Russia and Germany still not good for Poland
Poland’s geographic location has been both a blessing (particularly in the Middle-Ages) and a curse (particularly in Modern Times starting in the mid-18th century).
Poland is caught in a vise between Russia and Germany. In 1939 there was the Molotov-Ribbentrop (non-aggression) Treaty. Today, Germany and Russia are joined at the pipe, which by design circumvents the more economical land crossing through Poland with a deep under sea route via the Baltic.
Russia has 33% of the world’s natural gas reserves. Germany’s special energy relationship with Putin’s government threatens energy security in Europe according to many experts. Last winter, Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine for political leverage, perhaps in retaliation for the Orange Revolution there. Russia is in the third year of a boycott of Polish agricultural product importation undoubtedly with a political leverage component to it.
While Germans agreed under Russian influence to circumvent the direct overland route through Poland looking out for their own county’s interests, Poland, traditionally (and with rational reasons) a skeptic of Russia called for an energy NATO at the time, to ensure the whole of Europe’s energy interests.
Germany has not shown solidarity with the rest of the Union on energy and a select number of other important economic and political issues. What was the purpose of the EU? And, who’ll have the guts to call Germany out on this?
Russia flexes its energy muscle as a foreign policy weapon against former Soviet republics that turn toward the west. Additionally, democracy shortcomings like the killing of Kremlin critics Anna Politkovskaya (a journalist) and Alexander Litvinenko (a former Russian spy) have increased the public unease in Europe over Russia as a reliable partner.
Shell, BP and other EU energy companies have been bullied out of oil and gas field development contracts in Russia. Poland and other members of the Union would like to see EU solidarity to act as a coherent negotiator in deals with Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom.
Germany marginalizes its neighbors and is undermining the energy security in Western Europe. We have not seen or heard the last of this problem. The newly elected government in Poland cannot take a weak stand on energy policy and must be more aggressive than in the past. Poland’s natural gas deal with Norway will bring supplies across to Demark and then through Germany. Poland’s Achilles’ heel will be Germany bowing to the whims of Russia.
Poland be weary of the modern day Molotov-Ribbentrop.