard to this
country, a certain role was also played by the negative stereotype of a Pole spread by the media.
The promotion of Poland’s EU membership received a boost from President Aleksander
Kwaśniewski’s visit to Austria on 20–21 November. His talks with President Thomas Kleistil, Chancellor
Wolfgang Schüssel, National Council Speaker Heinz Fischer and Foreign Minister Benita
Ferrero-Waldner focussed on Poland’s accession negotiations and intensification of bilateral economic
relations. The two presidents took part in the inauguration of the Polish-Austrian Economic Forum.
President Kwaśniewski also participated in the World Economic Forum in Salzburg (1 July). Minister
Ferrero-Waldner stayed in Warsaw (17 July) for talks with Władysław Bartoszewski, during which the
two broke an impasse over media promotion of Poland’s accession to the EU. The Austrian party placed
emphasis on the role of culture in overcoming public scepticism about enlargement. Ministers
Ferrero-Waldner and Bartoszewski also met during a session of the OSCE Ministerial Council in
Bucharest (3 December).
Polish representatives devoted much attention to contacts with Austrian economic, financial and
trade partners, seeking to create an atmosphere that would help promote Poland’s economic interests,
expansion of two-way economic relations and broader presence of Austrian capital in this country. Such
were the motives behind the conference ―Poland-Austria: Partners in Europe‖ held in Alpbach in April
with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Steinhoff and Minister Ferrero-Waldner, and a
February visit to Poland by Austrian Minister of the Economy and Labour Martin Bartenstein. As part of
interministerial contacts, visits to Vienna were paid by Minister for Environmental Protection Antoni
Tokarczuk at the invitation of Agriculture Minister Wolhelm Molterer (17–18 May) and Minister of
National Defence Bronisław Komorowski, at the invitation of his Austrian counterpart Herbert Scheibner
After the conclusion, back in October 2000, of a Polish-Austrian agreement on indemnities to
former slave labourers working in Austria during World War II, and after the passage of a relevant law by
the Austrian parliament, a co-operation agreement was signed on 9 January 2001 by the Foundation for
Polish-German Reconciliation and the Austrian Reconciliation Fund. The disbursement of
compensation began on 1 August. By a 25 May document signed in Vienna, a Committee of Gusen
Personalities was appointed—among them Poland’s Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski—with
the aim of commemorating the victims of the Gusen concentration camp, where 28,000 Polish citizens
died during World War II. In response to measures taken by Poland, a major improvement was seen in
2001 in the manner in which Polish citizens were treated by Austrian border guards, something which in
previous years had provoked many reservations. An estimated 2.5 million Polish citizens cross the
Austrian border annually.
Intense cultural contacts were maintained. From October 2001 to mid-January 2002, the
―Vienna in Warsaw‖ festival was held in the Polish capital, including exhibitions of arts and architecture
and a week of Austrian films. Austrian drama scored a great success on the stage in Poland at the turn
of the century, and many titles of Austrian prose and poetry were translated. On the initiative of both
countries’ foreign ministers, a Polish-Austrian journalistic award was founded with a view to intensifying
bilateral relations and promoting the process of European integration. It was presented for the first time
in 2001, and its winner was Burkhard Bischof, Die Presse journalist. On the interregional level, a
twinning agreement was signed between Warsaw and Vienna (21 October) and co-operation was
Present at the conference were foreign ministers from Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and
Slovenia. Poland was represented by Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrzej Ananicz. The next
conference on regional partnership was held in Bratislava on 29 November.
In 2002 a Polish Year was organised in Austria.
established between Poniatowa and Gross Sieghard, Leszno and St. Poelten, and Krapkowice and
Bruck a.d. Mur.
Polish-Austrian trade in 2001 reached $1,715.2 million, including $732.2 million in exports from
Poland and $983 million in imports from Austria. The cumulative value of Austrian investments, as
recorded by the PAIZ agency, actually shrunk in 2001, to $818 million, reflecting the reclassification of
Bank Austria (previously the largest investor from that country in Poland), which, after a merger with
Bavaria’s HypoVereins Bank, is now counted as German capital. The first position among Austrian
investors in Poland thus went to Framondi ($175 million in the paper industry), which was followed by
Bau Holding AG ($118.2 million) and Reiffeisen Zentralbank ($81 million).
Relations with the Czech Republic, described by many politicians in both countries as
above-standard and the best in years, were marked in 2001 by a high level of political contacts. The
heads of state and government met several times, usually as part of multilateral engagements.
Presidents Vaclav Hável and Aleksander Kwaśniewski met in Pszczyna on the Visegrad Group’s 10th
anniversary (10 January) and in Lany, during Mr Kwaśniewski’s Czech visit (17 December). In the
course of the Lany talks, the two presidents discussed bilateral relations, Visegrad co-operation, and EU
developments. With regard to security issues, they pronounced themselves in favour of admitting
Slovenia, Slovakia and Baltic states to NATO. Czech Prime Minister Miloš Zeman stayed in Warsaw (30
November) to meet with President Kwaśniewski and Prime Minister Leszek Miller and visit the Sejm and
the Senate. Both parties discussed EU integration (where they stressed the need for co-ordination of
accession negotiations) and bilateral economic relations. It was agreed that a joint commission would be
appointed to tackle the prolongation of a wide-gauge railway line from the east and construction of
terminals at Bohumin and Sławków, and that a related consortium would be established. Both countries’
prime ministers met at Visegrad Group summits in Cracow (30 May–1 June) and Tihanyi on Lake
Balaton (24–25 August), at the Economic Forum in Krynica (7–8 September), CEFTA’s Bucharest
summit (16 November) and the meeting of heads of government from the Visegrad Group and Benelux
held in Luxembourg (5 December). Czech Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rychetský was present at the
international conference on the fight against terrorism held in Warsaw on 6 November.
The above-standard nature of bilateral relations was also reflected in annual 2+2 meetings of
both countries’ foreign and defence ministers. Getting together on 23 July 2001, the parties discussed
the planned formation of a joint Polish-Czech-Slovak brigade. A declaration to this effect was signed by
the defence ministers from the countries concerned—Poland’s Bronisław Komorowski, the Czech
Republic’s Jaroslav Tvrdik and Slovakia’s Pavel Kanis—on 30 May, and it was followed by a tripartite
agreement of 30 September. Intense interparliamentary contacts were kept in 2001 at the level of
parliamentary committees. Military co-operation, as in previous years, was maintained both at the level
of ministerial headquarters and individual units. Collaboration in military R&D went ahead, even if not
without some financial and structural problems. Both countries’ salvage services set up a mutual
assistance system, and they teamed up at central and local level to fight natural calamities and their
consequences. Smoothly collaborating were also the police forces and border guards. In the field of the
environment the major task was to improve its condition in the area when Poland, the Czech Republic
and Germany converge. Much attention was also devoted to water resources management and the fight
against forest pests.
Polish-Czech cultural co-operation developed dynamically. In addition to longstanding events
which retained their position, such as the Chopin Festival and Competition in Mariánské Láznĕ, new
cyclical occasions emerged, such as the Polish-Czech Days of Christian Culture, the International
Theatrical Festival ―On the Border‖ or the Cierlice Summer Film Festival. Polish entrants were present at
all major festivals and arts presentations. After a dip in the early 1990s, there has been a steady
increase since the middle of the decade in the number of Polish literary works translated into Czech and
Polish films screened in the Czech Republic. Educational co-operation developed, too. There were 330
students from the Czech Republic enrolled in Polish institutions of higher learning, including 80 sent by
the Czech Education Ministry. The others were people of Polish extraction receiving grants from the
Wspólnota Polska Association. There were also some 40 Polish students in the Czech Republic.
Coming as an important element of co-operation were contacts between both countries’ universities and
colleges. The Nysa International University took off in November, pursuing a common curriculum from
technical universities in Wrocław and Liberec and colleges in the German cities of Zittau and Görlitz.
After the expiry in 2001 of a 1965 bilateral convention on dual citizenship, Polish residents of the
Czech Republic can now apply for Czech citizenship without losing Polish citizenship. A Polish-Czech
agreement of November 1996 was modified in 2001 to make room for border-crossing facilities for
inhabitants of border regions and for school excursions. An agreement was concluded on linking Polish
national road 78 with Czech road I/58 and constructing a border bridge on the Oder, near Chałupki and
Bohumin. Taking effect in 2001 was a 1998 bilateral agreement on the maintenance of border road
bridges and joint road sections on the border.
The Czech Republic accounts for some 46% of Poland’s trade with the Central European Free
Trade Area (CEFTA).Two-way exchanges reached $3,170 million in 2001, rising 15% on a year earlier.
Exports from Poland rose 19% to $1,432 million, while imports from the Czech Republic amounted to
$1,738 million. Poland’s deficit, at $306 million, represented a decline from the previous year. Czech
companies’ investments in Poland totalled $55.8 million, with the largest inflow coming from Intercontact
Perceiving Poland as its strategic partner in Central Europe, Hungary sought to retain an
above-standard character of Polish-Hungarian relations; it emphasised the similarity of both countries’
geopolitical dilemmas, and called for the Visegrad ties to be preserved also after the countries
concerned joined the European Union. Yet Hungary’s relation to Poland was also influenced by a certain
competition for primacy in contacts with Western Europe. The accession talks were increasingly viewed
in Budapest through the prism of rivalry with other countries. As in previous years, bilateral relations
were marked by frequent visits and conferences, with the heads of state and government meeting
several times. During an official visit to Poland on 27–28 June, President Ferenc Mádl spoke with
Aleksander Kwaśniewski on bilateral issues and both countries’ accession negotiations with the EU.
Poland pointed to the need for the candidate countries to tighten up co-operation so as to avoid an
impression of their engaging in competition. Presidents Kwaśniewski and Mádl also met in Pszczyna in
a session commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Visegrad Group (10 January). President Mádl
took part in the international conference on the fight against terrorism held in Warsaw on 6 November.
Prime Ministers Jerzy Buzek and Viktor Orbán held meetings during conferences of Visegrad
Group heads of government. In the course of a session in Cracow (1 June), ending the Polish
presidency of the group, Polish-Hungarian bilateral talks were held, during which both prime
ministers—prompted by a dispute over agricultural tariffs resolved in March—laid down the procedure to
be followed in the event of similar arguments in the future. They agreed to avoid politicising—and giving
the media a pretext for exaggerating—possible differences of opinion, and to abide closely by the
CEFTA rules. The need was also stressed for speeding up work on a review of the Polish-Hungarian
treaty infrastructure. The Hungarian prime minister pronounced himself in favour of co-operation with
this country in searching to diversify sources of natural gas supplies. Jerzy Buzek and Viktor Orbán also
met at an informal summit of Visegrad Group heads of government in Tihanyi on Lake Balaton (24–25
August) and at the Economic Forum in Krynica (7–8 September). Prime Minister Leszek Miller spoke
with Prime Minister Orbán at the CEFTA summit in Bucharest (16 November) and the Luxembourg
meeting of heads of government from the Visegrad Group and Benelux (5 December).
Foreign Ministers Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and János Mártonyi met on 8 November in
Warsaw, where the Hungarian guest arrived for a Europa Forum panel discussion. In April an official
visit to this country was paid by Hungarian National Assembly Speaker János Áder, who was received
by President Kwaśniewski. The two discussed bilateral relations and both countries’ preparations for EU
Other parliamentary contacts were held at the committee level. Military co-operation, as in
previous years, was not confined to high level meetings; it also covered direct contacts between military
units and collaboration in science and technology, and for the most part it was conducted within the
―golden trio‖ framework, involving Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Both ministries of internal
affairs were engaged in fruitful co-operation, especially with regard to the police and border guards. In a
multiple-level co-operation in the field of transport, a problem was posed by Hungary’s unwillingness to
forego the licensing requirement with respect to two-way and transit traffic (to bring it in line with the
arrangements governing traffic with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia).
Interregional co-operation, invoking the traditions of Polish-Hungarian friendship among local
communities, was conducted primarily within the framework of the Carpathians Euroregion, established
in 1994 and embracing areas not only in Poland and Hungary—which are its promoters and most active
participants—but also Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. Back in 1999, after changes in the Euroregion’s
authorities, the position of its council chairman went to Z. Rzońca, chief executive officer of the
Karpackie voivodship, while the secretariat was moved from Krosno to the Hungarian town of
Nyiregyhazy. Other interregional contacts were maintained under agreements signed with Hungarian
partners by the following voivodships: Dolnośląskie, Mazowieckie, Opolskie, Śląskie and
Both countries’ affiliation to the Central European Free Trade Agreement was a factor
stimulating growth in bilateral trade. In 2001 it reached a combined level of $1,551.2 million. Polish
exports rose 16.1% on a year earlier to reach $755.4, thus helping to bring down Poland’s trade deficit to
$40.4 million. The fastest growth in Polish shipments was in the groups of machinery and mechanical
appliances, food and farm produce, and fuel and energy. Imports from Hungary in 2001 amounted to
The development of co-operation with Turkey was favoured by the absence of contentious
issues in bilateral relations and concurrence of views on European and global security. The most
important bilateral event in 2001 was Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski’s visit to Ankara (23–25
April), during which he held talks with his counterpart Ismail Cem and Defence Minister Sebahattin
Çakmakoglu, and was received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, and
Parliamentary Speaker Omer Izgi. In the course of the talks, which confirmed the very good condition of
Polish-Turkish relations, the two parties stressed the need to intensify economic contacts and agreed on
working out an action plan on bilateral co-operation. Much attention was devoted to European and
Euro-Atlantic issues. Both parties agreed on the need to support the sovereignty of the countries
emerging from the former USSR. In May, the 6th meeting of the Polish-Turkish Senior Consultative
Committee was held in Warsaw. As part of developing interparliamentary contacts, a delegation of the
Polish-Turkish parliamentary group stayed in Ankara in May at the invitation of its Turkish counterpart.
During the talks held then, Turkish parliamentarians expressed interest in expanding mutual
co-operation and studying Polish experiences with legislative alignment to the Community acquis.
Jan Kułakowski, the government’s plenipotentiary for accession negotiations, attended the
Forum of the European Union and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference held in Istanbul in
February, and on 1 March he paid a visit to Ankara. In the field of military co-operation, mentioned
should be made of the visits paid by: Turkish Defence Minister Sebahattin Çakmakoglu to Warsaw (16
May), and by the Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Czesław Piątas to Turkey (18–21 April), and Gen. Huseyin
Kivrikoglu to Poland (17 April). There was an imbalance in cultural exchanges: the presence of Turkish
culture in Poland was limited as compared with the popularity and recognition of Polish artists, and
especially musicians, in Turkey. Among the events held in 2001 in Turkey, there was a conference
devoted to bilateral relations, the edition of a Turkish-language book ―From Lekhistan to a Contemporary
Poland,‖ and the participation of Polish academics in an international conference in Ankara devoted to
Turkish language teaching in Europe. The number of Polish visitors to Turkey increased in 2001 to
With the bilateral free trade agreement coming into force, two-way trade increased in 2001 to
reach $563.1 million. Poland’s trade deficit widened to $261.1 million, on $138 million worth of exports
and $399.1 million imports. Turkish investments in Poland stayed at the previous year’s level of $100
Other European States
High dynamics of bilateral and multilateral contacts was a characteristic feature of relations with
Slovakia in 2001. The two countries’ presidents, Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Rudolf Schuster, met at
the 11th Economic Forum in Krynica on 6 September and again in Warsaw on 6 November, during the
international conference on the fight against terrorism. Prime Ministers Jerzy Buzek and Mikulaš
Dzurinda had talks at Visegrad Group summits—in Cracow (31 May–1 June) and in Tihanyi on Lake
Balaton (14–15 August)—and during the Krynica Forum (7 September). Prime Minister Leszek Miller
conferred with his Slovak counterpart at the CEFTA summit in Bucharest (16 November) and at the
meeting of Visegrad Group and Benelux countries’ prime ministers in Luxembourg (5 December).
During his official visit to Poland on 18–19 January, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Pavol Hamżik
discussed further tightening of economic, mainly transfrontier, co-operation with Mr Buzek and Minister
of Foreign Affairs Władysław Bartoszewski. They also talked about the two countries’ accession
negotiations with the EU and Slovakia’s preparations for NATO membership.
On 17–18 May Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan came on an official visit to Poland, the
first since 1997, during which he had talks with Minister Bartoszewski and was received by President
Kwaśniewski. Both parties discussed bilateral relations, including the need to speed up work on
supplementary treaty regulations, and accession negotiations with the EU. Warsaw confirmed its
support for Bratislava’s NATO aspirations. A Polish Sejm delegation headed by Speaker Maciej
Płażyński visited Slovakia in January, while members of the economic and justice committees at the
Slovak National Council came to Poland to exchange experiences.
In the most important military co-operation event, the defence ministers of Poland, the Czech
Republic and Slovakia, Bronisław Komorowski, Jaroslav Tvrdik and Pavel Kanis, signed a declaration
on founding a Polish-Czech-Slovak motorised brigade (May 30). The ministers discussed the procedure
for forming in Slovakia a joint unit, that would include a Polish component, and they decided to invite the
Czech partner to participate, too. The relevant agreement was signed on 30 September. Organising the
command structures of the brigade, which is to become fully operational by 2005, began in 2001. The
unit, which will contribute to peacekeeping operations launched by NATO and EU security structures, is
expected to bring Slovakia closer to NATO.
Intense as usual, the two countries’ transfrontier co-operation should benefit further from
amendments to the 1996 agreement on cross-border traffic, which were concluded in 2000 and entered
into force in 2001. In February 2001 Mr Bartoszewski gave the green light to signing a regional
agreement between Małopolskie Voivodship and Žilinsky Kraj. Transport was a priority in bilateral
co-operation in 2001, with an intergovernmental agreement signed on international combined freight
and on locating the junctions of the planned A-18 motorway with the Polish road network. A construction
schedule was accepted according to which the Żywiec-Žilina section of the highway should be ready to
receive trucks from the Zwardoń-Skalité border crossing by 2005.
The agreement on cultural, educational and scientific co-operation, signed a year earlier,
entered into force in 2001. Translations of Polish literature appeared on the Slovak book market, but
generally, due to an expansion of Western lifestyles, Slovaks did not show any special interest in Polish
culture. Close contacts continued between the two countries’ universities, especially those which had
Slovak studies departments, but at the same time the standards of Polish studies in Slovakia was on the
decline. Environmental co-operation was co-ordinated by the Polish-Slovak mixed commission headed
by ministers for the environment and representatives for border water resources.
The two countries’ membership of the CEFTA stimulated the development of two-way trade,
which in 2001 stood at $1,272.7 million, marking a 28% rise on a year earlier. With Polish exports to
Slovakia at $516.7 million and imports at $756 million, this country’s trade deficit dropped to $239
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
Among the Baltic states, a special position has been held by Lithuania due to Poland’s strategic
partnership with that country. In 2001 the two countries were involved in very intense political dialogue at
the top level. Presidents Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Valdas Adamkus met a number of times: when
Mr Adamkus was accepting the Polish Business Oskar Award 2000 in Warsaw (25 January) and during
an international conference ―Dialogue between Civilisations‖ organised in Vilnius under the auspices of
both presidents and UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura (23–24 April). When President
Adamkus visited Warsaw on 5 September in connection with the 10th anniversary of the resumption of
Polish-Lithuanian relations, he was accompanied by Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, Minister of
Foreign Affairs Antanas Valionis, officials from the ministries of culture, defence and the economy, and
by parliamentarians and intellectuals. The two presidents emphasised that the relations between Poland
and Lithuania were very good indeed. Mr Kwaśniewski pointed to progress which the two countries
recorded in mutual relations, having overcome some history-related problems, and Mr Adamkus spoke
about confidence and sincerity in bilateral co-operation. The visit was also an occasion for talks between
Polish and Lithuanian prime ministers. Taking place during the Days of Lithuanian Culture in Poland, it
was accompanied by many artistic events. In 2001 both countries’ presidents paid much attention to
economic co-operation. Mr Adamkus took part in the 11th Economic Forum in Krynica (6 September)
and Mr Kwaśniewski attended the opening ceremony of the 8th Kaunas International Fair ―Polexport
2001‖ (16 October). On 6 November the Lithuanian president came to Warsaw to take part in the
international conference on the fight against terrorism. The Consultative Committee of the Polish and
Lithuanian presidents had two meetings in 2001, in June and December.
Intergovernmental contacts were very intense too. The Council for Co-operation between the
Polish and Lithuanian Governments, meeting in Vilnius on 5 February under the chairmanship of Prime
Ministers Jerzy Buzek and Rolandas Paksas, mapped out the main lines of co-operation in 2001. It also
declared the intention to conclude by September 2001 an agreement on the spelling of first names and
surnames of members of national minorities. The Council recommended intensifying work on
Under the 1994 Polish-Lithuanian Treaty, an agreement should be signed on the use of diacritic signs in the
spelling of Polish surnames in Lithuania and Lithuanian surnames in Poland. In its adjudication of 21 October 1999,
Lithuania’s Constitutional Court decided that these surnames should be written in the Lithuanian language. Talks on
this issue have continued since 1996 and until June 2002 no agreement was reached.
connecting the two countries’ electric power supply systems by 2003, and Poland reaffirmed its support
for Lithuania’s NATO aspirations. The Council met again in Palanga on 2 August.
Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski, who came to Lithuania on 19–20 April for talks with
Minister Valionis, President Adamkus and Seimas Speaker Arturas Paulauskas, said that bilateral
co-operation played an important role in both countries’ endeavours to join the EU. He also stressed the
need for closer co-operation in the Baltic Sea region, particularly with regard to the Kaliningrad district,
and he confirmed Warsaw’s support for Vilnius’ application for NATO membership. In Mr Bartoszewski’s
opinion, the controversial issues in Polish-Lithuanian relations, such as the situation of Polish schools in
Lithuania, the spelling of Polish names and the restitution of Polish property in the Vilnius region, were of
secondary significance. President Adamkus expressed his concern with a routine prevailing in the
performance of Polish-Lithuanian institutions, as manifest in an absence of new ideas and initiatives,
which, he warned, could do harm to the two countries’ strategic partnership. On 1 December, Foreign
Ministers Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Antanas Valionis met in Druskininkai to discuss international
security, European integration and bilateral co-operation, including improvement of railway and road
infrastructure, restitution of property in areas inhabited by Poles and the spelling of Polish surnames.
The most important events in interparliamentary relations were the 7th and 8th sessions of the
Deputies’ Assembly of the Polish Sejm and Lithuanian Seimas. The Assembly’s 7th session was
devoted to citizens’ and states’ security in the context of civilisational and systemic transformations. The
8th session adopted a resolution appraising the 1994 Polish-Lithuanian treaty and appealed for joint
anniversary celebrations to commemorate the Constitution of 3 May 1791. In March Seimas Speaker
Paulauskas paid a visit to Poland and in April members of the Polish-Lithuanian parliamentary group
went to Lithuania.
In military co-operation, priority was given to improving interoperability of the national
components of the LITPOLBAT Polish-Lithuanian peacekeeping battalion and to drawing up plans for its
further deployments. LITPOLBAT took part in the ―Amber Hope‖ peacekeeping exercises (29 August–6
September). As far as its potential allowed, Poland supplied equipment and armaments to the
Lithuanian armed forces, including LITPOLBAT’s Lithuanian component, and Polish military academies
trained Lithuanian officers. In 2001 a Lithuanian platoon was incorporated into the Polish POLUKRBAT
contingent. Poland partook in the BALTRON, BALTNET and BALTDEFCOL programmes launched by
the BALTSEA group to bring the Baltic states, including Lithuania, closer to Western European
structures. Since 2000 Poland has been striving to intensify co-operation within the 1+3 (Poland +
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) and 3+3 (Poland, Denmark and Germany + Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia)
frameworks. This form of collaboration was stimulated by a defence co-operation agreement signed in
February by both countries’ Defence Ministers Bronisław Komorowski and Linas Linkevičius.
The Polish-Lithuanian Intergovernmental Commission for Transfrontier Co-operation was in
charge of co-ordinating this form of contacts. Active in the Polish-Lithuanian border areas were
Euroregions Neman (involving also Belarus) and Baltic (with Latvia, Russia, Sweden and Denmark).
Co-operation with the Kaliningrad district held a special position in the Polish-Lithuanian relations, and to
a certain degree it was inspired by the concept of the EU’s Northern Dimension. Mention is also due to a
joint Polish-Lithuanian-Russian initiative to train border guards, regional and local public administration
employees and businesspeople. The first conference organised under this initiative took place in Osieck
in Warmińsko-Mazurskie voivodship in November 2001.
An agreement on the prevention of organised crime and other serious offences, signed a year
before, entered into force in 2001.
The Days of Lithuanian Culture in Poland were the main event in the two countries’ cultural
co-operation. They were organised in September and October and included the Lithuanian Symphony
Orchestra’s concert at the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw (5 September) and an exhibition of
Mikołaj Čiurlonis’ paintings at Warsaw’s National Museum. On the 10th anniversary of the signing of the
Polish-Lithuanian treaty, pianist Emilian Madey gave a concert in Vilnius and a radio opera house
broadcast the opera Balladyna.
Two-way trade developed dynamically, reaching $1,030 million in 2001 thanks to a rise in Polish
sales to $756.6 million. Poland’s imports from Lithuania remained at the previous year’s level of $277.5
million. Poland exported mainly chemicals, engineering and electronic products and plastics, while
mineral products were dominant imports. There were 735 companies with Polish capital registered in
Lithuania, but the low value of their investment ($57.3 million) gave this country a distant 12th place in
the Lithuanian foreign investors’ rankings. Polish firms invested mainly in glass, plastics, food
processing and distribution. ―Polexport 2001,‖ the biggest Polish economic exhibition abroad, attracted
BALTRON–Baltic Marine Battalion, BALTNET–Baltic Regional System of Air Space Management,
BALTDEFCOL–Baltic Defence College.
200 exhibitors at the 8th Kaunas International Fair held on 16–20 October. The Fair was accompanied
by a Polish-Lithuanian Economic Forum.
Poland’s relations with Latvia were buoyed by the support Poland was giving to the Baltic
states’ NATO aspirations, and by the interest Latvia was taking in Warsaw’s stronger involvement in the
Baltic region and in counterbalancing the Polish-Lithuanian relations by this country’s contacts with
Riga. During his visit to Latvia on 29 May, President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, together with President
Vaira Vike-Freiberga, opened the Polish National Exhibition ―Polexport Riga 2001,‖ which was
organised to mark the 10th anniversary of resumption of relations between the two states. The Polish
and Latvian presidents discussed both countries’ integration with the EU and declared themselves in
favour of NATO enlargement. They emphasised the importance that they both attached to the
development of bilateral economic relations. Mr Kwaśniewski and Mrs Vike-Freiberga met again during
the ceremony of bidding farewell to Estonian President Lennart Meri in September, and during the
international conference on the fight against terrorism in Warsaw on 6 November. On 24–25 May,
Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Indulis Berzins came to Warsaw to discuss bilateral relations and EU
and NATO enlargement with President Kwaśniewski and Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski. In
February, Sejm Deputy Speaker Jan Król paid a working visit to the Latvian parliament.
As in previous years, Poland trained Latvian specialists, supplied equipment and exchanged
experience with Riga within the framework of military co-operation. As a BALTSEA member, it
contributed to the implementation of the BALTRON and BALTNET programmes and participated in the
BALTDEFCOL project. Interministerial co-operation developed in the fields of the environment,
transport (the Via Baltica motorway project), agriculture, internal affairs, administration and social policy.
Involved in joint projects were also the two countries’ border guards. Cultural contacts should benefit
from the opening of the Latvian Culture and Information Centre in November 2001.
On 5 June the Latvian parliament eased the process by which the country’s residents obtain
Latvian citizenship—by introducing lower fees requested from applicants for naturalisation, and
simplifying the procedure for taking tests in the Latvian language. The Polish community in Latvia
welcomed the decision relieving minority high school graduates of the duty to prove their knowledge of
the Latvian language in the course of the naturalisation procedure. The same June, the Latvian Saeima
passed an amendment to the 1995 Repressed Persons Act, authorising those permanent residents of
Latvia who had Polish citizenship prior to 1 September 1939 to apply for privileges available to persons
repressed by the totalitarian regimes and to war veterans.
The coming into force of the 1997 free trade agreement between Poland and Latvia produced a
certain growth in two-way trade, which nevertheless remained below both countries’ capacities. In 2001
bilateral trade stood at $262.2 million, rising by $22.5 million on a year earlier. It was marked by serious
imbalance, with Poland’s sales to Latvia ($228.7 million) greatly exceeding imports from that country
($33.5 million). Polish exports consisted mainly of machines and mechanical appliances, followed by
foodstuffs and products of the chemical and allied industries’ products, while wood and wooden goods,
base metals and metallurgical products were the main imports. Estimated at $450,000 Polish firms’
investment in Latvia ran so low that it was not even included in official statistics.
The relations with Estonia were determined by the concurrent nature of the two countries’
foreign policy priorities. Both Warsaw and Tallinn were keen to develop regional policy, strengthen
security and develop good neighbourly relations with Russia. Closer co-operation was also a result of
the two countries’ endeavours to accede to the EU. Contacts between their top ranking politicians
remained animated. In September President Aleksander Kwaśniewski went to Tallinn to attend the
ceremony of bidding farewell to President Lennart Meri. President Arnold Rütel took part in the
international conference on the fight against terrorism held in Warsaw on 6 November. During his official
visit to Tallinn on 23–24 July, Minister of Foreign Affairs Władysław Bartoszewski discussed security,
bilateral co-operation and its prospects within the European Union as well as co-operation in the Baltic
Sea region. Minister Bartoszewski reaffirmed Poland’s support for the Baltic countries NATO
aspirations. In April an Estonian parliamentary delegation headed by Riigikog Speaker Toomas Savi
paid a visit to Poland.
As for regional co-operation, only a single agreement was concluded in 2001, namely between
the Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship and the Jogeva region. But lower level contacts, especially
between the two countries’ towns, developed more dynamically. Relations between regions should
benefit further from the founding in 2001 of the Intergovernmental Commission for Interregional
Co-operation. In August 2001 the Estonian government decided to donate 500,000 Estonian kroon
(around $27,000) to flood victims in Poland. The range and intensity of military contacts was determined
by the characteristics of the Polish and Estonian defence systems and by the choice of relations with
Finland as a priority in Estonian defence policy. In March the commander-in-chief of the Estonian Armed
Forces, General T. Kouts, paid a visit to Poland and was received by Minister of National Defence
Bronisław Komorowski. During his visit to Estonia in May, Minister Komorowski confirmed Poland’s
support for NATO’s open-door policy and declared readiness to share experience in the accession
Quick rise in two-way trade was a product of the entering into force of a provisional free-trade
agreement of 1 January 1999. Bilateral trade stood at $143.6 million in 2001, compared to $88.7
million in 1998. Poland had a significant surplus in its trade with Estonia, but growth in Estonian imports
was faster than in Polish exports. Polish sales reached $104.1 million and imports $39.5 million.
According to official statistics, Polish firms’ direct investment in Estonia totalled around €1 million at the
end of 2001, compared to €0.6 million worth of Estonian investment in Poland. The biggest Polish
individual investor was Bank Handlowy, which obtained 4 million shares from Hansapank, Estonia’s
This country enjoys in Bulgaria a reputation for leading Central and Eastern Europe in systemic
transformation, and hence the conviction about the need to maintain good relations with Poland as a
partner with greater experience and advancement in accession negotiations with the EU. Conducive to
the development of political relations was the absence of contentious issues between the two countries.
Prime Ministers Jerzy Buzek and Ivan Kostov, meeting in Sophia at a summit of the European People’s
Party (5 April), discussed bilateral issues and the situation in the region. While stressing Bulgaria’s
contribution to stability and peace in the Balkans, Jerzy Buzek expressed the hope that it would soon
join NATO and the EU. He also pointed to a low level of bilateral trade, and called for wider contacts
between both countries’ businessmen. Ivan Kostov thanked his guest for sharing the Polish experiences
with EU accession negotiations. At a summit of states aspiring to NATO membership held in Sophia on
4–5 October, Poland was represented by the head of the National Security Bureau, Marek Siwiec, who
conveyed to the participants a message from President Aleksander Kwaśniewski. Bulgarian Vice
President Todor Kavaldjiev was present at the international conference on the fight against terrorism in
Warsaw (6 November). As part of expanding military co-operation, a visit to Sophia (6–7 November) was
paid by the chief of staff, Gen. Czesław Piątas, who spoke with his Bulgarian counterpart, Gen. M.
Mikhov, about the reform of the Bulgarian army and the country’s preparations for NATO membership.
Coming to the fore in interministerial contacts was the joint work of both countries’ ministries of internal
affairs on an agreement to suppress organised and other crime. Archbishop Sawa, the Orthodox
Metropolitan of Warsaw and all Poland, paid a pastoral visit to Bulgaria in November.
Bilateral trade expanded in 2001, largely due to a major growth in imports from Bulgaria, by
$24.5 million. The overall trade level was $149.6 million, including $89.7 million worth of exports from
Poland and $59.9 million in imports from Bulgaria. Poland’s trade surplus shrank to $29.8 million.
Despite the expansion, these trade figures were regarded as insufficient. On the Polish side, slim
interest in Bulgarian products resulted from their low technological level and non-competitive prices. On
the Bulgarian side, the major role was played by inadequate knowledge of Polish industrial and
agricultural production and low domestic demand, reflecting the low purchasing power of the population
and lack of financial resources needed to import capital equipment and consumer goods.
Polish culture in Bulgaria continued to attract considerable interest. The popularising activities
by the Polish Institute in Sophia were carried out around the country, e.g. in Plovdiv, Ruse, Veliko
Trnovo and Varna, resulting in more than 20 film shows, 31 concerts of classical and contemporary
music and 24 radio presentations of Polish music. Polish studies were conducted at four universities, in
Sophia, Plovdiv, Veliko Trnovo and Shumen. The Polish language was also taught at private institutions
of higher learning: the Free University in Burgas and the New Bulgarian University in Sophia. Thirteen
Poles studied in Bulgarian universities and colleges on scholarships from the Polish Ministry of
Some 2,000 Bulgarian residents are of Polish extraction. Around 400 of them are members of
the Ladislas of Varna Polish Cultural and Educational Association, which has branches in Sophia,
Plovdiv and Veliko Trnovo and branches in several towns.
As in previous years, relations with Romania were marked by a discrepancy between intensive
political contacts, especially at the top level, and much weaker collaboration in non-political areas. The
most important bilateral event was an official visit paid to Poland by President Ion Iliescu (11–12 July).
During his talks with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the two reviewed mutual relations and stressed
for need for a major increase in trade, investments and industrial co-operation. They also decided to
Estonia ratified this agreement on 15 March 2000, and Poland on 4 January 2002.
appoint a presidential advisory committee to inspire collaboration between both countries. Signed in the
course of the visit were: an agreement on suppression of organised crime, terrorism and other crime,
and a convention on plant protection. President Iliescu attended the international conference on the fight
against terrorism in Warsaw (6 November). Prime Ministers Leszek Miller and Adrian Năstase held talks
in Bucharest during a CEFTA summit (16 November).
By tradition, intense contacts were maintained at the ministerial level. During a working visit to
Warsaw (31 May), Foreign Minister Dan Geoană talked with his Polish counterpart Władysław
Bartoszewski about a range of subjects, which included European and Euro-Atlantic integration, the
Balkan situation, and regional co-operation. Also discussed were bilateral relations and opportunities for
their expansion. A visit to Poland was paid by Romanian Defence Minister Ion Mircea Pascu (22–23
May). Both countries’ chief negotiators for talks with the EU, Jan Kułakowski and Vasile Puscas, held
consultations in July. Undersecretary of state at the Ministry of the Economy, H. Ogryczak, paid a visit to
Bucharest (17–20 April) to seek opportunities for the expansion of economic co-operation, including
through Polish companies’ participation in privatisation and investment projects in Romania. Ministry of
Justice representatives took part in regional consultations among Central and Eastern European
countries on the fight against corruption held in Bucharest in March. In July Viorel Vedinas, head of
Romania’s Civil Service Agency, stayed in this country to study Polish experiences in the field. A
delegation of the Constitutional Tribunal with vice-chairman Janusz Trzciński went to Bucharest in
February at the invitation of its Romanian counterpart. On the interparliamentary level, a visit to this
country was paid by the Romanian-Polish friendship group at the Romanian parliament. A still
unresolved problem in bilateral relations was the illegal prolongation of stay in Poland by Romanies with
In spite of a steady increase in bilateral trade in the wake of Romania’s accession to the CEFTA
back in 1997, its 2001 level was still low, with Poland ranking 16th on the list of that country’s trading
partners. Rising by $71.1 million on a year earlier, the two-way exchanges amounted to $355.3 million.
The main driving force was a 40% rise in Polish shipments to $226.4 million. With imports from Romania
running at $128.9 million, Poland’s trade deficit widened to $97.5 million. The main exports from this
country included: coal, coke, products of the chemical industry (organic and inorganic chemicals,
household chemicals), plastic and rubber articles, paper and articles thereof, metallurgical products,
meat and foodstuffs, mining machinery, construction and road machinery, and food processing
machinery. In imports, the dominant items were: vegetable oils, synthetic fibres, apparel, aluminium
products and components for the assembly of Daewoo cars. Polish investments in Romania, amounting
to $8.5 million, went into the food and packaging sectors.
The number of Romanian residents of Polish extraction is estimated at 10,000 by Poles and
4,500 by Romanians. Polish organisations were active in at least 10 towns and affiliated to the Polish
House Association based in Suceava. It was chaired by Johan Peter Babias of Vicsani, the Polish
minority’s representative in parliament. Polish House published the Polonus paper subsidised by the
Poland’s relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia clearly intensified, especially in the
political field, after a political breakthrough taking place in that country towards the end of 2000 and the
subsequent presidential elections at the federal level and parliamentary elections in Serbia. This country
took an active part in the implementation of EU and NATO policies towards the federation and the whole
Balkan region. Poland sought to support the process of democratic change in Yugoslavia, sharing its
experiences in systemic transformation and searching for an expansion of economic co-operation. Of
great importance for bilateral relations was President Aleksander Kwaśniewski’s visit to Belgrade (9
January), during which he held talks with Yugoslav Federal President Vojislav Koštunica. President
Kwaśniewski expressed the conviction that, thanks to democratic changes, Yugoslavia would soon
rejoin the European family, and he offered assistance in finding a good political and peaceful solution to
the Kosovo problem acceptable to all the parties concerned, and also in rebuilding the power, road and
bridge infrastructure. Support for the Yugoslav authorities’ reformatory action was also expressed by
Prime Minister Leszek Miller, who went to Belgrade (12 December) for meetings with President
Koštunica, Federal Prime Minister Dragiša Pešic and Serbian Premier Zoran Djindjic. During talks with
Prime Minister Pešic, much attention was devoted to the question of stimulating bilateral economic
contacts. The importance was stressed of trade intensification and improvement in civil aviation. The
Polish head of government declared the readiness to grant Yugoslavia a $50 million credit guarantee for
the purchase of Polish goods and services. Contributing to the animation of bilateral contacts was also a
visit paid to this country by a delegation of the Civic Council of the Federal Yugoslav Parliament, with
Speaker Dragoljub Mićunovic (February/March). The delegation held talks at the Sejm, where it was
received by Sejm Speaker Maciej Płażyński; it was also received by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski
and Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Steinhoff. During a working visit to Belgrade by Minister of Internal
Affairs and Administration Marek Biernacki (22 March), talks were held on concluding an agreement on
suppression of organised crime, and understanding was reached on procedures for the exchange of
experiences in the field and on co-operation in fighting drug trafficking. Two-way trade continued at a low
level, totalling $47.6 million (exports from Poland at $37.3 million, imports from Yugoslavia at $10.3
million, Poland’s surplus at $26 million).
An important element in bilateral relations was Poland’s participation in the international
operation in Kosovo. There were some 900 Polish servicemen in the KFOR contingent plus 125 men in
the international police force. A Polish humanitarian mission operated in Kosovo, and from July 2000
Poland’s Marek A. Nowicki had been the Ombudsman there. The Polish authorities viewed the
relations between Serbia and Montenegro as an internal affair of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
which should be settled by the parties directly concerned, without any unilateral action and based on
universally recognised principles of democracy.
The nature of relations with Slovenia was determined by the concurrence of both countries’
foreign policy goals—seeking membership of European and Euro-Atlantic structures—and that
country’s intention to tighten co-operation with Central European countries. Much attention in these
relations was devoted to promoting Poland as an EU candidate country and breaking a stereotype
according to which Poland was seen as the most backward and least prepared among the candidates.
Serving this goal was intensive political dialogue at the top level. During a working visit to Slovenia
(16–18 March), President Aleksander Kwaśniewski talked with President Milan Kučan about the
negotiations on EU accession conducted by both countries, NATO expansion and Balkan
developments. The two presidents stressed that there was no threat of Central and Eastern Europeans
flowing in great numbers into the EU in the wake of enlargement. The Polish president, who also met
Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek and Foreign Minister Dmitrij Rupel, assured Slovenian politicians about
Warsaw’s unswerving support for their country’s membership of NATO. During his visit, President
Kwaśniewski watched a ski jumping World Cup competition held in Slovenia, which was won by Polish
entrant Adam Małysz. President Kučan paid a working visit to Poland (29–30 October), during which,
together with President Kwaśniewski, he opened a pharmaceutical factory built in Pruszków by the
Slovenian company KRKA. Prime Ministers Miller and Drnovšek met at the CEFTA summit in Bucharest
(16 November). During a visit to Slovenia by Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski (9–10 May), both
parties emphasised the very good condition of bilateral relations and expressed the will to tighten up
co-operation in the course of negotiations on EU accession. Minister Rupel, present in Warsaw at the
international conference on the fight against terrorism (6 November), met with Minister Cimoszewicz.
Tone Hrovat, speaker of the National Council, the Slovenian parliament’s upper house, stayed in
Warsaw in December.
Co-operation between institutions of higher learning was carried out both within international
programmes and through direct contacts. Poland continued efforts aimed at establishing Polish studies
at the University of Ljubljana. In Poland, Slovenian studies are taught at universities in Warsaw, Cracow,
Łódź and Katowice. Great interest was attracted by the promotion of Polish language and culture within
the European Languages Day (Maribor, September 2001).
Bilateral trade in 2001 reached $393.3 million, with Polish exports dropping 2.8% (to $128.1
million) and imports rising 6.2% (to $265.2 million). As a result, Poland’s deficit widened to $137.1
million. Two Slovenian pharmaceutical companies invested in their line of business in Poland: Lek
Ljubljana ($25 million) and KRKA ($10 million).
Poland has been an attractive partner for Croatia due to the concurrence of both parties’ foreign
policy goals and this country’s position in Central Europe. Zagreb’s interest in tighter contacts with
Visegrad Group partners reflected an attempt to balance the EU’s regional approach to Croatia. Poland
supported Croatian rapprochement with the Atlantic Alliance and the European Union, and was ready to
share its own experiences gained while integrating with the two blocs. The most important bilateral event
in 2001 was the first ever visit to Croatia by a Polish head of state. During his stay in Zagreb (27–29
April), President Aleksander Kwaśniewski held talks with President Stipe Mesić, received Prime Minister
Ivica Račan, and addressed the Parliamentary Assembly. The discussions focused on bilateral relations
(assessed as exquisite), regional developments, and Euro-Atlantic integration. The Croatian hosts were
After completing his first term on 11 July 2002, M. A. Nowicki was appointed Ombudsman for a second term.
interested in tapping Polish experiences with joining NATO and negotiating EU accession. President
Mesić attended the international conference in Warsaw on the fight against terrorism (6 November).
Prime Minister Ivica Račan, staying in Poland on an official visit (11–13 February), talked with Prime
Minister Jerzy Buzek about expanding bilateral co-operation, especially in the energy sector, transport,
road construction and tourism. Prime Minister Račan urged Polish investors to participate in the
privatisation of the Croatian economy, e.g. in tourism. An agreement on seaborne transport signed
during the visit is expected to help boost two-way trade, just as a free trade agreement between both
countries signed in November. Bilateral trade in 2001 stood at $134.8 million, with exports at $103.1
million (up 42% on a year earlier), and imports at $31.7 million. The resulting trade surplus for Poland
reached $71.4 million. Poland’s major exports included paper for industrial and sanitary purposes,
yachts, live animals, copper wire and foodstuffs. In imports from Croatia, the main articles were
pharmaceuticals (primarily antibiotics), textiles and chemical industry products.
Poland was the Swiss Confederation’s most important partner in Central and Eastern Europe.
The two countries conducted an intense political dialogue in 2001, and they both described their
relations as harmonious and free of controversy. On 27–31 August Foreign Minister Władysław
Bartoszewski paid a working visit to Switzerland and discussed the state of bilateral relations with his
Swiss counterpart Joseph Deiss. Mr Bartoszewski also talked about Polish preparations for accession to
the European Union, and in this context he presented the prospects for Poland’s relations with its
eastern neighbours. The top-level political dialogue went in pair with co-operation in the field of security,
especially within the framework of trilateral (Swiss-Polish-Swedish) consultations on the activity of the
Neutral States Supervisory Commission in Korea. Experts from Poland worked in the Geneva Centre for
Democratic Control of Armed Forces founded in 2001. The two countries had similar views on nuclear
disarmament and biological weapons (stagnation of Geneva talks). Their opinion was also concurrent
with regard to the ―secondary circulation‖ of used conventional weapons, with both parties insisting that
their transfer should be countered. Poland largely supported the Swiss proposal for small arms and light
weapons to be marked so as to block their illegal transfer. Cultural co-operation was marked by the
Paderewski Festival, which included Krzysztof Jabłoński’s concerts in Lausanne and Basel.
Poland was Switzerland’s major trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe, accounting for
nearly a half of that country’s total investment in the region. Yet its share of overall Swiss trade
amounted to just 0.59% (0.29% of that country’s imports and 0.80% of exports). Even though Polish
sales to Switzerland grew far more dynamically than purchases from that country, Poland continued to
register a high trade deficit. In 2001, combined bilateral exchanges amounted to SFr1.6 billion, with
Polish purchases (SFr1.21 billion) three times as high as sales (SFr401 million). The main reasons for
this situation included: 1) continuing imports of investment goods (e.g. for Swiss and foreign firms
operating in Poland); 2) the Polish economy’s demand for Swiss pharmaceuticals, chemicals, specialist
machinery, electronic equipment, etc.; 3) Switzerland’s disinterest in Polish bulk merchandise; 4)
orientation of Swiss trade towards the EU, North America and Asia; 5) Polish exporters’ poor knowledge
of the Swiss market and their low determination to expand, along with deficient promotion of Polish
products; 6) stringent requirements of the Swiss market (compared to the EU), its relatively small size,
and stagnation processes which had a restricting effect on demand and imports of production inputs and
consumer goods. Meanwhile, over the past several years, two thirds of Polish sales to Switzerland were
accounted for by consumer and investment goods, mainly furniture (20%), machines (19%) and the Fiat
Seicento and Opel Agila vehicles (10%).
Swiss investments were seen mainly in the food, paper, furniture, pharmaceutical and chemical
sectors. Also, Zurich and Winterthur insurance companies were active on the Polish insurance market.
Having invested a cumulative $904.8 million, Swiss firms held 15th place in the foreign investors’
rankings. (Had Switzerland-based international groups been taken into account, they would have
occupied the 9th position.)
Polish companies invested around $100 million in Switzerland. The biggest individual investors
were Dalinco AG in Zurich (Stalexport’s representative handling in steel and other metallurgical
exports), S&I in Lausanne (Impexmetal’s distributor of bearings, non-ferrous metals, etc.) and cargo
handling and freight companies Gondrand in Basel (PKS shareholder) and Poltrans (Hartwig Polska
It should be noted, though, that some goods purchased by Swiss firms from Polish partners do not enter two-way
trade statistics, as they are resold to other markets.
The year 2001 reinforced an earlier animation and gradual normalisation of relations with
Russia. Poland continued its efforts to base bilateral relations on the principles of partnership,
something that had proved a tall order in the 1990s. A welcome tendency could already be detected
during a visit to Warsaw by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (22–23 November 2000). A factor
helping to keep this tendency up was the near prospect of this country’s accession to the European
Union. In this sense, there is concurrence of Polish interests with the declared objectives of Russian
foreign policy, including its priority treatment of European orientation. Right in the beginning of 2001
President Vladimir Putin referred to the relations with Poland as exemplifying a favourable development
of Moscow’s bilateral relations with Central Europe. And the abrupt changes on the international
scene in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks against the US also strongly influenced an accelerated
revaluation of global and regional security issues by Warsaw and Moscow. Possible differences of both
countries’ strategic interests in the region were offset by the tightening and improving co-operation with
NATO on the part of Russia and by its waning opposition against the Baltic states’ expected accession
of to the Alliance.
January 2001 saw a certain misunderstanding sparked by the Washington Post report on
transfers of tactical nuclear warheads to bases in the Kaliningrad district. According to the daily citing US
military intelligence reports, the Russian high command sent such warheads to Kaliningrad and western
Russia in the summer of 2000, reflecting a revision of its military doctrine towards greater reliance on
nuclear deterrence in response to dire financial problems with maintenance of the conventional forces.
Moscow denied the report, and President Putin described it as ―utter nonsense.‖ Still, these ―media
facts‖ greatly influenced public perceptions in Poland and the Baltic states. Before checking the
information, the then Polish defence minister, Bronisław Komorowski, actually called for an international
inspection in Kaliningrad to verify the Russian denial. According to President Kwaśniewski, a move such
as warheads transfer would cause ―a great dent in confidence in Russia.‖ This country’s official position
was presented in a Foreign Ministry statement, which read: ―Poland today is as safe as prior to the
publications. We are a member of NATO and we know what is going on around us..... Poland does not
demand any inspection of an extraordinary nature to be held on Russian territory.‖ Thus the media
speculations picked up by some deputies to the Sejm were calmed down.
This episode did not affect the previously agreed timetable for two-way state visits in 2001. On
5–6 February Minister of Foreign Affairs Władysław Bartoszewski paid a working visit to Moscow at the
invitation of the Russian party. Plenary discussions covered: interregional and transfrontier co-operation
with the Kaliningrad and Leningrad districts; Warsaw’s position on indispensable consultations among
the EU, Russia, Poland and Lithuania; the role for the UN, NATO, the NATO-Russia Council and the
OSCE; and assessment of Balkan and Middle East developments. The ministers also reviewed the
implementation of the programme of interdepartamental consultations between the two countries’
Ministries of Foreign Affairs and discussed questions related to the movement of persons and legal
basis of bilateral relations. A date was proposed for the Russian prime minister’s visit to Poland and
Minister Bartoszewski handed to Minister Ivanov another package of archive documents about Russian
POWs during the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1919–1920.
During a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, the head of Polish diplomacy
was told that economic co-operation with Poland constituted an important component in the building of
Russia’s partnership with the European Union. In a conversation with State Duma Speaker Gennadi
Selezhnev, current and perspective bilateral issues were taken up, including a possible expansion of
interparliamentary co-operation. In the course of his visit, Mr Bartoszewski delivered a lecture to
students of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs devoted to
The Russian president said that at a closed session of the Foreign Ministry Council in Moscow on 26 January
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the discussion on nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad dated 5
Deputy M. Kamiński (AWS) moved to send a special message on the subject to the Russian Federation’s State
Duma. The idea was rejected by the Sejm’s Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in the presence of Deputy Foreign
Affairs Minister Andrzej Ananicz, who briefed deputies on the Russian military potential in Kaliningrad. For more on
Polish reactions see R. Węglarczyk, ―Wuj Sam wiedział, nie powiedział,‖ Gazeta Wyborcza, 8 January 2001; ―Tajne
wieści z Kaliningradu,‖ Rzeczpospolita, 19 January 2001; ―Zachować spokój,‖ Trybuna, 11 January 2001.
bilateral relations in the context of EU enlargement. He also had a meeting with representatives of
Moscow’s Polish expatriate community. In the private leg of the visit, the foreign minister visited Christ
the Saviour Orthodox Church, the Moscow Synagogue and the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic
Cathedral; he also laid flowers at the graves of General Leopold Okulicki and Stanisław Jasiukowicz
[members of Polish underground leadership arrested by the Soviet security police towards the end of
World War II], and at a symbolic tomb of the victims of totalitarianism at the Donski Cemetery.
Towards the end of February both countries’ previously planned interministerial consultations
were held in Warsaw. In their course, representatives of departments in charge of integration and
European issues presented the goals set in the Polish plan of preparations for EU membership, EU
accession negotiations, alignment of Polish law with the Community acquis, EU’s regional policy, and
transfrontier co-operation with Kaliningrad. And during consultations between security departments, the
discussions focused on Balkan stabilisation, the role of NATO-Russia relations and the OSCE in
European security, prospects of NATO’s expansion to the east, and US plans to build a missile defence
These latter consultations were part of a whole series of visits and contacts concerning security
issues. On March 23 the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Sergei Ivanov, stayed in this country
at the invitation of the National Security Bureau. He held talks with senior officials at the National
Security Bureau and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presenting the Kremlin’s position on such issues as
the place of the EU and NATO in Russia’s security policy and Central and Eastern European
developments. He also spoke about Moscow’s view of the federal authorities’ future relations with the
Kaliningrad district, with account taken of its status as an enclave in the enlarged EU. These issues
were also taken up during the visits to Warsaw by Duma Speaker Selezhnev in April (even if it was
largely a courtesy sojourn), and by the Head of the Duma’s Defence Committee, Andrei Nikolaev, in
May. In the course of the latter visit, the proposal re-emerged for Polish-Russian co-operation in arms
production and sale to third markets; also discussed were new confidence building measures in the
Baltic Sea region.
In early July a delegation of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs held consultations in Moscow
with the department for security and disarmament at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which
current international issues were discussed: the US concept of the so-called strategic ballistic missile
defence replacing the NMD system; the future of ABM and START treaties, and other arms control and
disarmament regimes. Talks were also conducted with Deputy Minister Georgi Mamedov and head of
the Russian Ammunition Agency, Zinovi Pak, concerning bilateral co-operation in the destruction of
Russian chemical weapons stockpiles, to which Russia invited Polish military experts.
But the most important event in the first half of the year was Russian Prime Minister Mikhail
Kasyanov’s official visit to Poland (24–26 May), which both parties expected to provide an appropriate
impulse to unsettled problems in bilateral relations. As the first official visit by a Russian head of
government to this country after 1996, it was also a major political and diplomatic occasion. The Polish
party sought to take up and openly discuss the question of barriers to co-operation. Mr Kasyanov was
emphatically told by his Warsaw hosts that all major political forces in Poland are interested in
partner-like, good-neighbourly relations with Russia. There also came a concerted message from
representatives of Poland’s highest authorities about the still untapped potential for economic, scientific,
cultural and social co-operation, whose development would facilitate mutual understanding and steady
improvement in political relations. It should be noted that the visit by the Russian prime minister was, at
his request, prolonged beyond the original schedule, and that in its course the two heads of government
met seven times, including twice in close company.
On the first day of plenary debates involving the two governmental delegations, the Polish prime
minister pointed to this country’s growing trade deficit with Russia adversely affecting economic
co-operation. His Russian counterpart said that, save for some negligence on both sides, this state of
affairs should be attributed to high oil and natural gas prices on international markets and inefficient
mechanisms to support Polish exports to his country. He said further that mutual contacts would receive
a boost from the establishment of a Polish-Russian Business Council and from the signing of a joint
declaration on trade and economic and financial co-operation. But what was most important for both
parties was the presentation of their respective positions on shipments of Russian natural gas and its
The Polish foreign minister also gave interviews to the Interfax news agency and the TV RTR channel.
Already at the time of the visit, the role and influence of Sergei Ivanov, one of the Russian president’s most
trusted aides, began to transcend the formal terms of reference of Security Council secretary.
The Russian federal government held a special meeting on 22 March, at which the special economic zone in the
Kaliningrad district received low marks.
See the 23–26 May 2001 issues of Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, Trybuna and Życie dailies.
transit through Poland. Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek said that Poland was open to projects boosting the
transit of Russian raw materials through its territory, but co-operation in this field had to be regulated
comprehensively. That included: evaluating the joint-venture company EuRoPol Gaz; reviewing and
possibly revising so-called Yamal agreements of 1993 and 1995; arranging credit guarantees for the
construction of natural gas pumping stations; laying the previously planned second Yamal pipe; and
mapping out several alternative routes for the so-called inter-systems connection running through
Belarus, Poland and Slovakia. In other words, Poland linked Russia’s request for a route bypassing
Ukraine to the regulation of a whole set of problems associated with Polish-Russian agreements on
natural gas imports.
Taken up later in the plenary session was Russia’s decision not to ratify the bilateral agreement
on investment protection, reflecting the desire to unify all documents of this kind so as to enable that
country to meet WTO standards. Prime Minister Kasyanov also pointed to Polish import quotas on some
Russian articles—even though many of these were not used up in full. Prime Minister Buzek in turn
presented Polish expectations regarding fishing in the Sea of Okhotsk (keeping the fishing quotas),
national Polish airlines LOT’s access to airspace corridors and airports in Russia’s Far East, and
shipments of Russian scrap metal to Polish mills. Another group of the issues discussed was related to
bilateral co-operation—and, on a broader plane, co-operation with Lithuania and the EU—with regard to
Kaliningrad. Its Governor Vladimir Yegorov, who was a member of the Russian delegation, raised the
question of modernising the Polish section of the Elbląg-Kaliningrad highway, constructing a border
crossing, and also Polish companies’ participation in building a ring-road around Bagrationovsk. The
Russian delegation expressed misgivings about how the visa requirement for Russian citizens could
lead to the enclave’s isolation within the enlarged Union. Prime Minister Buzek, however, averred that
the Polish activities would be restricted to the most necessary projects, and that they would be
completed on time. He proposed that additional consulates be opened in both countries, thus facilitating
the movement of persons through smoother and swifter visa issuance. Also discussed were questions
related to the parity of land plots used by diplomatic missions, resumption of the proceedings of the
Textbooks Commission, and restitution of Polish objects of culture in Russia.
During talks with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov
presented the Russian position on natural gas transit and Central and Eastern European security. He
also brought up the question of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Poland planned for the first half of
2002. In a conversation with Sejm Speaker Maciej Płażyński, the Russian guest made a positive
assessment of the Polish pursuit of integration with the EU, and of the re-emergence of Polish-Russian
dialogue at the top level. Mr Płażyński pointed to the growing intensity of interparliamentary contacts
between the Sejm and the Duma. And the subjects raised in the course of talks with Senate Speaker
Alicja Grześkowiak included Russia’s recognition of Poles as a repressed people, freedom of the
Russian media and the conflict in Chechnya.
On 21 June the head of Polish diplomacy was in Moscow on a second working visit in 2001, this
time for a ceremony of presenting diplomas of Polish and Russian foreign ministers for outstanding
contribution to mutual understanding and rapprochement between societies in both countries. Jerzy
Pomianowski and Tatyana Kudryavtseva were the first laureates. Held in the Polish Embassy in
Moscow in the presence of Russian cultural figures and the media from both countries, the ceremony
provided an occasion for Ministers Bartoszewski and Ivanov to hold a long conversation on bilateral
political and economic relations and current international developments (the latest Russia-US
presidential summit, the summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, and Middle East
developments). The Polish guest also presented details of Warsaw’s position on the enlarged EU’s
future relations with neighbours in the east, including Russia.
The absence of top-level contacts in the summer reflected the timing of parliamentary elections
in Poland and, later, both countries’ preoccupation with global consequences of the events of 11
September. On 6 November a Russian delegation with an observer status took part in the Warsaw
conference of Central European presidents on the fight against terrorism. Global and regional security
The Polish expectations were presented in a pro memoria form, which came somewhat as a surprise to the
Russian delegation. For problems besetting Polish-Russian energy co-operation see Yearbook of Polish Foreign
Policy 2001, Warsaw, 2001, pp. 210–212.
This time, Russia refrained from linking these issues with the question of free navigation through the Strait of
Pillau for vessels flying all flags. Previously, Moscow insisted that only Polish and Russian vessels had this right.
Poland produced a list of such objects compiled by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
The document ―The Eastern Policy of the European Union in the run-up to the EU’s enlargement to include
countries of Central and Eastern Europe – Poland’s viewpoint‖ was presented to the European Commission and to
Sweden, which then held the EU presidency.
issues in the context of the anti-terror campaign were among the main topics discussed during President
Aleksander Kwaśniewski’s brief working visit to Moscow (15 October) for the inauguration of the Days of
Polish Science and Technology in Russia. Talking at the Kremlin, Presidents Kwaśniewski and Putin
exchanged opinions on the international situation, NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism and the
related closer co-operation with the Alliance on the part of Russia. Separate, more detailed talks were
held by National Security Bureau head, Minister Marek Siwiec, and Russian Security Council Secretary
Vladimir Rushaylo. During the visit, the two parties agreed upon, and announced the date for, the
Russian president’s official visit to Poland (16–17 January 2002). After the opening ceremony of the
Days of Polish Science and Technology in Russia held under the auspices of the Russian president, the
two leaders decorated outstanding scientists from both countries’ academies of sciences. Attending a
special session of the UN General Assembly in New York (11 November), Foreign Ministers
Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Igor Ivanov in turn held talks of an introductory nature. The new head of
Polish diplomacy declared the will to conduct a more active, open and positive policy towards Russia,
noting that the beginnings of such a policy were initiated by his predecessor. The two foreign ministers
also discussed the planned visits, by Prime Minister Miller to Moscow and by President Putin to
The visit by the new Polish prime minister (19–20 December) was prepared with some speed to
emphasise the weight of Polish-Russian relations in the programme of the governing coalition of the
SLD and PSL parties. It was preceded by a short working visit to Moscow by Deputy Prime Minister
Marek Pol to clear the ground for economic talks. Prime Minister Miller was the first Polish head of
government invited to Moscow in more than five years (after the then prime minister, Włodzimierz
Cimoszewicz). On the political level, the purpose of the visit was to present Poland’s pragmatic and
partner-like approach to Russia, declare the will to expand and deepen mutual economic, political and
people-to-people relations, present the Polish position on transit to and from Kaliningrad via Polish
territory, and tighten up bilateral co-operation prior to Poland’s accession to the European Union.
On the first day of the visit, Prime Minister Leszek Miller met behind closed doors with Prime
Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, and he led the Polish delegation in plenary negotiations with the Russian
party. It was agreed that a special intergovernmental commission would review bilateral agreements on
natural gas and propose new arrangements prior to 15 January 2002, i.e. the commencement of the
Russian president’s official visit to Poland. After the talks, Prime Minister Kasyanov declared Russia’s
understanding for the comprehensive proposals on economic issues and the intention to have these
problems settled as soon as possible. Russia expressed interest in a possible participation of Polish
companies in some federal investment projects in the Kaliningrad district, e.g. a $1 billion combined heat
and power station, or a motorway linking Kaliningrad with Elbląg. On the second day of the visit, the two
heads of government signed a joint declaration on economic, trade, financial, scientific and
technological co-operation expected to provide a basis for mutually advantageous contracts and for the
expansion of interregional economic contacts. Russia accepted the proposal for Polish, Russian and
Lithuanian heads of government to meet in Kaliningrad in the first quarter of 2002. These issues were
also taken up during Prime Minister Miller’s meetings with President Putin, Duma Speaker Selezhnev,
Chairman of the Council of the Federation Sergei Mironov, and Moscow Mayor Yuri Lushkov. During the
visit, a Polish-Russian Business Forum was held at the Polish Embassy in Moscow.
Both the Warsaw visit by Prime Minister Kasyanov and the Moscow visit by Prime Minister Miller
should be regarded not so much as ―breakthroughs,‖ but rather as evidence of normalisation in
Polish-Russian relations. However, the improvement in political climate, perceptible since autumn 2000,
did not translate into a reversal of trading trends. Bilateral trade in 2001 topped $5.4 billion, splitting into
$1.05 billion worth of exports from Poland and $4.42 billion in imports from Russia. This again produced
a trade deficit for Poland, whose level—$3.37 billion—was only slightly lower than a year earlier ($3.75
billion). Polish imports were dominated by raw materials and fuels, the international prices of which
were exceptionally favourable to Russia. These tendencies can only be reversed, it seems, once all
questions involved in the import of Russian raw materials are settled and once Polish companies
operating on the Russian market—and encountering numerous administrative problems there—receive
support from the Polish government.
Professors Mirosław Mossakowski, Jerzy Kołodziejczyk and Zbigniew Kłos received Russian Orders of
Friendship, and Professors Janusz Tazbir and Henryk Markiewicz were presented with Pushkin Medals. The Polish
Commander’s Cross with a Star of the Order of Merit was conferred upon president of the Russian Academy of
Sciences, Professor Yuri Osipov.
See ―Pół godziny po rosyjsku,‖ Rzeczpospolita, 12 November 2001.
Data of the Polish Ministry of the Economy released in 2002, at www.mg.gov.pol.
Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski
Poland’s relations with Ukraine in 2001 were affected by a political crisis that kept growing there
from November 2000, when journalist Georgiy Gongadze was found dead in mysterious circumstances.
Violations of the principles of democracy and human rights could have led to the removal of Ukraine
from the Council of Europe, and the shooting down of a Russian passenger aircraft by a Ukrainian
missile undermined that country’s credibility. The negative perception of Ukraine in the West caused
stagnation in its co-operation with Euro-Atlantic structures. In this situation, a rapprochement was
recorded between Ukraine and Russia. It should be noted, however, that President Leonid Kuchma did
not heed Moscow’s protests against Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Ukraine (23–27 June). During this
pilgrimage, the Pope voiced the Vatican’s support for a sovereign and democratic Ukraine.
Anti-presidential demonstrations taking place from the beginning of the year aggravated
Ukraine’s internal crisis. Poland confined itself to showing concern over the situation. Such concern was
expressed by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski during his meetings in Kazimierz Dolny with a
delegation of the Ukrainian opposition on 14 March and with President Kuchma on 15 March. Mr
Kwaśniewski tried to convince both sides to start talks and to observe the principles of democracy and
the law. The Ukrainian crisis was also discussed during the talks which the Democratic Left Alliance
(SLD) chairman, Leszek Miller, and SLD leadership member, deputy Tadeusz Iwiński, had with the
chairman of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, Oleksandr Moroz, on 23 March.
President Kwaśniewski expressed support for a sovereign and democratic Ukraine maintaining
close relations with Europe in Łańcut on 28 June, during Mr Kuchma’s working visit to Poland.
Under the patronage of Sejm Speaker Maciej Płażyński and Supreme Council Speaker Ivan
Plushch, a conference ―Ukraine–Ten Years of Independence‖ was held at the Sejm to mark the 10th
anniversary of independent Ukraine. Among the participants were: Ukraine’s former Prime Minister
Viktor Yushchenko; chairman of the People’s Movement of Ukraine Hennadiy Udovenko; chairman of
the Sejm European Integration Commission, deputy Tadeusz Mazowiecki; chairman of the
Ukrainian-Polish Bilateral Group Ihor Pylypchuk; the Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland, Dmytro
Pavlychko; and the Polish Ambassador to Ukraine, Marek Ziółkowski. Addressing the Conference, Mr
Płażyński described the decade of Ukraine’s independence as ―definitely positive, but matching neither
our expectations nor the expectations of the Ukrainian people.‖ Ukrainian politicians pointed to the
importance of Poland’s support for the fulfilment of Ukraine’s aspirations to accede to the European
A session of the Consultative Committee of the Polish and Ukrainian Presidents took place in
Warsaw on 12 July. Among the subject discussed was the founding of a joint Polish-Ukrainian-Slovak
brigade within the framework of European rapid reaction forces.
According to guidelines on Polish-Ukrainian military co-operation in the years 2001–2003,
political dialogue should deepen, consultations should be conducted on security-related issues, Ukraine
should receive support to reform its defence system and armed forces, direct contacts between military
units should intensify and co-operation should develop between both countries’ troops within
Partnership for Peace. Experts’ consultations are to take place on peacekeeping instruments along with
study programmes on security in Central and Eastern Europe, the legislative, organisational and social
aspects of armed forces’ reforms, on military budgets and on the civilian control over armed forces.
Military co-operation will include further exchange of experience in battle readiness, preparation of the
Polish-Ukrainian battalion for peace missions, upgrading the troops’ mobility and privatisation of the
defence industry. In military-technological co-operation, emphasis will be laid on the exchange of
experiences in standardisation to adjust the Ukrainian armed forces to NATO standards, on joint
supplies of materials and spare parts, repairs and modernisation of military technology.
Military co-operation between Poland and Ukraine from 1991 to 2001, including a peacekeeping
mission of the POLUKRBAT Polish-Ukrainian battalion in Kosovo, was the subject of a photography
exhibition at the Warsaw Garrison Club (27 August).
Poland continued efforts to develop economic co-operation with Ukraine through the
Polish-Ukrainian Mixed Commission for Economic Co-operation and Trade (chaired by the two
countries’ prime ministers) and in accordance with the memorandum on measures serving to liberalise
Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski, born 1974; graduate, Institute of Political Sciences, Institute of International Relations,
and School of National Security at Warsaw University’s Department of Journalism and Political Sciences; specialist
in the post-Soviet area; expert, Department of Strategy and Foreign Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Committee was chaired by the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, Yevhen
Marchuk, and the head of the Polish National Security Bureau, Marek Siwiec.
trade between Poland and Ukraine. As in the previous years, Polish-Ukrainian economic summits took
place in 2001, as did the Poland–East Economic Forum in Krynica and many other projects of regional
The 4th economic summit held in Dnipropetrovsk on 3–4 June under the auspices of Presidents
Kwaśniewski and Kuchma was attended by the two presidents, the ministers of the economy and
other state officials and by representatives of local governments and economic self-management
bodies; it provided an opportunity to conduct an open discussion on the problems of economic
co-operation, instances of negligence and obstacles, including the situation along the border, financial
settlements and insurance against risk in bilateral co-operation. During the summit, Presidents Kuchma
and Kwaśniewski saw an exhibition of technical appliances produced by Ukraine’s Pivdenmash group.
They also opened the Ukrainian-Polish Centre for Sustained Development of Management, Enterprise
Poland shall welcome an increase in Ukrainian firms’ contribution to the Polish market and their
participation in promotional and commercial projects, such as the Poznań International Fair or the
The year 2001 saw more returns of Polish companies to Ukraine (many had left in effect of the
1998–1999 collapse of the Ukrainian market). The Economic and Trade Department of the Polish
Embassy in Kiev was involved in vigorous information and promotional activity, which was of material
importance for Polish small businesses, as they frequently could not afford individual market surveys.
Promotional and information projects were launched in Berdychiv, Kiev, Kremenchuk, Odessa and
Zhytomyr along with Polish exhibitions, to mention only the ―Business Poland‖ National Exposition in
Kiev (8–11 October) or the Polish National Exhibition in Dnipropetrovsk (6–8 June).
At the end of 2001 most of the Polish investments in Ukraine went to banking—32.8%,
industry—38.4% (including metallurgy—20.7%, foodstuffs—21.4%, textiles/clothing/footwear—10%,
engineering, electrical and electronic sectors—9%, and chemical industry—9%) and to
Ukraine was the 9th largest market for Polish products in 2001 (2.8%) and it ranked 23rd on the
list of importers to this country (0.9%). Poland in turn was the 7th biggest buyer of Ukrainian goods
(3.1%) and the 6th biggest supplier (2.9%). Polish exports rose by 25.6% to reach $1,002.7 million at the
end of 2001. At the same time, imports from Ukraine went down by 5.5% to $449.3 million.
Polish exports consisted mainly of machines, mechanical appliances and electrical equipment,
base metals, plastics, rubber, chemicals, foodstuffs, textiles, timber and timber products, furniture,
mineral products (coal), footwear, vehicles and products made of stone and cement. The biggest
imports were those of mineral products, base metals, chemicals and animal products.
There are 195 banks in Ukraine, including some with Polish capital, namely:
– Deposit-Credit Bank Ukraina Ltd. registered in Lutsk in 1997 (the Polish shareholder is Bank
– Western Ukrainian Commercial Bank registered in Lviv (the Polish strategic investor is Kredyt
Bank PBI S.A.). The bank has 18 branches in Ukraine;
– Bank Handlowy w Warszawie S.A. representative office in Kiev, operating from 1998.
Poland’s contribution to direct foreign investment in Ukraine reached 1.58% at the end of 2001
and amounted to $69.3 million (companies partly owned by Poles constitute 10% of all companies with
foreign capital there).
The year 2001 was one of economic growth in Ukraine. GDP went up by 9%, inflation stood at
6.1%, industrial output rose by 15.4% and agricultural output by 9.1%, the rate of unemployment was
10%, the hryvnia remained stable, grain harvest reached the record level of 37 million tons, exports rose
by 14.6%, imports by 13.2% and foreign investment by 8.5% ($4.2 billion). The growth of the basic
macroeconomic indices slowed down at the end of 2001 because of a decline recorded on international
markets and a gradual exhaustion of the extensive growth factors.
The opportunities for the development of the Polish-Ukrainian co-operation on the Ukrainian
investment market are remarkable and embrace many sectors. They are limited, however, by both
countries’ financial constraints and by insufficient development of the credit and insurance infrastructure
For more information on the subject see Z. Szmyd, ―Relations with Ukraine,‖ Yearbook of Polish Foreign Policy
2000, Warsaw, 2000.
The summit’s Polish co-organisers were: the Eastern Club, the National Economic Chamber and the Know How
In 2001 Ukraine had around 1,800 firms with Polish capital, out of which 200 were manufacturers.
Throughout 2001, Poland expressed on the international forum its support for the process of
Ukraine’s adjustment to the World Trade Organisation. Ukraine’s accession to the WTO would
contribute in a significant degree to the stability of trading conditions and of the principles binding in
Poland by and large takes interest in participating in the construction of the
Odessa-Brody-Gdańsk oil pipeline. The project would offer this country an alternative source of oil
supplies as well as commercial benefits from transit. But in 2001 neither the sources of the project’s
financing nor potential oil suppliers and buyers were identified. On August 19, on the 10th anniversary of
Ukraine’s independence, a ceremony was held of welding the first sections of the pipeline.
Polish-Ukrainian transfrontier co-operation, from cross-border trade to Euroregions, played a
significant role in the development of economic contacts. The Euroregions, which represent the most
sophisticated form of such co-operation, are designed to facilitate social and economic development in
the border areas. The ―Bug-Carpathians-Prut‖ Economic Forum held on 25–27 October under the
auspices of the Promotion Centre of the National Economic Chamber and the Polish-Ukrainian
Economic Chamber also served this purpose.
The good climate of the Polish-Ukrainian relations was conducive to the development of cultural
and scientific co-operation in spite of bureaucratic obstacles posed by Ukraine and of limited financing
possibilities. A rise was recorded in the Ukrainians’ interest in the Polish culture and the experience of
Poles in reforming government structures, state policy, education, science, culture and mass media. In
the coming years, culture is quite likely to become a pillar of Polish-Ukrainian partnership, provided joint
initiatives in this field are well planned.
The Polish-Ukrainian Congress of Culture (Lublin, 26–27 May) was an excellent opportunity to
recapitulate cultural contacts between the two nations to-date and map out plans for the coming years.
The Congress was held under the patronage of Polish and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Ministers Janusz
Steinhoff and Mykola Zhulynski.
The 3rd session of the Intergovernmental Polish-Ukrainian Commission for the Protection and
Restitution of Objects of Culture Lost or Illegally Transferred during World War II was held in Kiev on 3–6
June. The Polish delegation was chaired by Stanisław Żurowski, under secretary of state and
government representative for cultural heritage abroad, who conferred with the chairman of the
Ukrainian State Service for the Control of Transfer of Objects of Culture across State Borders. It was
agreed that groups of experts would meet regularly within the framework of the Commission (founded in
1996) to prepare materials for its new sessions. In 2001 such meetings took place between experts on
historical archives (in Cracow on 14–16 January, and in Krasiczyn on 10–12 December) and on
museums (in Cracow on 26–28 September).
Presidents Kwaśniewski and Kuchma went to Lublin on 6 October to attend the inauguration of
the European College of Polish and Ukrainian Universities, which is to give rise to an independent
In December an agreement was signed in Kiev between the head of the Ukrainian State
Commission for the Remembrance of Repression Victims and the Polish Council for the Remembrance
of Struggle and Martyrdom on the Young Eagles’ Cemetery in Lviv in connection with the 2000 Lviv
Municipal Council’s resolution concerning this cemetery. The city councillors forbade erecting there
monuments to French infantrymen and to American pilots and placing a plaque with the inscription ―To
soldiers killed in heroic struggle for Poland.‖ While demanding the placing of such a plaque, the Polish
side cited a relevant Polish-Ukrainian intergovernmental agreement.
In October, experts from Poland conducted a survey and exhumation work at Bykovnya near
Kiev. Their findings confirmed that among the victims of Stalinist repression of the years 1937–1941
were Polish officers and women, probably officers’ wives. Among the objects discovered at Bykovnya
were Polish-made army boots and women’s shoes, as well as Polish coins and a notebook with the
content written in the Polish language. The number of people buried in the woods near Kiev remains
unknown. According to different reports, it is somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 people. Whether
a symbolic cemetery or a monument is raised at Bykovnya and whether the victims are exhumed will
depend on further findings.
The Forum was attended by government officials and businessmen from Austria, Hungary, Poland, Romania,
Slovakia and Ukraine and by representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Poland’s policy towards Belarus is founded on the conviction that the retaining by that country of
the status of an independent subject of international law concurs with Poland’s strategic interests in the
region and contributes to the region’s stability and security. Some Polish media queried this policy’s
effectiveness, however. Nevertheless, Poland did not change its critical position on the internal
situation in Belarus after what was referred to as the constitutional referendum of November 1996
(dispersing the 12th Supreme Council) and the October 2000 parliamentary elections. Political
developments that preceded and accompanied the presidential elections of 9 September 2001
confirmed previous opinions about President Aleksandr Lukashenka’s policy. In these circumstances
Poland had no choice but to continue only the lower rank political relations and develop low level and
working contacts with Belarus. Meetings between the two countries’ presidents, prime ministers and
ministers of foreign affairs remained subject to restrictions.
Meanwhile, Belarus continued efforts to win international approval for President Lukashenka's
regime and his way of handling the internal affairs. Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks
against the United States, Minsk certainly benefited from the West’s preoccupation with the anti-terrorist
campaign, as it meant that all interest in Belarus became confined to whether it supplied arms to the
countries sponsoring terrorism. In general, with regard to European security issues (including the role
NATO), Belarussian foreign policy remained under a strong influence of Russia and of problems
emerging in economic integration between the two countries.
After the September presidential elections in Belarus, Warsaw gave the opinion that the
Belarussian leadership failed to use the opportunity it had to organise free and democratic elections and
that the elections returns could not be considered honest and trustworthy. Consequently, Poland
supported the EU declaration proposed by Belgium, the initial OSCE/ODIHR report and the criticism of
the Belarussian leadership included in a report released by the ―parliamentary three,‖ i.e. the OSCE
Parliamentary Assembly, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European
Parliament. But at the same time President Aleksander Kwaśniewski declared that irrespective of the
election results and problems appearing in bilateral relations, Poland would continue the non-isolation
policy towards Minsk and would continue economic contacts at different levels. He also expressed hope
that the Belarussian leadership would change its anti-democratic policy. Poland invited Belarus to
participate in the Warsaw conference of the Central and Eastern European presidents on the fight
against terrorism (6 November). Ural Latipov, head of President Lukashenka’s administration, attended
the conference as an observer.
At the OSCE summit in Bucharest (3–4 December) a meeting took place between Polish and
Belarussian Foreign Ministers Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Mikhail Khvastou. The Polish party
pointed out after the meeting that unless Minsk fulfilled certain criteria (showed respect for democratic
standards, permitted activity by the opposition and its media and supplied information on the
whereabouts of missing persons), Belarussian leaders could not expect being welcome in Europe.
Minister Cimoszewicz observed on that occasion that Poland was willing to broaden economic and local
governments’ co-operation, while raising bilateral contacts onto a higher level would depend on whether
or not Belarus fulfilled the above criteria.
A decline, first reported two years before, continued in two-way trade, which in 2001 stood at
$400 million, with Poland recording a trade surplus. Polish exports ($276 million) included foodstuffs,
chemicals and engineering products (e.g. Bizon combine harvesters). The main imports ($145.4 million)
were mineral products, chemicals, textiles and timber. According to the latest data, there are around 250
joint ventures in Belarus along with 137 firms wholly owned by Poland, and their cumulative capital is
estimated at $14 million. The main complaint of Polish businessmen is bureaucracy, as there is less
free market in the Belarussian economy than in any Central European country or any other post-Soviet
state. Economic ministries’ contacts had the form of regular meetings of bilateral commissions. On 5–6
Zofia Szmyd, born 1952; graduate, University of Wrocław; senior expert at the National Security Bureau
(1995–1997); from 1997 with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; currently, chief specialist, Department of Strategy and
Foreign Policy Planning.
See P. Kościński, ―Nie izolować, nie popierać,‖ Rzeczpospolita, 20 November 2001.
According to elections returns published by Belarus’ Central Electoral Commission, incumbent President
Lukashenka received 75.56% of all votes, Vladimir Gancharik (joint candidate of the opposition) 15.65%, and Sergei
Gaidukevich (leader of the Liberal -Democratic Party loyal to the government) 2.48%; see www.president.gov.by.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement of 11 September 2001.
Data released by the Ministry of the Economy, see www.mg.gov.pl
December the 7th session of the Polish-Belarussian Mixed Commission for Economic and Trade
Co-operation was held in Minsk. It reviewed two-way trade and co-operation in industry, the power
sector, construction, finance, banking, transport, agriculture and in border guards’ and customs
services’ performance. The Commission recommended further inter-ministerial co-operation in the
areas of certification, banking and insurance. Its session was accompanied by one of regular economic
seminars ―Good neighbourliness‖ serving to stimulate co-operation and develop contacts among nearly
300 businessmen from Poland, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Another example of business contacts
was the 2nd Forum on Co-operation in Agriculture and Food Processing organised in Hrodna on 31
Transfrontier co-operation also developed, as did contacts between local governments of both
countries, and these frequently reached beyond the realm of the economy and tackled the questions of
Central European states’ admission to the European Union as well. Bilateral economic co-operation was
particularly vigorous between the Lubelskie voivodship and the Brest district and between the Podlaskie
voivodship and the Hrodna district. On 27 March a session was held in Warsaw of the Intergovernmental
Co-ordinating Commission for Transfrontier Co-operation. Among the subjects discussed were the main
lines of co-operation in obtaining EU funds for the modernisation and development of infrastructure at
border crossings. The Third Euroregion Nemen Fair (with participants from Poland, Belarus and
Lithuania) was held in Hrodna on 4 October to add impulse to regional economic co-operation.
The Ministries of Education and of Foreign Affairs continued support for Polish schools and
Polish language promotion through the funding of grants and scholarships for studies in Poland,
organising Polish courses for around 16,000 people in Belarus and through the Polish Institute in Minsk
(concerts, meetings, exhibitions, publications). On 3–5 July the 7th session of the Polish-Belarussian
Commission for Co-operation in Science and Technology took place in Brest and on 5–7 December the
Commission on School Curricula for the Polish Minority in Belarus and the Belarussian Minority in
Poland had its 11th session in Warsaw. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, co-operating with the
International Labour Organisation, continued seminars for Belarussian civil servants and trade union
To help the Polish expatriate communities in Belarus, this country’s government and NGOs
lent support to the Union of Poles in Belarus (20,000 members), Polska Macierz Szkolna, the Polonia
Association, the Polonichka Association in Minsk and the Polish Culture Association of the Lida Region.
These organisations had to cope with financial and administrative restrictions imposed on them by
Belarussian central and local authorities. In December, for instance, fiscal services in the Hrodna district
ordered the Union of Poles to pay a tax on financial support received from Poland.
The year 2001 did not see any major change in Poland’s policy towards Armenia, Azerbaijan
and Georgia, yet no new agreements or contracts were concluded. What lies behind Polish interest in
Transcaucasia is the sensitive location of this territory ridden by local separatist conflicts (Abkhazia,
South Ossetia, Nagorno Karabakh), rivalry between superpowers for influence over the region and its
potential to become a corridor for the transit of strategic raw materials and products between Europe
and the Middle and Far East. Poland still lacked sufficient diplomatic and consular infrastructure in the
region, as its missions in Tbilisi and Yerevan remained small and were headed by chargés d’affaires, the
fact which had a restricting effect on trade with Transcaucasian countries.
Warsaw decided to raise first the level of relations with Azerbaijan and in spring 2001 sent
Marcin Nawrot as its ambassador plenipotentiary to that country. In spite of employing few people
indeed and having to cope with financial and housing problems, the Polish missions in Baku, Yerevan
and Tbilisi were nevertheless active organising cultural events to promote Poland. Undersecretaries of
state from the National Security Bureau, Marek Dukaczewski, and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Barbara Tuge-Erecińska, conducted short consultations in Baku with their Azerbaijani counterparts. But
it was President Aleksander Kwaśniewski’s visits to Georgia (12–14 November) and to Armenia (14–16
November) that were the number one event in Poland’s relations with Transcaucasia in 2001. He was
accompanied by a delegation with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Stefan Meller and a group of
businessmen. In Tbilisi, the Polish president took every opportunity to declare Poland’s support for
independent, integral and democratic Georgia and for President Eduard Shevardnadze. On the first day
See C. Goliński, ―Nieustraszeni polscy biznesmeni,‖ Gazeta Wyborcza, 7 December 2001.
According to the 1999 national census Poles constitute 3.9% (around 400,000 people) of Belarus’ population. But
given language-related complications in determining one’s actual national identity, unofficial estimates put their
number at much higher. Most Belarussian Poles (around 294,000 people) live in close-knit communities in the
of the visit, after the two presidents’ meeting, behind closed doors, Mr Shevardnadze said that they had
discussed state affairs and ways to resolve conflicts in the Caucasus region. Plenary talks in turn were
devoted to both countries’ foreign policies and bilateral economic co-operation, which still lacked
appropriate trade insurance arrangements and relevant agreements to facilitate road and railway transit
and the use of both countries’ sea ports.
Poland and Georgia take interest in participating in the European Union’s TRACECA and
INOGATE programmes and in the construction of the Odesa-Brody-Gdańsk transit corridor, which could
become a practical contribution to creating a new ―silk route‖ linking Europe with Asia (such proposal
came from Georgian president in the early 1990s). Another subject of discussion was Polish firms’
participation in modernising Georgia’s economic infrastructure, to mention only the construction of a
water power plant and a thermal power plant by the Energopol company. Referring to the support
Poland was lending to Tbilisi’s international aspirations, President Shevardnadze again did not reject a
possibility of his country’s accession to NATO, but at the same time added that ―even speaking about it
could make neighbours [i.e. Russia] nervous.‖ On the second day of the visit, President Kwaśniewski
had a meeting with Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze. They discussed both countries’ internal
affairs and opportunities to add impulse to contacts between the Polish and Georgian parliaments. The
same day Mr Kwaśniewski gave a lecture at the East-West Centre about Poland’s role in NATO.
The main message of the first official visit to Armenia by a Polish president was that Warsaw
supported Yerevan’s strivings for closer relations with the Euro-Atlantic structures. The anti-terrorist
campaign, regulating the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and Polish-Armenian trade were probably the main
subjects of a meeting behind closed door between Presidents Kwaśniewski and Robert Kocharian.
Plenary talks in turn concerned the OSCE and UN contribution to resolving local conflicts on both sides
of the Caucasus, ways to broaden regular co-operation and consultations between the Polish and
Armenian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the founding of a Polish-Armenian interparliamentary group.
Delegates from Poland encouraged their partners to attend periodic economic events, such as the
Poland-East Economic Forum in Krynica and the Polagra Fair in Poznań. Like in Georgia, the Energopol
company declared its readiness to build a water power plant for Armenia. Economic matters were also
discussed during a working lunch which President Kwaśniewski had with Prime Minister Andranik
Markarian and at a meeting with Parliamentary Assembly Chairman Armen Khachatryan. Another
subject of these talks was a readmission agreement, which Armenia has so far been refusing to sign.
The same day, the Polish president laid flowers at a monument to Armenian victims of the 1915
On the second day of his visit, President Kwaśniewski gave a lecture at the State University in
Yerevan. He spoke about European integration and Poland’s historical rapprochement with all
neighbours and suggested that this could be a model to follow by Transcaucasia to normalise Armenia’s
relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan. He also observed that it was necessary to acknowledge the fact
that Armenians had fallen victim to Turkish genocide. Mr Kwaśniewski had a meeting with the head of
the Union of Poles in Armenia, Alla Kuzminska, and a delegation of the Union’s 250 members. They
discussed problems of the Polish expatriate community, which was suffering from growing
unemployment, and its demand for aid in the form of parcels from Poland. The Polish party frequently
voiced its support for Armenia’s accession to the WTO, and declared interest in a stimulation of that
country’s contacts with NATO under Partnership for Peace, in the implementation of the EU TRACECA
and INOGATE projects and in a conference of European ministers of transport.
Transcaucasia played an insignificant role in Polish foreign trade. Azerbaijan was Poland’s main
partner in the region, with Polish exports amounting to $29.8 million and imports to $1.7 million. Polish
export to Georgia in turn reached $6 million, with imports at $0.7 million. The figures for Armenia were
even smaller, with purchases from Poland standing at $3.3 million and no sales to this country, which
meant a slight improvement in the balance of trade over 2000.
G. Dwali, ―Kwaśniewski yskayet vykhoda na Aziyu,‖ Kommiersant-Daily, 14 November 2001; M. Narbutt,
―Poparcie w trudnej chwili,‖ Rzeczpospolita, 13 November 2001; M. Narbutt, ―Strategiczny wybór,‖ Rzeczpospolita,
14 November 2001.
In July 1999 the Armenian president paid the first ever official visit to Poland.
Warsaw hopes to regulate this problem because of the presence in Poland of a growing Armenian dispora
dealing in bazaar trade.
M. Narbutt, ―Stabilizacja przede wszystkim,‖ Rzeczpospolita, 15 November 2001; M. Narbutt, ―To było
ludobójstwo,‖ Rzeczpospolita, 16 November 2001; A. Sarkisyan, ―Konyak, shashlik i Polyak,‖ Kommiersant-Daily,
16 November 2001.
Although bilateral relations with Central Asian countries in 2001 could not be described as
intense in their political dimension, the Polish foreign policy nevertheless continued taking interest in the
region. Just as in the case of other areas, the low intensity reflected the timing of parliamentary elections
in Poland. The approach to the five countries in the region—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan—remained diversified, with priority treatment accorded to partners with
the greatest political and economic weight, i.e. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Poland welcomes the
expansion of these two countries’ co-operation with NATO within the Partnership for Peace, and they
can be assured of Polish support on the forum of the Alliance and, in the future, the European Union.
The low level of relations also reflected the regional situation affected by the rivalry of neighbouring
powers for influence there on the one hand, and, on the other, the region’s internal dynamics, as
illustrated by renewed conflicts in Tajikistan, problems with oil and natural gas exports from Kazakhstan,
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and tensions in Uzbekistan’s relations with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
An important event in relations with Kazakhstan was the assumption of office by that country’s
ambassador to Poland. In February 2001, accreditation was given to Ambassador Konstantin Zhygalov,
who related to President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and senior Foreign Ministry officials his country’s
plans regarding the policy towards Poland. As part of successive consultations involving missions in
Warsaw and Almaty, preparations were launched for future visits in Kazakhstan by the Polish minister of
foreign affairs and president. Towards the end of April, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Barbara Tuge-Erecińska, stayed in Almaty and Astana for consultations on regional security and
bilateral political and economic co-operation. Also in the spring, Polish experts from the Civil Defence
Office, Police Headquarters and National Security Bureau took part in a conference on regional
economic security at the time of globalisation held in Almaty. Various aspects of security and new kinds
of challenges and threats emerging within the region and in its immediate surroundings were also in the
focus of attention during a June visit by the head of the National Security Bureau, undersecretary of
state Marek Dukaczewski. Together with experts from the Bureau, he talked with his local counterpart
and attended a specialist round-table session organised by the Kazakh Institute for Strategic Research
in Almaty. Another occasion to discuss regional security and bilateral relations was provided by a
meeting between both countries’ foreign ministers, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Kasymzhomart
Tokaev, during the OSCE summit in Bucharest in December.
The Polish Embassy in Almaty organised and co-organised a series of cultural events, such as
an exhibition on Adam Mickiewicz, a show of Polish films, concerts of Polish music, and the ―End of
Yalta‖ exhibition in the country’s National Museum. Also held were informational events on Polish
experiences in transformation, such as Prof. Marek Dąbrowski’s meetings with the authorities of
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (including President Askar Akaev) and lectures at research and consulting
centres. Regular meetings were launched of the Club of Polish Universities’ Graduates, which includes
21 members of the presidential and governmental administration and financial circles in Kazakhstan.
In relations with Kyrgyzstan the most important event in 2001 was a June visit to Bishkek by
Vice Minister Dukaczewski and National Security Bureau experts. In the summer and autumn Polish
diplomats held consultations with experts of that country’s Foreign and Defence Ministries and Institute
for International Studies. And following the launch of the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and the
Polish government’s decision to send troops to the area of the conflict, initial consultations and relevant
procedures were initiated regarding the possible use of the Manas military airport outside Bishkek,
where more than 2,000 servicemen participating in the operation and in the ISAF international force
have since been stationed. In December a Polish Foreign Ministry delegation took part in an
international OSCE and UN conference in Bishkek devoted to the fight against terrorism and drug
trafficking in Central Asia. The participants in the conference were presented with a letter from President
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, and they were briefed on the output of the regional conference on the fight
against terrorism in Warsaw.
Political contacts with Uzbekistan were not particularly animated either. Ambassador Zenon
Kuchciak, a reputed OSCE and UN expert and Polish diplomat, presented his credentials in Toshkent in
April. In June an Uzbekistani governmental delegation held talks in Warsaw with Polish Deputy Prime
Minister Jerzy Steinhoff and met with Polish businessmen at the Poznań International Fair.
Consultations were initiated on concluding bilateral agreements on the fight against organised crime,
road haulage and other subjects, and also on a possible opening of a Polish Commercial House in
Toshkent. Also in June Vice Minister Marek Dukaczewski stayed in Uzbekistan with a delegation of the
These tensions centred around the fertile Ferghana Valley divided between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan. The border disputes there overlap with questions involving ethnic minorities, access to potable water,
and seditious activities by members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
National Security Bureau for consultations with their local counterparts. The Polish Embassy perceptibly
increased its promotional activity, organising cultural events, such as shows of Polish films and
concerts, some of which were broadcast by Uzbekistani television. Also held was a competition for local
journalists on the knowledge of Poland and a promotional project ―Poland: Today in NATO, Tomorrow in
the European Union.‖ The Embassy was also strongly involved in matters concerning the Polish
expatriate community, which was a great effort indeed given the scarcity of human and office resources.
Thanks to its endeavours, Polish studies were launched at Toshkent State University and the State
University of Termiz. Support was offered to cultural events organised by the Polish expatriate
community in Toshkent, Samargand, Ferghana and Bukhoro, and to events within the official project
―Uzbekistan—Our Common Home.‖
Given the very unfavourable developments inside Tajikistan (tensions and armed conflicts,
kidnappings and terrorist attacks), relations with that country were restricted to the minimum, i.e. visits
and talks in Dushanbe by diplomats from the Polish Embassy in Toshkent as well as experts from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Eastern Studies. And as regards relations with
Turkmenistan, they were all but nonexistent.
Trade with Central Asia remained much above the level for Transcaucasia, even though its
weight in this country’s statistics was still marginal. Polish exports to Kazakhstan in 2001 ran at $62.5
million, and Kazakh imports to Poland at $103.2 million. For the second largest trading partner in the
region, Uzbekistan, Polish sales reached $19.1 million and purchases $90.6 million. The respective
figures for the other countries in the region were lower still: $3.8 million and $4.2 million for
Turkmenistan; $3.1 million and $1.7 million for Kyrgyzstan; and $0.7 million (a decline from the previous
year’s level) and $19.6 million for Tajikistan. Summing up, without a more vigorous foreign economic
policy and an appropriate political climate in two-way relations, Poland may lose its good starting
position on the nearly 50 million-strong Central Asian market.
Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski
Asia and the Pacific
Poland’s relations with Asia and the Pacific in 2001 were marked by a continuation of previous
trends, although some new elements appeared in connection with the emergence of new international
and internal developments. These were a consequence of Poland’s participation in the anti-terrorist
coalition formed by the United States after the 11 September attacks and of the new Polish
government’s intent to intensify relations with partners outside Europe and the Atlantic region, i.e. also
with Asian and Pacific countries.
In a report on Poland’s foreign policy objectives in 2001 presented to the Sejm in the middle of
the year, Minister of Foreign Affairs Władysław Bartoszewski observed that Asia and the Pacific were
among the most attractive areas with a vast capacity to contribute to the world economy. He explained
that political dialogue with that region was motivated by economic and trade concerns and announced
that the Polish government had taken a number of measures, including new credit arrangements, to
promote Polish exports and prevent the accumulation of a large portion of deficit recorded by Poland in
its trade with Asia. But in spite of these measures, the deficit still ran high at the close of 2001.
Prime Minister Leszek Miller declared in his policy speech on 25 October 2001 that his
government would endeavour to develop contacts with Asian partners. He also said that Poland was
taking interest in being present, also in the economic sense, in that part of the world.
At a meeting with heads of Asian and Pacific countries’ diplomatic missions in Warsaw on 23
November 2001, Minister of Foreign Affairs Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz said that Polish diplomacy’s
strong preoccupation with European and Euro-Atlantic issues would not lead to a loss of interest in other
regions, particularly Asia and the Pacific. He pointed to strong economic ties linking Poland with some
countries of that region and noted that the first foreign visit he had paid as Poland’s prime minister in
1996 had been to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Mr Cimoszewicz laid emphasis on the need for
continuous development of bilateral political, economic and cultural contacts with all countries of that
region and observed that following the 11 September 2001 attacks against the US, bilateral relations
took on a new dimension as a means of contributing to global security. He assured the diplomats
present at the meeting that they would see in Poland’s new leadership a partner willing to develop
comprehensive co-operation with their countries.
According to Ministry of the Economy data released in 2002, at www.mg.gov.pl.
Present at that meeting were ambassadors of: People’s Republic of Bangladesh, People’s Republic of China,
Republic of India, Indonesia, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Malaysia,
Mongolia, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Kingdom of Thailand and
Socialist Republic of Vietnam and chargés d’affaires of Afghanistan, Australia and Lao People’s Democratic
An important element of Poland’s co-operation with Asia and the Pacific is joint work within the
framework of multilateral organisations, including the UN, to ease tensions resulting from developmental
differences between nations, which are today the main cause of political extremism.
Mr Cimoszewicz signalled the need for redefining the notion of ―Poland’s eastern policy‖ to
extend its meaning onto relations with South and East Asia.
The relations with People’s Republic of China in 2001 were marked by a vast surplus of
Chinese exports to Poland ($1,605 million) over imports ($186 million) and by a similar disproportion in
the number of visits by high ranking politicians.
Although in Chinese statistics, which do not allow for re-export figures, the picture of two-way
trade is somewhat more optimistic, the actual state of trade relations between the two countries is far
The year 2001 saw some enlivening in bilateral contacts as well as a broadening of political
dialogue. Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski paid a return visit to Beijing and Minister of
Transport and Shipping Jerzy Widzyk went to China to attend celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the
Chipolbrok company. Also staying in China were Finance Minister Jarosław Bauc and a delegation of
the National Bank of Poland (NBP) with its President Leszek Balcerowicz. Sejm Deputy Speakers
Stanisław Zając and Jan Król paid unofficial visits (at the invitation respectively of the Chinese People’s
Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs). The two
countries’ chairmen of parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committees, Czesław Bielecki and Zeng Jianhui,
exchanged visits in 2001. The Chinese party made no secret of its dissatisfaction with the Sejm
Declaration of Friendship with the People of Tibet adopted on 24 August, and with Polish
parliamentarians’ contacts with Dalai Lama.
Poland was visited by a number of government delegations with Minister of Transport Huang
Zhendong, Vice Minister of Finance Zhang Yuocai and Head of the State Council for Restructuring the
Economic Systems Song Baorui.
Other Chinese visitors were: the President of the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences, Li
Tieying, Vice Chairman of the People’s Political Consultative Conference Li Guixian, and Chairman of
the Federation for the Disabled Deng Pufang. Chinese scholars and politicians took part in many
seminars in Poland. Warsaw gave many signals that it was willing to develop comprehensive relations
and raise the level of political contacts, but the Chinese party’s response to these signals was limited.
Meanwhile, cultural co-operation developed really well. The Polish National Opera Company
was invited to the 4th Beijing Music Festival in October and was enthusiastically received there, and
Krzysztof Penderecki conducted the Chinese Symphony Orchestra. A cycle of 12 Chopin concerts was
organised in Shanghai with the participation of Poland’s best pianists, including the rector of the Chopin
Music Academy, Professor Kazimierz Gierżod. Polish artists also took part in the 5th International
Sculpture Workshop in Changchun and in the ―One World, One Home: Art Collections by the Embassies
in China‖ exposition organised in Beijing by the China International Exhibition Agency.
During a visit by a delegation of the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences headed by its
president and Communist Party of China Political Bureau member Li Tieying, a co-operation agreement
was signed between the Chinese Academy and the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). The second
Polish-Chinese conference on obtaining and storage of cells and tissues was organised under a
co-operation agreement between the PAN and the Chinese Academy for Medical Sciences. A
scientific-economic seminar on natural fibers held in Shenyang was attended by 20 participants from
Poland, and the Warsaw Technical University and the Beijing Institute of Technology signed a letter of
intent regarding future co-operation.
Relations with Hong Kong, China’s special autonomous region, were animated in 2001.
Under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Radek Sikorski went there in August and
signed an agreement on visa-free traffic. The same month Hong Kong was visited by a delegation of the
NBP headed by its President Leszek Balcerowicz, who had meetings with Secretary for Finance A.
Leung and deputy head of the Monetary Authority of Hong Kong D. Cars. In December a mission of the
Polish-Chinese Economic Chamber signed a co-operation agreement with the Chinese General
Chamber of Trade in Hong Kong. The Polish-Chinese Chamber was the only institution in Poland to
have signed such an agreement.
Poland’s contacts with Taiwan have been unofficial. Taiwanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
Chion Chungnan paid a private visit to Poland. Staying in Taiwan were former president Lech Wałęsa,
who along with other Nobel Prize winners took part in the Global Peace Assembly, and a group of
parliamentarians with deputy Longin Pastusiak. Vice Minister of the Economy Tadeusz Donocik visited
the Eurogate 2001 exhibition, at which 60 Polish firms displayed their products.
The economic crisis in Taiwan had a negative influence on two-way trade. But in spite of a
decrease in exports, the trade deficit recorded by Poland dropped slightly in comparison with 2000. No
major progress was seen in this country’s promotion among Taiwanese investors and no decision was
taken regarding the localisation of a Tatung plant, which, as well as by Poland, would be welcome by
Hungary and the Czech Republic.
The number one event in political relations with Mongolia was the re-opening, following a
five-year break, of the Polish embassy in Ulan Bator. The mission’s reactivation should stimulate the
search for new investment opportunities in Mongolia and give an impulse to two-way trade and
co-operation in culture and science. Consultations between department directors from the two countries’
Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the first round of experts’ negotiations on the terms of repayment by
Mongolia of its debt to Poland took place in Ulan Bator. Staying there was also a Polish parliamentary
No major problems were recorded in political relations with Japan. There is no controversy on
any particular subject between the two countries, whose views on the main issues of international
politics are close or identical. This applies, for instance, to the reform of the UN Security Council. Poland
supports Japan’s candidacy for the Council’s permanent member. As Poland’s accession negotiations
with the European Union progressed, an increase was recorded in Japan’s interest in Polish affairs,
since Tokyo is inclined to treat the EU as its strategic partner. In these circumstances, it was decided
(and announced officially at the beginning of 2002) that the Imperial Couple would pay a visit to Poland.
This was a signal that Japan considered this country a leader among the candidates to accede to the
An important event in bilateral political relations was the visit paid to Japan in April by a
delegation of the Senate with its Speaker Alicja Grześkowiak. Mrs Grześkowiak was received by the
Emperor and had a meeting with the Japanese minister of the economy. The main subjects of her talks
were the role of parliamentary diplomacy and universal values linking Poland and Japan. The Polish
parliamentarians expressed hope for further growth of Japanese investments in Poland. Their stay in
Japan was preceded by a visit to Poland by parliamentary Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Kaori Maruyi,
who conducted a new round of political consultations in Warsaw.
Perturbations reported from the Japanese political scene prevented some of the planned
top-level parliamentary and government visits to Poland from taking place.
Favourable trends continued in bilateral economic relations and especially in two-way trade.
The deficit Poland recorded in its trade with Japan fell by one fourth. Following a drop in Polish exports in
2000, an upward trend was restored, with the structure of exports changing for the better to include more
technologically advanced products.
A decrease was recorded in the inflow of Japanese investments to Poland. The site for a PSA
(Peugeot-Citroen)–Toyota Motors Corp. small cars factory was eventually found in the Czech Republic
and negotiations continued on the location of a factory producing engines and gearboxes for the
Czech-made Toyota vehicles.
A joint session of the Poland-Japan and Japan-Poland Economic Committees, reactivated in
2000, was held in Tokyo on 29 October–3 November.
One spectacular event in scientific and technological co-operation was awarding the 18th Japan
Prize (Japanese Nobel Prize equivalent presented by the Science and Technology Foundation of
Japan) to Polish scientist Professor K. Tarkowski for outstanding accomplishments in embryology.
Among joint cultural events, special mention is due to the Kyoto and Nagoya exhibitions of over
100 works, including Leonardo da Vinci’s ―Lady with an Ermine‖, from the Czartoryski Museum
collection. The Warsaw and Cracow philharmonic orchestras, Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and
the Warsaw Chamber Orchestra gave concerts in Japan’s leading concert halls. During his visit to
Japan, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Andrzej Zieliński had a meeting with Prince Takamodo.
In the relations with India, following an intensive exchange of visits in previous years, a drop in
the number of official contacts was recorded in 2001. In February, a Polish army delegation headed by
Vice-minister of National Defence Romuald Szeremietiew took part in the Aero India Space 2000
international exhibition in Bangalore. The minister of science and head of the Scientific Research
Committee (KBN), Professor Andrzej Wiszniewski, stayed in India at the end of February and early in
March and attended the 4th session of the Polish-Indian Mixed Commission for Co-operation in
The slightly less intensive official contacts had no negative influence on the traditionally stable,
friendly and partner-like Polish-Indian relations. This closeness was illustrated by the $130,000 worth of
humanitarian aid which Poland offered to the victims of an earthquake that hit Gujrat at the beginning of
the year. Poland condemned the 13 December 2001 terrorist attack against the Indian parliament and
signed the EU declaration adopted in this connection.
Warsaw’s main economic concern was the continuing deficit it recorded in two-way trade. In
2001 it totalled $62.8 million, with the overall trade value standing at $251.6 million. Reversing this trend
will be impossible without diversifying Poland’s exports offer and broadening the scope of economic
co-operation with India. In 2001 new opportunities were signalled in the defence industry, coal mining
and in the electric power sector, with India taking such steps as corresponded to Poland’s expectations.
On 29–30 January 2001 political consultations between Polish and Pakistani vice-ministers of
foreign affairs were held in Warsaw. Poland considers Pakistan to be an important partner in South
Asia. Upon hearing of the Pakistani leader’s vital decisions taken at the beginning of the anti-terrorist
campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, Poland declared
its full support for Pakistan’s anti-terrorist policy. On 19 November 2001, President Aleksander
Kwaśniewski personally expressed this support during his telephone conversation with President
In spite of a rather small volume of two-way trade ($35.2 million, with a $15.8 million deficit
recorded by Poland), Warsaw takes major interest in a development of economic relations with
Pakistan. Ample opportunities in this respect can be found in the power sector, agriculture and the
chemical, textile and defence industries.
Warsaw’s decision to joint the anti-terrorist coalition and send an army contingent to
Afghanistan cast a new light on Poland’s relations with that country. Warsaw welcomed the decisions
taken by the Petersberg conference on stabilising the situation in Afghanistan and its reconstruction.
Poland supported the EU position in Afghanistan announced on 5 November 2001, as well as
UN Security Council resolutions: of 24 November 2001 on the situation in Afghanistan, of 6 November
2001 (No. 1385) on Afghan Interim Authority, and of 20 December 2001 (No. 1386) authorising the
establishment of the International Security Assistance Force. The Polish ambassador arrived in Kabul
from Islamabad to take part in the ceremony of oath-taking by the new Afghani government on 22
At the end of the year Poland’s foreign minister decided to send his representative to Kabul to
check the possibilities of reactivating Poland’s permanent diplomatic mission suspended since 1992,
and to perform limited consular services for Polish citizens.
Through the UNICEF office in Islamabad, Poland supplied humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees
Contacts with Malaysia were regular, with political dialogue taking place between high-ranking
officials. Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Syed Hamid Albar stayed in Warsaw on 10–12 July. He
had talks with Minister Władysław Bartoszewski and was received by the president, prime minister and
Senate deputy speaker. Congratulatory letters were exchanged between the two countries on the 30th
anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations. Co-operation on the international forum
was developing to both parties’ satisfaction. In 2001 Poland’s exports to Malaysia amounted to $32.9
million and imports to $259 million. Although the trade deficit was high, new prospects appeared for its
future reduction as, for instance, the Ekolog firm’s operations promised a change in the promotion of
Singapore’s Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who visited Warsaw on 19–20 March, assured of
his country’s desire to develop comprehensive co-operation with Poland, including two-way trade and
investments in science and technology. Singaporean investments in Poland total only $70 million, but
new opportunities have appeared in connection with privatisation processes taking place in the electrical
and chemical industries and in shipbuilding. Prime Minister Goh was received by President Aleksander
In July a Polish economic mission headed by secretary of state from the Ministry of the
Economy visited Singapore. Thanks to these visits, Poland is now recognised as a country with a vast
Thailand continued to be a very attractive partner for Poland, although internal political
developments caused a break in political contacts between the two countries’ high-ranking state
officials. A delegation of the Lower Chamber of the Thai Parliament paid a visit to Warsaw.
Relations with the Philippines focused on seeking new opportunities to develop two-way trade
(which stood at $70.3 million) and other forms of economic contacts.
The contacts with Myanmar did not reach beyond the protocol.
Poland had good relations with the Republic of Korea, which is the biggest Asian investor here,
and no sources of contention were recorded in bilateral contacts. Like the European Union, Poland
welcomed and supported dialogue taking place between the two Korean states. Co-operation within
international organisations developed well, but there were no bilateral contact between high ranking
politicians. The most important subject of intergovernmental and interparliamentary talks in 2001 was
the future of the Daewoo Motors factories in Poland.
The two countries’ ministers of foreign affairs had an opportunity to talk during a UN General
Assembly session. The director of the Department of Non-European Countries and UN System
conducted consultations in Seoul in October 2001. Also staying in Korea were delegations of the Sejm
parliamentary group headed by deputy Longin Pastusiak and of the Central Statistical Office (GUS) and
the National Board of Inspection (NIK) with their presidents.
A decrease that continued in 2001 in two-way trade should be attributed to a drop in the imports
of producer supplies for Daewoo factories in Poland and to Polish companies’ low interest in the Korean
The 3rd Intergovernmental Session of the Polish-Korean Commission for Scientific and
Technological Co-operation, chaired by the two countries’ ministers of science, was the number one
event in the area of science and technology. A protocol signed on that occasion listed more than a dozen
joint research projects in advanced technology.
Like many other countries, including the EU member-states, Poland was pleased with the
continuation of political dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In March political
consultations were held in Warsaw between Vice-ministers of Foreign Affairs Radek Sikorski and Cho
Su Hon. Apart from international and political issues, they discussed ways to add impulse to scientific
and cultural co-operation, including the exchange of grants and scholarships. Additional consultations
were conducted in Pyongyang between department directors. Staying in Poland was a delegation of the
North Korean-Polish parliamentary group of the Supreme Parliamentary Assembly, with Deputy
Speaker Hyo Ryo Jin.
The two countries’ finance ministries conducted talks on North Korea’s debt to Poland.
Parliamentary elections and the ruling party’s congress in Vietnam had a weakening effect on
the intensity of Polish-Vietnamese high-level political contacts in 2001. On 27–29 June Vietnamese
Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Van Nganh had political consultations in Warsaw. He was
received by secretaries of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Economy and by
under-secretary of state at the President’s Chancellery.
A delegation of the Polish-Vietnamese parliamentary group stayed in Vietnam on 13–19 May,
and in October representatives of Vietnamese National Assembly women’s group paid a visit to Poland.
Two-way trade dropped slightly in 2001 (from $131.5 million in 2000 to $123.5 million) and so
did the trade deficit recorded by Poland. The Vietnamese party was making an insufficient use of a loan
obtained from Poland to develop sea transport. Polish diplomatic and economic services were busy
seeking new opportunities to develop economic co-operation between the two countries.
Earlier forms of contacts continued in science and technology. At the end of May and early in
June, the first session was held in Warsaw of the Polish-Vietnamese Mixed Commission for Scientific
and Technological Co-operation, with the Polish delegation headed by the minister of science and
chairman of the Scientific Research Committee, Professor Andrzej Wiszniewski. A protocol signed at
the end of this session laid down the main lines of co-operation for 2001–2003.
Political contacts with Cambodia and Laos remained seriously limited in 2001.
With foreigners finding themselves in danger in many parts of Indonesia, the exchange of
government delegations and trade missions weakened in 2001, although Indonesia remained Poland’s
potentially important economic partner. Polish exports stood at $6.5 million and imports at $188.2
million. The deputy commander of the Polish Air Force and Air Defence, General C. Mikruta, visited
Indonesia in 2001, and the Indonesian government gave permission to open Poland’s honorary
consulate in Bali, Western Java. Poland offered humanitarian aid to the victims of an earthquake that hit
Bengkulu in Sumatra.
The first ever ministerial visit in relations with Brunei Darussalam took place in late July and
early August, when Brunei’s Minister of Education Abd Aziz Umar paid an official visit to Poland. A
Polish honorary consulate opened in Bandar Seri Begawan and initial arrangements were made to
facilitate the movement of persons between the two countries.
Prospects for Poland’s close accession to the European Union strengthened Australia’s hopes
for more intense political and economic relations with this country. Warsaw consultations, conducted in
October by under-secretary of state in the Overseas Division of the Australian Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, confirmed a good state of bilateral political relations and a need for more intensive
economic contacts. Due to Polish producers’ and exporters’ inactivity, Poland recorded a $18 million
deficit in its trade with Australia, which in 2001 amounted to $59.5 million. Australian investments in
Poland stand at $70 million plus $16 million in future commitments and are far below both countries’
Access to fisheries in New Zealand’s 200-mile economic zone and airway connections were
the main subjects of talks conducted in Wellington in March by a Polish government delegation with
under-secretary of state in the Ministry of the Economy and vice-minister of finance. The government
officials were accompanied during this visit by a group of Polish businessmen.
Poland’s ambassador to Australia completed his mission in 2001. He was also accredited to
Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, but did not manage to present his credentials there. There is a
Polish honorary consulate in the capital of Papua New Guinea.
Poland’s political relations with all Latin American countries in 2001 continued to be free of any
contentious issues. Dialogue was conducted at the top political level, and co-operation pursued at the
bilateral and multilateral level. Poland was becoming an increasingly interesting partner as the date
neared of its accession to the European Union. Latin American countries expect Poland to be their ally in
negotiations with Brussels, e.g. on farm and food exports to EU markets.
Among the 2001 political events of great importance for Poland was the conclusion on 29
October of an intergovernmental agreement with Brazil—this country’s leading partner on the continent,
accounting for more than three-quarters of trade with the region—on early repayment of Polish debt.
Signed in Rio de Janeiro by Polish Vice Minister of Finance Krzysztof Ners and Brazilian Minister of the
Economy and Finance Pedro Sampaio Malan, it not only produced obvious economic benefits from
swift, one-off repayment, but also helped remove a big problem encumbering mutual relations (prior to
the agreement, Poland had for years requested that part of its obligation be met with shipments of
goods, which Brazil had rejected). As an immediate and tangible political effect of the deal, both parties
agreed swiftly —at the end of the year—on the dates on the long-awaited return visit to Warsaw by
Brazilian President Fernando H. Cordoso (set for the end of February 2002), and Polish President
Aleksander Kwaśniewski’s visit to Brazil and several other countries in the region.
In addition to Brazil, the main partners in Poland’s political dialogue with Latin America were
Chile and Mexico.
Staying in Warsaw in May for political consultations was Ambassador Marcelo de Jardim,
director general at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and special envoy of Foreign Minister Celso
At the invitation of the Sejm’s Polish-Brazilian group, a visit to this country—the first ever in
mutual interparliamentary relations—was paid by a delegation of the Brazilian-Polish group at the
Brazilian Congress’ Chamber of Deputies, led by Francisco Rodrigues.
In April, a Polish consulate was opened in Medellin, Colombia, headed by an honorary consul.
In May, there followed the inauguration of a Polish consulate in Recife (Pernambuco, Brazil). It
is headed by Honorary Consul Zildo Teixeira Braga de Morais, who holds an M. Sc. from the
Engineering College in Opole, Poland.
In June, Colonel Romuald Ratajczak, head of the Department of International Organisations at
the Polish Ministry of National Defence, went on an official visit to Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay,
where he lectured in military institutions.
In August, the new Polish Ambassador, Jacek Hinz, presented his credentials in Brasilia.
In December, as part of programmes of interministerial political consultations, Polish
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Grażyna Bernatowicz visited Chile, Colombia and Peru.
Foreign ministers of Chile and Poland met in New York in the autumn at the UN General
Assembly session. Also, Chilean vice-ministers of foreign affairs and the economy visited Warsaw.
Political tensions emerged in relations with only one Latin American country, Cuba, as a result of
Poland’s active commitment on the forum of international organisations to human rights on the island.
Poland adjusted its demands in this field to the EU standards, according to which dialogue with Cuba
should be accompanied by wide, especially economic, co-operation. The goal is to encourage the
democratisation of Cuba’s internal relations without exerting any economic or political pressure, which
might look like interference in the country’s internal affairs.
Treaties and Agreements
In this country’s contacts with the region, the most extensive legal and treaty basis is in relations
with Cuba. But following the political changes in Poland, and in connection with both partners’ financial
Jerzy Więcław, born 1949; graduate, Moscow State Institute of International Relations; with the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs since 1973; political counsellor at the Polish Embassy in Washington (1991–1996); vice-director of the
Department of Security Policy and deputy head of the OSCE chairmanship team (1996–1998); from January 1999
to the end of October 2001, head of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; currently, deputy director of the Asia
and Pacific Department.
problems, most of these instruments are largely a dead letter. Consent was only reached on an
investment protection and support agreement, which, however, still awaits final signatures, and the
matter may be further complicated by Poland’s future accession to the EU.
A tourist co-operation agreement was signed with Mexico, and arrangements were made for
signing an agreement on suppression of organised crime during the expected visit to Warsaw by
Mexican President Vincente Fox.
Work was carried out on phytosanitary agreements with Brazil and Mexico.
Trade with the region grew considerably in 2001, from $955 million to $1,547 million, with
Poland registering a deficit of $503 million. Attempts were made to stimulate exports, but without any
perceptible results. This was also the case with the efforts taken to boost transfer of Polish technology
and capital and attract Latin American investments to this country. Polish trade promotion events abroad
were continued, as were promotional missions to and from this country, seminars, business meetings in
Poland, etc. Talks were initiated with those partners (e.g. Brazil) that imposed severe tariff and non-tariff
barriers on Polish exports presented as domestic-market safeguards offsetting external impediments.
Brazil remained this country’s major trading partner in the region, with two-way exchanges
reaching $474,6 million. Poland’s deficit widened to $272 million, reflecting continued shipments under a
contract for the delivery of 16 units of the Embraer-145 passenger plane to LOT airlines. The shipments
are to be completed by 2002.
Imposing as it may seem against relations with other countries in the region, the Polish-Brazilian
trade nevertheless ranked on distant positions (between 50th and 60th) on both countries’ lists of largest
trading partners. This illustrated the weight of two-way trade for both economies.
The region’s second largest trading partner for Poland was Venezuela, where the $444 million
level represented a great leap on 2000, due to the sale of successive units of Polish-made Skytruck
planes. Coming third was Mexico, with $188 million and a $20 million surplus for Poland.
This trio was followed by: Ecuador ($94 million in two-way trade, traditionally dominated by
banana imports to Poland, which registered a $86 million deficit); Argentina ($87 million, deficit of $53.5
million), Panama ($71 million), Colombia ($31 million) and Chile ($30 million). Mutual shipments with
Uruguay, Peru, Costa Rica and Honduras ranged in each case between $20 million and $30 million.
With Cuba, the figure was just $5 million, which compares with $80 million annually in the 1980s.
Given the emerging liberal reforms in Cuba and a certain improvement in its economic situation,
some hopes for improvement may be derived from an agreement between the Polish National Chamber
of Commerce (KIG) and the Cuban Chamber of Foreign Trade, providing for the establishment of a
Polish-Cuban Committee of Businesspeople.
Cultural and Scientific Co-operation
Poland’s widest cultural contacts in the region were with Mexico. They are based on two
co-operation agreements covering education and culture as well as science and technology, and also on
direct accords between both countries’ scientific institutions. A host of noteworthy Polish cultural events
were held the country in 2001.
In many countries Polish missions helped organise numerous events commemorating the 60th
anniversary of the death of the great composer and pianist, Ignacy Paderewski.
The goal of popularising Polish language in Brazil is served by the textbook Cześć, jak się masz,
written by Prof. W. Miodunko of Cracow’s Jagiellonian University, and brought out in 2001 in a
considerable impression (by local standards) by Brasilia State University. This unique publication owes
much to Prof. Henryk Siewierski, head of the University’s Institute of Literature and a graduate of the
Expatriate Polish Communities
Visitors from Latin American made up a large portion of participants in the worldwide congress
of expatriate Polish organisations and communities organised in Cracow in late April and early May by
the Wspólnota Polska Association.
Taking part in congresses of expatriate Polish organisations in Argentina and Uruguay held in
2000–2001 were: Senate Deputy Speaker J. Danielak, Wspólnota Polska Chairman, Prof. A.
Stelmachowski, and Senator E. Sagatowska.
Bogusław Zakrzewski, born 1935; graduate, Philology Department, Warsaw University, and Postgraduate Institute
of Diplomacy, Beijing; with the foreign service from 1962; ambassador to Portugal in 1983–1986; senior secretary at
Middle East and North Africa
Poland took a host of measures in 2001 with a view to updating the formula of its relations with
Arab countries. Their goal was to adjust Polish foreign policy to this country’s new position in Europe and
the world, reflecting its transformation and accession to the North Atlantic Alliance. The area of
importance for Poland’s security broadened, and with it new regional questions emerged, such as
joining the Alliance’s Mediterranean dialogue. As the country’s EU accession drew nearer, Polish
foreign policy was increasingly turning also to the area south of Europe, linked with the continent through
multiple interests. Poland joined Euro-Arab dialogue, e.g. through participation in conferences and
seminars on Europe’s co-operation with overseas partners. Co-operation with Mediterranean countries
was assuming practical importance for Polish foreign policy, especially with regard to regional security in
the broad sense of the notion, including military and energy-supplies security. In approaching the new
issues, Polish foreign policy analyses and activities were also oriented to political effectiveness, invoking
contacts which in some areas had very long traditions. It was important to send Arab partners the
message that as a result of transformations Poland was ready to offer them a broader offer of
co-operation based or pragmatic principles or mutual benefits rather than ideological precepts.
Poland and the Middle East Conflict
Polish foreign policy has traditionally taken interest in the conflict in the Middle East. Warsaw
has been aware that the room for multilateral interregional dialogue and development of bilateral
economic co-operation is largely determined by whether or not the peace process is continued and
consolidated. This awareness rests on the conviction that Poland’s more intense bilateral relations with
all the partners concerned, i.e. Arab countries and Israel, are contingent on stabilisation of the situation
in the region.
In 2001 the Middle East situation deteriorated gravely. Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Palestinian
peace talks collapsed, and the second intifada broke out. The Ehud Barak government in Israel was
replaced with a ―national unity‖ coalition led by Ariel Sharon. On the Palestine side, the authority of
Yasser Arafat was increasingly questioned, especially by the extremist organisations, Hamas and Jihad,
and also by some al-Fatah activists. With the situation inflamed, the Middle East peace process was
initially stalled, and then set back.
Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and other platforms for co-operation were in practice
overwhelmed by the consequences of the growing cycle of violence in Palestinian-Israeli confrontation.
It was becoming increasingly obvious that the deteriorating situation impeded any progress in
Euro-Mediterranean dialogue, and any attempts to de-politicise this dialogue or confine it to economic,
cultural or social matters proved futile. This in turn put in question the Barcelona process initiated seven
For more than 50 years the conflict in the Middle East has been the source of dangerous
tensions, transcending regional bounds and poisoning the atmosphere of international dialogue and
co-operation. Jointly with the international community, Poland was looking for opportunities to prevent
the conflict from escalating further by invoking the friendly relations traditionally maintained with both
Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The necessity was stressed of seeking exclusively political solutions
that would take into account the interests of all the parties concerned. Poland pronounced itself in favour
of guaranteeing the security of Israel and realising the national rights of the Palestinians, including the
right to their own statehood.
Another Polish contribution to international efforts for peace was the continued participation in
UN peacekeeping operations in the Middle East, the Gulf region and North Africa. Around 850 officers
and soldiers served there in 2001, including 350 in UNDOF (Golan Heights), 480 in UNIFIL (Lebanon), 5
in UNICOM (Kuwait), 1 in UNGCI (Iraq), 4 in the UN police force in Kurdistan and 7 in MINSURO
(Western Sahara). Throughout 1953–2001, a total of close to 25,000 Poles served in peacekeeping
missions in these areas.
One consequence of Polish membership in NATO has been the need to analyse the
geographical directions of the country’s security strategy. The Alliance’s interest in the Mediterranean
and the Gulf has understandably been on the rise. This southern flank of the Alliance has been the
source of international instability in the past, and this could continue so in the future. It is there that
terrorist phenomena concentrate, extending their operation also to the United States and Europe.
the Bureau for Interparliamentary Relations of the Sejm Chancellery in 1991–1996; administrative secretary of the
Polish Group of the Interparliamentary Union at the Sejm Chancellery; ambassador to Brazil in 1997–2001; now in
Proliferation of mass destruction weapons remains a problem there, as do some countries’ attempts to
get access to such weapons and to long-range missiles. To many members of the Alliance an important
question is the security of energy supplies and the related access to oil markets.
Consequently, NATO may be willing to impart to the dialogue with Mediterranean countries the
form of Partnership for Peace, which has stood the test in its relations with Central, Eastern and
Southern European states.
Such Partnership for Peace should take into account the huge diversity of interests among the
partners concerned and the specific features of the subregions in question. For understandable
reasons, as a country that has accumulated a wealth of experience in this field, Poland may play an
important role in this process.
The European Union’s policy towards the area is by no means clear-cut, reflecting problems
with the implementation of its Common Foreign and Security Policy, e.g. in connection with Israel’s
reluctance to accept Europe’s increasing role in the search for ways out of the Middle East impasse and
towards a political solution.
Yet there can be no doubt that Poland’s involvement in the Middle East peace process may
increase after the accession. This has been signalled in the EU’s consultation initiatives addressed to
this and other candidate countries, or in proposals to join common positions on particular aspects of the
Poland took part as an observer in the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue conferences in Barcelona
in 1995 and in Malta in 1997 (subsequent meetings took the formula of EU members plus 12
Mediterranean countries). This country also participated in all previous conferences on Middle East and
North Africa (MENA) economic development, including the latest one in Qatar. Representatives of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs were regular participants at meetings of NATO’s working groups on the
Middle East, Maghreb and the Gulf, as well as at annual panels at Wilton Park in the UK.
With the passage of time, a practical importance for this country will be assumed by the
Euro-Mediterranean Partnership initiated in 1995. It provides for the establishment of a common area of
peace and stability, support for political dialogue and security co-operation, and formation of a zone of
common welfare through gradual expansion of Euro-Mediterranean trade and cultural, human and
social partnership, with emphasis on inter-cultural and civilisational dialogue and co-operation in
suppression of organised crime and terrorism.
Due to the ongoing EU accession process and the resulting need to align domestic laws with the
Community acquis, a review was launched of agreements concluded or being negotiated with the Arab
countries, Israel and Iran, so as to check their conformity with Union standards. It had to be determined
which accords, or elements thereof, come into the exclusive Community powers, thus requiring the
setting in motion of termination procedures at an appropriate time. Defining the date of a termination
notice is important in order to avoid any legislative discontinuity or duality in relations with individual
As many other countries, Poland joined the international coalition against terror, guided by the
sense of solidarity with the American people. The terrorist attack on the United States on 11 September
2001 put the question of security—also in this country—in a new light. While drawing conclusions from
developments that had taken place, Polish representatives took issue with simplifications, such as those
interpreting terrorism as a manifestation of Arab or Muslim threat. Poland also rejected the definition of
terrorism as a form of a clash between Islam and Christianity, or Western civilisation and Southern
civilisation. As this country sees it, terrorism hits the values common to all civilisations, societies and
religions. This position found expression in President Kwaśniewski’s co-sponsorship of an international
conference on dialogue between civilisations held in Vilnius in April. Poland also supported the UN
General Assembly’s proclamation of 2001 as a Year of Dialogue between Civilisations. As part of this
dialogue, many meetings and seminars were organised in this country, including an international
conference ―Intercultural Dialogue: Poland and the Islamic World‖ held at Warsaw University in May. In a
letter to its participants, the Polish prime minister pronounced himself against drawing lines between
civilisations based on the clash theory. Rather, an open dialogue should be conducted based on mutual
respect and friendly coexistence. And in December, under the aegis of the Joint Council of Catholics and
Muslims and UNESCO, a conference ―Islam and Latin Civilisation: Sources of Dialogue‖ was held, also
at Warsaw University. In panel discussions and official statements its participants pointed to the mutual
inter-penetration of Islamic and European civilisations in history, and they warned against using religion
for political purposes.
Political Contacts and Dialogue
The conditions for top level political dialogue over the past years have been relatively
favourable. Traditionally Egypt has been among this country’s major political partners. Active bilateral
relations have been maintained with Maghreb countries. In the case of Tunisia, a favourable influence
has no doubt been exerted by the fact that President Zin el-Abidin Ben Ali was ambassador to Warsaw
in 1980–1984. Algeria moved to the first position on the list of Poland’s largest trading partners in the
Arab world (with two-way shipments at $112 million). Intensive dialogue was kept with Morocco. Libya
retained the position of a traditionally important economic partner, even though the room for
co-operation was constrained by the economic sanctions imposed on that country by the UN Security
Council in 1992. Saudi Arabia has been a new, promising partner, with bilateral, and especially
economic, relations developing rapidly after the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995.
These developments were conducive to a fairly active high-level dialogue with the Arab world,
as reflected in the visits by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski to Israel and the Palestinian Authority
(1999), Senate Speaker Alicja Grześkowiak to Saudi Arabia and Jordan (2000), Prime Minister Jerzy
Buzek to Morocco (2000), Foreign Minister Bronisław Geremek to Algeria (2000) and Foreign Minister
Władysław Bartoszewski to Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Libya (2000). And official visits to
Poland were paid in 2000 by Tunisian President Zin el-Abidin Ben Ali and Egyptian Senate Speaker
Mustafa Kamal Helmi. Taking part in the Warsaw conference ―Towards the Community of Democracies‖
held in June 2000 were high level Arab delegations (among them foreign ministers) from Egypt, Yemen,
Qatar and Morocco.
Also in 2001 the intention could be noticed in Polish foreign policy to continue dialogue, as broad
as possible, with Arab countries and also with Israel and Iran. This was also true of relations with the
countries moving out of isolation, Libya and Iran, which in the past had ranked high in Poland’s relations
with non-European partners. Interest in the restoration of such a position was confirmed during Minister
Bartoszewski’s stay in Teheran in February and in Tripoli in April. In September in turn Prime Minister
Buzek accompanied by a group of war veterans, went on a visit to Tobruk for celebrations marking the
60th anniversary of the battle held there.
Some steps were also taken towards Iraq. Within the constraints and conditions of the sanction
regime imposed on that country by the UN Security Council in 1991, a search was made to overcome
stagnation in economic co-operation, boost trade and invoke the extended relations maintained in the
1970s and 1980s. Attempts were made to capitalise on the fact that in April 2001 Iraq had included
Poland on the list of preferential trading partners, which gave Polish companies access to tendering
proceedings on a par with companies from 60 other countries receiving the same treatment. Another
attempt to stimulate mutual trade was a visit to Poland by the Iraqi trade minister in July.
These efforts, however, have yet to bear fruit, one important reason being the stereotypic belief
among the Polish business community that the sanctions render any economic co-operation with
Baghdad either impossible or exceeding risky. Consequently, the opportunities provided by the Polish
diplomacy’s relatively effective steps to remove the barriers to trade still remain largely untapped by
The deterioration of the Middle East situation in 2001 rendered impossible a number of visits to
Poland by several heads of state and government absorbed by regional developments. Mention should
be made, however, of a visit paid to Warsaw in August by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres.
Political consultations at the Foreign Ministry level were held in 2001 with Tunisia and Egypt as
well as with Israel.
Parliamentary contacts in turn were dynamic, and the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative
Council was received in Warsaw. Sejm deputy speaker stayed in Yemen, and the Senate deputy
speaker took part in a Forum of African and Arab Senates held in Mauritania. Poland was visited by
groups of parliamentarians from Israel, Syria and Algeria.
Polish foreign policy activity in the region in 2001 was increasingly oriented to the country’s
economic interests. This reflected the fact that Arab countries represent an important market with nearly
300 million consumers, and a potential source of energy supplies, accounting for 60% of global reserves
of oil and 22% of natural gas. Poland did not import these items from the area in 2001, but that had
happened previously. Oil prices have the effect of either fuelling or suppressing inflation, also in this
country (in 2001 these prices were not high). In a new development, Polish entrepreneurs entered in the
region, testing the possibility of oil purchases from producers for resale on the international market or to
third countries. Arab countries are the potential source of investments (e.g. in privatisation and regional
economic projects) and a major area employing Polish citizens outside Europe. In 2001 most Poles
worked in Libya, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. Their total number
approached 2,500, against some 30,000 in the 1970s and 1980s. But the structure of employment has
changed in the meantime towards a greater proportion of highly qualified personnel, away from the past
dominance of low-skilled labour working on infrastructure projects.
Trade with Arab countries in 2000 ran at $447 million, including $332 million worth of exports
from Poland. In 2001, the respective figures rose to $569 million and $425 million. Trade surpluses were
scored with most countries in the region except Tunisia, Morocco and Libya.
The main markets for Polish goods among Arab countries in 2001 were: Algeria ($107 million),
Egypt ($94 million), the United Arab Emirates ($43 million), Saudi Arabia ($35 million) and Yemen ($33
million). Trade with Iran topped $67 million (including $51 million in exports from Poland) and with Israel
$175 million (exports at $52 million).
The chief Polish exports to the main markets in the region were: powdered milk, sugar,
machines and chemicals (to Algeria); cars, coal, coke, powdered milk, machines and appliances (to
Egypt); and machines and appliances, base metals, textiles and chemicals (to the UAE). In relations
with Saudi Arabia, the dominant Polish shipments were steel products, construction materials, textiles,
agricultural machinery and lighting equipment sent in return for steel structures and plastics. The
opening in Warsaw of a private Saudi company’s representation office signalled that country’s interest in
investments in Poland. In trade with Morocco exports were traditionally led by sulphur and, since
recently, metallurgical products, while the main import item was phosphate rock. Polish companies
Polimex-Cekop and Hydrobudowa Gdańsk were contracted to build a seaport in the Libyan town of
Sirte. Economic contacts with Yemen were stimulated by an intergovernmental credit agreement. In
relations with Tunisia, a major feature has been a dynamic growth in the numbers of Polish tourists
visiting that country annually, to more than 100,000 at present.
Social and Cultural Contacts
Around 600 nationals of Arab countries—mainly from Libya, Syria, Yemen and Jordan—studied
in Poland in 2001, usually on post-graduate and specialist medical courses. In recent years the number
of scholarships offered has gone down, with most students paying the whole tuition.
In all, there are well over dozens of thousands Arab graduates of Polish institutions of higher
learning, who often contribute to the promotion of bilateral relations and operate businesses, e.g. in the
There are also some 7,000 expatriate Poles and people of Polish extraction in Arab countries,
mostly wives of Arab nationals, their children, and also experts on longer-term contracts. Their largest
concentrations are in Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria and Jordan.
Some expatriate Poles living in Arab countries came there during World War II with the Polish
army of Gen. Anders. In Lebanon, for example, they now account (together with their descendants) for a
third of the Polish community there. The financial status of expatriate Poles usually mirrors the average
living standard in a given country. It is the highest in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,
while in Iraq Polish families are in so dire straits (just as most Iraqis) that some of them receive food aid
from the Polish embassy in Baghdad. Due to local determinants and pressure from local communities, a
large number of Polish women convert to Islam. In some countries, this is a condition for acquiring
property and inheritance rights.
Expatriate Polish organisations are active in some countries, but the only formally registered
one is Wspólnota Polska in Lebanon established in 1992. Other organisations include the Polish-Kuwaiti
Cultural Association, the Union of Polish-Egyptian Families, the Community of Polish Women Wed to
Libyans, the Polonia Club in Jordan, and the Polish Circle in Damascus and Aleppo. Polish primary and
secondary schools operate in Libya, and there are consultation points at Polish diplomatic missions in
Kuwait, Tunis, Rabat, Damascus and Cairo. The Polish language is also taught in Beirut and
Casablanca. A growing role in diffusing Polish culture has been played by access to Polish satellite TV
programmes and the Internet.
Specific problems affected Polish tourist traffic to the Mediterranean, and especially to Egypt,
Israel and the Palestinian Authority, echoing deteriorating Middle East developments and also other
growing threats connected with a terrorist wave around the world. The fall in tourist numbers is hopefully
a temporary phenomenon.
After discontinuation of connections to Arab capitals, LOT Polish Airlines resumed regular flights
to Damascus and Beirut in 2001.
Co-operation in the field of archaeology and preservation of historical landmarks has been a
Polish speciality since 1937, when Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski launched operations in the region.
There are currently 20 Polish missions conducting archaeological research in Arab countries, chiefly in
Egypt, Sudan, Syria and Lebanon.
Increasingly wide and diversified tasks have been pursued in the region by 18 Polish
diplomatic/consular missions, including six in Maghreb countries: Morocco (embassy in Rabat and
consulate general in Casablanca), Tunisia, Algeria and Libya (embassy in Tripoli and consulate general
in Benghazi). There are five embassies in the Middle East (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel)
and six in the Gulf region and the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Kuwait, and the
United Arab Emirates). The US interests section at the Polish embassy in Baghdad has continued its
operations. Housed in the former US embassy building, it has represented US interests in Iraq since
1991, mainly in the consular and administrative spheres. (A similar function in Washington is played by
the Iraqi interests section at the Algerian embassy there.)
Increased attention of the Polish diplomatic and consular missions in 2001 was turned to the
protection of Polish nationals in the region, echoing the threats arising from the resumed
Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, a general increase in tensions in the Middle East and the Gulf region,
and numerous terrorist attacks.
Summing up, Poland’s foreign policy towards the Arab world faces the task of delivering a more
effective and more comprehensive promotion of the co-operation offer, especially in the economic field.
And it has to cope with various flashpoints, tensions, instability and other kinds of constraints stemming
largely from the Middle East conflict and consequences of the Gulf war (which have not yet been entirely
removed). These constrains are also rooted in various international commitments, including those
connected with UN Security Council’s sanctions imposed on some countries or agreements with allies.
Insufficient knowledge of individual markets in Poland and the shortage of financial resources to support
economic co-operation (including exports) continued to pose problems.
Yet to some extent these problems are offset by mutual readiness to develop political dialogue.
Importantly, such a will has been expressed by partners of importance for this country’s economic
interests. And among the Polish business community there has been a growing interest in a return to the
traditional markets and entry into new ones, which, for political reasons, remained inaccessible until very
recently. Poland has also been increasing its presence in international organisations operating in the
Arab world and in the Mediterranean.
With Africa very much in the news over the past two or three years and much talk about ―African
Renaissance‖ visions and road maps to daring, sharply defined development goals, the continent’s
description as ―forgotten‖ has certainly proved a misnomer. Yet when it comes to the resources needed
to reach these objectives, concrete commitments have been in much shorter supply. At the threshold of
the 21 century, the continent was still in dire straits, and its problems were top on the agenda of many
important international gatherings in 2000–2002. The following were the most important for Africa and its
relations with the North:
– the Europe (read: EU)-Africa summit in Cairo (April 2000), which adopted the Cairo
Declaration, and the simultaneous NGO forum. Poland unsuccessfully sought to participate in the
summit as an observer;
– the Millennium summit of heads of state and government at the 55th session of the UN
General Assembly in New York in September 2000, whose closing document (the Millennium
Declaration, followed by an Implementation Programme adopted at the next General Assembly session)
contains a special chapter devoted to the continent (―Meeting the Special Needs of Africa‖);
– the 4th international conference of emerging and re-emerging democracies in Cotonou, Benin,
in December 2000, where Poland was represented by undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Radosław Sikorski;
– the UN/EU conference in Brussels (May 2001), where the problem of African debt relief was
– two African summits: the 5th extraordinary meeting of African heads of state and government
in Sirte (Libya) in March 2001, and the summit of the Organisation of African Unity in Lusaka (Zambia),
where the organisation was declared to be replaced with the African Union;
Roman Chałaczkiewicz, born 1948; graduate, Moscow State Institute of International Relations and the Diplomatic
Academy in Moscow; a political scientist specialising in Arab matters; with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1971;
he worked for 19 years at diplomatic missions in Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Morocco); Polish ambassador to Iraq
in 1997–2002; currently, senior counsellor to the minister at the Africa and the Middle East Department, Ministry of
– the G-8 summit in Genoa (July 2001), where the topics included African development, debt,
poverty and AIDS epidemics;
– the UN conference on racial discrimination and intolerance in Durban, South Africa
(August/September 2001), where slave trade was declared a crime against humanity and African
countries raised the question of moral and material compensation for slavery and colonialism;
– the WTO’s 4th ministerial conference in Doha (November 2001), where the Doha
Development Agenda was adopted.
The output of these conferences has been carefully studied in Poland, especially from the angle
of implications for this country’s bilateral and multilateral relations with African partners.
Over the past years a number of soothing reports have been coming from Africa: peace
continued on the Ethiopian-Eritrean border following two years of fierce hostilities and a December 2000
peace treaty in Algiers (success of the OAU and US diplomacy); the Sierra Leone conflict was pacified
(success of British military and political intervention); conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and
the Great Lakes were at least calmed down; and in Angola the peace process has been in place since
April 2002, closing a civil war ravaging the country since the beginning of independence and claiming
millions of victims.
On the other hand, success has been lacking in attempts to stop the wars in Liberia and Sudan,
reverse the process of disintegration of Somalia’s statehood and territory, prevent further political
degradation in Zimbabwe, the spread of AIDS, plunder of Congolese natural resources by the occupying
armies and human trafficking, and reduce the numbers of hunger and malnutrition victims, refugees and
The 11 September terrorist attack on the US and the ensuing war in Afghanistan have not
relegated Africa to the back seat (as feared) due to such factors as the emerging perception of the
continent as a security risk and the West’s ―soft underbelly.‖ African countries condemned international
terrorism and declared—with varying degree of enthusiasm (over recognition of US leadership)—that
they would join the common front to combat terrorism. With the release of news on the penetration of
some sub-Saharan regions by fundamentalist Islamist organisations (with links to international
terrorists) and reports on transfer of diamond smuggling money to these organisations via Africa and
money laundering on the continent, it become clear that the wars in Sudan, Somalia, Angola, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone or Liberia pose security threats of much wider international
implications. Areas where the state has disintegrated and all authority has eroded make an ideal
training, recruitment and preparation ground for terrorists. The bombs that exploded at the US
embassies in Nairobi and Dar as Salaam in 1998 demonstrated that terrorists do not care for the lives of
A review of Poland’s relations with sub-Saharan Africa in the past years must be put in the
context of these developments and the international debate on the challenges facing not only that
continent. Poland has often reiterated that the global security system will require much more effective
means of early warning, rapid reaction, new coalitions and efficient economies—and Africa must not
remain on its sidelines. Polish foreign policy should join the efforts to build such a global system.
Polish Diplomacy’s Goals in Africa, Network of Mission
Poland’s membership of the OECD, WTO, NATO, and the advanced process of EU accession
negotiations warrant taking an appropriate perspective and strategy in relations with countries on the
African continent, Europe’s neighbour to the south. Over the past several years, Euro-Atlantic priorities
and the strategic importance of relations with eastern neighbours dominated Polish foreign policy,
overshadowing African affairs. Their assessment in Poland has not remained unaffected by subjective
perceptions and current developments. But the country’s economic requirements call for a development
of new programmes and model solutions of co-operation with Africa.
At the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the entirety of Poland’s relations with Africa was
the subject of many seminars, conferences and consultation meetings held in 1999–2001 at the Institute
for Developing Countries, Warsaw University. These were attended by academics, experts, diplomats,
missionaries, business people and journalists. The documentation collected and opinions exchanged
provide a valuable basis from which to develop more detailed projections, scenarios and programmes of
co-operation, taking into account the new realities in Poland, Africa and the world. This country’s
relations with the continent should be stimulated by clearly defining the objectives, benefits and
priorities, by focusing the attention on selected partners, and by ensuring a coherent operation of
various entities. With this in view, in May 2001 the minister of foreign affairs appointed the Africa Council
as a voluntary body advising him on Poland’s African policy. The Ministry also went on with domestic
and international consultations on a programme, forms, extent and direction of measures supporting
those development processes in Africa in which Poland could take part as a donor. In early 2002 a
Polish-African parliamentary group was formed at the Polish Sejm, right after its emergence from the
autumn 2001 elections.
Everyday diplomatic contacts with sub-Saharan Africa were serviced by nine Polish
embassies—based in Dakar, Abuja, Abidjan, Kinshasa, Luanda, Pretoria, Harare, Dar es Salaam and
Nairobi—with an accreditation pattern that allowed every African country to be covered. A special case
involving a temporary solution was the accreditation of the Polish ambassador in Yemen to cover also
Ethiopia, Eritrea and the OAU. There is also a complementary network of 15 honorary consulates which,
in countries with no Polish diplomatic/consular missions, come as the only institutions rendering
consular services to Polish citizens (e.g. to large groups of missionaries in Cameroon, Zambia or
Madagascar), undertaking promotional activity, and facilitating economic contacts.
The African diplomatic missions accredited to Warsaw—of which only four are diplomatic
representations of sub-Saharan African countries actually based in the Polish capital—maintained
contacts with Polish institutions and organisations.
Steps were taken in 2001 to reopen the Polish embassy in Addis Ababa. This will help rebuild
partnership relations with Ethiopia and co-operation with the Organisation of African Unity (at a time of
its transformation into the African Union) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, both of which are
based in Addis Ababa.
The new concepts and organisational solutions, while not yet playing any major role in the
Polish diplomatic practice in 2001, nevertheless laid the groundwork for its better co-ordination. At the
same time, given the very tight situation of the Polish central budget and the economy, the plans of
stepping up the country’s African policy had to be adjusted to the limited resources available, with
account taken of the criterion of economic profitability.
Action to Promote Stabilisation: UN Peacekeeping Missions, Human Rights
Poland’s contribution to suppressing trouble spots in Africa has long been taking the form of
participation in UN peacekeeping missions. In 2001 the most perceptible presence in terms of personnel
numbers and rank was in the UN Mission for Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). Poland also took part in
MONUC and MINURSO missions in, respectively, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Western
Sahara. Peacekeeping missions have become a Polish speciality and the accumulated experience may
be used in international programmes to train regional African peacekeeping forces.
As a member of the UN Human Rights Commission and a signatory to the Warsaw Declaration
(adopted at the conference ―Towards a Community of Democracies,‖ Warsaw, 26–27 June 2000),
Poland monitored the democratisation process and respect for human rights in Africa, expressing its
opinions in the course of political consultations with African partners, NATO, the EU, and in international
Political Contacts and Visits
An event of great importance for Polish-African relations was an official visit by Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo (March 2001), who came to this country at the invitation of President
Aleksander Kwaśniewski at the head of a large governmental and economic delegation. The visit was an
expression of mutual recognition for the position taken by each country in their respective regions, and
also for the personal role of President Obasanjo in the process of Nigeria’s democratisation and his
efforts to ensure peace, security and stabilisation, especially in West Africa. During the visit, new
agreements were reached with regard to economic, cultural and scientific co-operation.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Grażyna Bernatowicz, who headed the Polish governmental
delegation to the UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related
Intolerance (Durban, South Africa, 31 August–7 September 2001), met with her South African
counterpart and many other African politicians present at the gathering. Polish delegates were also
present at the parallel NGO forum. But because of the controversy which the subject matter of both
conferences provoked starting from the preparatory stage, and especially because of the confrontational
approach to the interpretation of the Middle East crisis adopted by some Muslim countries and the
changes forced a posteriori into the final text of the Durban declaration, the output of that forum is not
assessed as exclusively positive by the US and European countries, including Poland.
Mention should also be made of visits paid by the Polish deputy minister of national defence to
Angola in June 2001 and by the Senate deputy speaker to Mauritania (for the Forum of African and Arab
Senates held there). Other Polish-African visits and contacts originally scheduled to take place in 2001
at higher (including presidential) levels had to be postponed for a variety of reasons. In Poland, the
parliamentary elections and the subsequent change of government focused the attention of politicians
and society on domestic issues, inevitably distracting it temporarily from co-operation with
The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and the subsequent fight against terrorism
again rearranged priorities and action plans, and so no particular achievement could be reached in
Poland’s political dialogue with sub-Saharan Africa in 2001.
But on various occasions, and especially in his inaugural address to the Sejm in March 2002,
Foreign Minister Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz declared on behalf of the Polish government that Poland
regards this foreign policy direction as an important component of North-South co-operation for global
security, respect for human rights, tolerance, and the fight against international terrorism, also by means
of eliminating the areas of poverty and conflict, which may provide fertile breeding ground and support
for terrorist action. While rejecting the notion and ideology of the clash of civilisations, and laying stress
on differentiation between terrorism on the one hand and Islam as a religion and culture on the other,
Poland firmly pronounced itself on the side of the anti-terrorist coalition.
Poland has for years been registering a trade deficit with sub-Saharan Africa, even despite an
increase in Polish exports in 2001. Overall, shipments to and from African partners account for a tiny
fraction of this country’s total foreign trade. Also in absolute terms the level of the exchanges is very low.
The chief imports are agricultural and mineral commodities, while exports include steel products,
construction equipment, chemicals, plastics, electrodes, tires, fibreboard, textiles, paper and services
(related to construction, aviation and crop dusting/spraying). The Polish economy is only marginally
dependent on deliveries of raw materials and other products from Africa.
For many years the following three countries have been Poland’s largest trading partners in the
region: South Africa, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
Poland’s Trade with Selected Countries and the Whole of Sub-Saharan Africa in 2001
(rounded to $ million)
Country Total trade Exports Imports Balance
South 100.0 20.1 79.9 -59.8
Ivory 68.2 2.7 65.5 -62.8
Nigeria 29.0 24.7 4.3 20.4
Sub-Sahar 593.1 260.7 332.4 -71.7
an Africa, total
Source: Handel Zagraniczny, styczeń-grudzień 2001, Warszawa, 2002.
Figures on trade with sub-Saharan Africa in 2001 are deformed by data on Liberia, where a
considerable amount of fictitious trade (to the tune of $250 million) comes as a statistical effect of
two-way changes in ship registration, contributing to a fourfold rise in Polish exports (to $158.7 million)
and imports (to $94.2 million) against 2000. On the other hand, major real increases in shipments from
Poland were recorded in relations with South Africa and Ghana.
In the investment field, mention is due to the activity of South African firms (especially in
brewing, paper, and Multiplex movies theatres), which till the end of 2001 brought a cumulative $35
million into Poland (in addition to making commitments for another $95.5 million). There were virtually no
major investments in Africa by Polish companies, whether state-owned or private, discouraged by failed
operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the KGHM copper mining and processing company
in previous years. The only exception seems to be provided by investments in Nigeria by Navimor.
There are many factors behind the weak presence of Polish companies on African markets.
Political instability in many countries, corruption, tax unpredictability, incoherent legislation and also low
labour skills, high energy costs, lack of private land ownership in many countries, and tropical
diseases—all these oft-exaggerated impediments have had the effect of dissuading Poles from doing
business with Africa. Only very rarely are government loans and credit guarantees available to Polish
companies seeking to sell on African markets. A system of contract insurance has yet to be launched.
On both sides decisions (or their absence) are largely influenced by ignorance and stereotypes coupled
with a shortage of promotion and marketing resources. The situation is compounded by incapacitation of
many production facilities bought out by foreign companies not interested in a continuation and
adjustment of production lines that compete with the output of these companies’ other factories.
In the Polish foreign policy strategy, an increasing importance has been assumed by economic
issues. The legislative and organisational arrangements discussed in 2001 took into account the need
for a feedback between political and economic goals in foreign policy. But regrettably the African
direction remained on the sidelines of export promotion measures by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
There are currently only two embassies in sub-Saharan Africa with economic/commercial sections.
Based in Johannesburg and Lagos, these sections service very vast areas. There are only few
representation offices of Polish companies operating in Africa.
Scientific and Cultural Co-operation
Scarce resources in the budgets of the government and scientific and cultural institutions greatly
limited these lines of co-operation, which in most cases took the form of development assistance at a
rather symbolic level. Despite the protracted under-funding of Polish science, scientific co-operation
continued with those African countries where Polish presence had managed to gel. Polish
archaeologists scored well-publicised successes in Sudan, and collaboration was initiated with South
Africa in fundamental astrophysics research. Many research projects carried out within direct contacts
between the universities concerned were handled by Polish scientists residing in Africa (e.g. in
Cameroon, Tanzania, Ethiopia) and African post-graduate students in Poland. Steps were taken to
resume academic co-operation—largely in the nature of assistance—with institutions of higher learning
in countries hit by chronic wars (Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola). At the same time, the number
of undergraduate and postgraduate students and trainees from sub-Saharan Africa at Polish universities
and other academic establishments continued to fall. The scholarship policy, as an instrument of foreign
policy towards Africa (promotion, assistance), is in need of thorough revision and new systemic
The qualifications of Polish academic personnel and the condition of the educational and
research facilities provide an important argument in favour of building Polish-African partnership. This is
also true of African studies in Poland. One of the prestigious awards of the education minister for
outstanding research achievements in 2001 went to Prof. Stanisław Piłaszewicz of Warsaw University, a
leading philologist and expert on African religions.
As regards Poland’s cultural co-operation with the region, it has for years been minute and
accidental (except for the previously mentioned archaeological research and landmark maintenance
work in Sudan). This reflects the scarcity of resources on both sides, and not lack of mutual interest. In
the course of 2001, proclaimed by UNESCO the Year of Dialogue between Civilisations, this shortage of
culture-promoting projects was making itself particularly strong. Rare examples of successful local
events came as the exceptions that prove the rule, and usually these were held outside any bilateral
intergovernmental frameworks. This pattern, whereby the meeting of Polish and African cultures is
initiated by local governments, NGOs or private sponsors, will very likely be followed in the future.
African presence in Polish museums, art galleries, media and concert halls must have been more
perceptible than the other way round. Just as in trade relations, also in cultural terms Poland is a greater
importer from sub-Saharan Africa than an exporter to the region.
The disturbance of international relations after 11 September has been caused not only by fear
of terrorist threats, but also by a confrontational discourse on an allegedly inevitable clash of
civilisations, amplified by the media. This may give rise to attitudes of xenophobia and intolerance. In
view of the challenges involved in Poland’s opening up to diverse cultures, greater importance still
should be attached to measures influencing the attitudes of Polish society. The growing realisation of
this need resulted in several campaigns launched at the junction of public institutions, the Catholic
Church and NGOs. The ―Children of Africa‖ programme had the widest, national extent. Implemented in
700 Polish junior high schools between October 2001 and June 2002, it featured a competition ―My
African school friend.‖ Some progress was achieved with regard to the cultural aspects of integration by
Asian and African refugees settled in this country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs took measures aimed
to work out a strategy and an action programme to promote Poland in Africa through culture.
Development Assistance and Debt Relief
Poland has granted development assistance to African countries in various forms at the bilateral
and multilateral level—even though its extent was very limited.
The chief form of assistance in bilateral relations was the so-called technical aid, meaning
tuition-free education at Polish universities, training and scholarships. Enrolled in universities and other
academic establishments were 331 students (under- and postgraduate) and trainees (on long-term
assignments, e.g. in the medical profession) from 28 sub-Saharan countries, including 42 persons of
Polish extraction resident in the region.
The greatest numbers came from Nigeria (71), Kenya (47), Democratic Republic of Congo (32),
Sudan (26), Tanzania (24), Ghana (19), Angola (17), Cameroon (15), Ethiopia (14) and Mali (9). Partial
scholarships, involving free education and medical care, were available to 228 people, 39 people
(including 12 with Polish roots) enjoyed full government scholarships, and 58 were fully-paying students.
The 2001 value of this educational assistance to sub-Saharan African countries within the
bilateral co-operation framework stayed at a level similar to that registered a year earlier ($0.6 million).
The previously mentioned countries, making up the top ten on the list of beneficiaries of the
Polish government’s programme of scholarship assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, received among them
nearly 80% of the total pool. Compared to the levels seen in the period between the 1960s and the
1980s, the extent of scholarship assistance to Africa was drastically reduced in the 1990s. Along with
the shrinking of financial resources, this reflected the reorientation of the country’s assistance effort
towards Polish expatriates in the former USSR as well as to the victims of the Balkan conflict.
Poland will no doubt uphold its offer of educational assistance to African countries, adapting it to
the new requirements and teaching methods. Thousands of Polish-educated Africans constitute a major
potential which may prove instrumental in expending relations with the African continent. So far, the
government’s educational assistance programme has not provided for even partial reciprocity from the
beneficiary countries. The reciprocity principle could serve the idea of building partnership relations, but
would also require appropriate co-operation in training the cadres capable of promoting such
partnership on both sides.
In its capacity as a creditor country, Poland is sympathetic to the question of African debt relief.
On the bilateral level, this issue has been present in relations with Angola, Ethiopia and Mozambique. In
2001 agreements were negotiated on the forgiveness and major reduction of Ethiopian and
Mozambican liabilities to this country.
The mutually satisfactory solution to the debt problem came as an important factor facilitating
the search for new projects on economic co-operation with the whole region.
Also perceived as economic assistance benefiting African countries should be Poland’s
unilateral removal of tariffs on commodities imported from developing nations, and the ongoing work on
tariff removal/further reduction with regard to most commodities from the least developed nations.
An important contribution to the promotion of Poland comes from the pastoral and social service
(involving education, health care, orphanages) rendered in 37 African countries by 868 Polish
missionaries (as of 3 December 2001). Most of them work in Cameroon and Zambia. Owing to the
experience accumulated and trust earned by the missions, they often initiate, carry out or contribute to
the implementation of many foreign-financed development programmes on the continent. The Polish
government’s developmental and humanitarian aid channelled via Polish missionaries in Africa has so
far been rather insignificant (e.g. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributed more than 15,000 zloty to the
construction of a school in Senegal). Cash collections at church parishes in Poland to support mission
and charity activity help to wake up a sense of solidarity and enable the Polish missionaries to carry out
many projects on the continent (more than 100 in 2001). Responding to crisis situations in Africa, within
their means, were institutions such as Caritas Polska, Polish Humanitarian Organisation (PAH) and the
Polish Red Cross.
Polish expatriate communities on the continent, Polish technical staff employed there (now
pretty sparse) and African graduates of Polish universities (including several prominent public figures)
are part of a network of Polish-African contacts. The existence of such communities and historical links
is one of the reasons why Poland’s relations with some African countries stand out: the largest Polish
expatriate community, of some 18,000, is in South Africa; there are commendable traditions of several
hundred Polish lecturers in Nigerian universities in 1970–1980; there is a large number of Polish
missionaries in Zambia, with the symbolic figure of Cardinal A. Kozłowiecki; and former Mali president,
Alpha O. Konaré, holds a doctorate from Warsaw University.
Eugeniusz Rzewuski, born 1944; graduate, Institute for Oriental Studies, Warsaw University, doctor of in
humanities, philologist and expert on Africa, Warsaw University academic staff member from 1967; head of the
Polish Society for African Studies from 1999 to 2002; chargé d’affaires a. i. at the Polish Embassy in Tanzania in
1995–1999; from 2000 counsellor to the minister at the Department of Africa and the Middle East, Ministry of