November 30-December 1, 2023, at the Wojnowice Castle, we met for the fifth time as a part of the German-Polish Round Table on Eastern Europe. This year, the main topic of discussion was the future of the Eastern policies of both countries in the face of the war against Ukraine and aggressive policy of Russia in the region, as well as the future of bilateral Polish-German relations in the context of the change of government in Warsaw. This year we hosted participants from Germany, Ukraine, Belarus and the United States and other states representing expert, scientific, journalistic and diplomatic circles.
The importance of this year’s round table was increased by the change of government in Poland, which, accordingly to the participants, gives an opportunity for a new opening in German-Polish relations, which were in a very serious crisis after 2015. On the first day of the conference, we discussed how to help Ukraine win the war, what role Poland and Germany can play together. The panellists emphasized that their engagement cannot be limited to the still insufficient military aid, but most importantly should concern an unambiguous and unwavering political, economic, and humanitarian support even after the end of hostilities. The next topic of discussion was the current state of Polish-German relations and their future. The participants recognized that our relations, due to the potential and ambitions of both countries, are crucial for Europe, especially its Eastern part. Their significant improvement is in the interest of both parties and the entire region.
We started the second day with a panel on post-war security architecture of Europe and sustainable peace. The main topic was to actually deter Russia from further aggressive policy towards its neighbours and to create a security architecture in Europe allowing for the reconstruction of Ukraine. We also talked about the future of Belarus, which is increasingly subordinated to Moscow. We finalised the conference with a debate on Ukraine’s integration with NATO and the EU. The importance of financial, technological, and political assistance necessary for Kyiv’s integration with Western partners was emphasized. Serious challenges to the integration process resulting from the war, the growing popularity of politicians in the Western countries who were at least sceptical about Ukraine’s membership in the EU and NATO, and the deteriorating mood of Ukrainian society were also noticed.
The College of Eastern Europe (KEW) organized the table together with the German foundations Austausch and Zentrum Liberale Moderne with the support of the Heinrich Boll Stiftung, the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation and the city of Wrocław.