Poland, an EU member since 2004, is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which helped bring down Soviet-style communism in the late 1980s. It was also the site of some of the 20th century's greatest tragedies.
Home to 38.5 million people, Poland sits in the near heart of Europe, bordered by Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and the Russian enclave Kaliningrad. The prime location and large amount of land (more than 300,000 square kilometers) Poland enjoys have enticed more than one of the country's neighbors to attempt to take it over. Poland survived the 1939-45 Nazi occupation, however, and endured over four decades of Soviet dominance to emerge as one of the EU's shining stars in Central Europe.
Poland's government is insisting that Germany pay reparations for crimes committed during the Second World War. During a recent visit to Warsaw, Dagmar Engel posed the question of how such demands should be handled.
The German elections coincide with a mounting wave of Germanophobia in neighboring Poland. Chancellor Merkel's efforts to keep relations on a pragmatic level have clearly failed. For Poland’s nationalist rulers, the prospect of Merkel’s re-election means the perpetuation of what they claim are the worst things about the EU; now Warsaw is mulling over a demand for war reparations from Berlin.
The rift deepens between east and west over migrant quotas – Poland and European Commission clash - Duelling for Chancellor on German TV - A novel Norwegian solution to solve the North Korean crisis – Caviar diplomacy with the Azerbaijani laundromat – Terror and Catalan independence - Jewish culture is celebrated in Hungary - Wild boars and vines - And fewer women going topless on French beaches.
The Polish government and the European Commission are on a collision course over new laws that Brussels believe violate the rule of law and disobey EU policies, including on migration. As Teri Schultz reports from Brussels, the Commission is now considering what it can do to stop the anti-democratic moves.
Brown bears have largely vanished from Europe over the past 12,000 years. One reason: warmer winters discouraged females from bearing cubs as they used energy to sleep rather than go into deep hibernation in the cold.