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Europe

Berlin and Warsaw Fight War Claims Together

The Polish and German governments have agreed to set up a bilateral committee of legal experts to fight lawsuits by Germans seeking compensation for property they lost to Poland after the collapse of the Third Reich.

Following official talks in Berlin on Monday German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka appealed to the common sense of Germans and Poles trying to revive a debate about World War II reparations claims. An estimated 2.5 million ethnic Germans were expelled or fled from Poland when Germany's borders shifted at the end of World War II. Some of them have threatened to take their claims for repatriations to Polish and European courts. Poland twice declared itself willing to drop all of its demands for reparations from the Germans, in 1954 and in 1970.Both Mr Schröder and Mr Belka, appeared determined to calm the discussion in order to preserve good relations between the two neighbours. The leader of Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has made the issue of reparation payments a priority should his party be voted into power during the upcoming elections in October.The Polish Rzeczpospolita newspaper published a poll last week saying 64 percent of Poles are in favour of seeking compensation from Germany for damages during World War II .(EUobserver.com)

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