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Europe

German Minister Wants Exhibition to Improve Ties With Poland

Ahead of a trip to Warsaw, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said historians from Germany and Poland should create a joint exhibition on their shared history to deal with their difficult past and pave the way for better ties.

Montage of German and Polish flags

EU neighbors Germany and Poland have often had a rocky relationship

After being shown in Warsaw and Berlin, the exhibit could tour the two countries, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote in an article for Polish daily Dziennik on Saturday, April 5.

The exhibit should show "how fear and rejection can turn to increased trust and partnership through cooperation and shared interests," Steinmeier wrote, adding that such a work would also be a sign of reconciliation.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Steinmeier says a joint exhibition would go a long way in clearing the air with Poland

The German minister said the display could be opened in 2010 in honor of the 40th anniversary of then Chancellor Willy Brandt kneeling in front of a memorial to the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto.

Ahead of his trip to Poland, which begins Sunday, Steinmeier said it was time for Berlin and Warsaw to begin a new chapter in their relations that would be "demanding and ambitious enough so as not to avoid difficult questions."

Energy talks

Steinmeier is scheduled to meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his Polish counterpart Radek Sikorski. Talks are expected to focus on energy security and climate protection.

Poland remains opposed to plans to connect Germany to Russian gas supplies via a pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Currently a transit country for much of the gas Russia exports to western Europe, Poland fears Russia could cut its energy supplies.

But that's a concern Steinmeier said could be dealt with.

Parts of the Baltic Sea pipeline

The planned pipeline between Russia and Germany would bypass Poland

"In the spirit of European solidarity, Germany and Poland could create the technological infrastructure on their border so that gas and electricity could flow from Germany to Poland in the case of a delivery stop," Steinmeier said.

Poland relies heavily on coal-fired power stations and Germany too is to build further coal power plants, Steinmeier wrote, adding that the development of cleaner coal technologies was of huge interest to both nations.

Steinmeier wrote that the countries could combine their efforts to develop environmentally friendly technology to burn coal efficiently and recapture greenhouse gas emissions.

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