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The top of the Weimar Triangle. Tusk “is destroying the traditions of Polish diplomacy”?

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Former minister in the Chancellery of the President and currently PiS MP Marcin Przydacz believes that Prime Minister Donald Tusk is “trying to disturb the good traditions of Polish diplomacy” by taking part in the sudden summit of the Weimar Triangle in Berlin. So what is the 33-year-old tradition of meetings between politicians from France, Germany and Poland?

While still in Washington, after joint talks with President Andrzej Duda and United States President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced that on March 15, a sudden summit of the Weimar Triangle would be held in Berlin with the participation of the Chancellor of Germany, the President of France and himself. IN interview for TVP Info On March 12, he explained it this way: “I talked to President Biden about how we mobilize our colleagues in Europe. On Friday, so soon, there will be a sudden, unplanned summit of the Weimar Triangle. I will be in Berlin with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz to talk about this situation, they are also waiting for my information from the conversations here in Washington.”

Przydacz: “Prime Minister Donald Tusk is trying to disrupt some good traditions of Polish diplomacy”

He was asked about the sudden peak of the Weimar Triangle March 13 on Polsat News Marcin Przydacz, currently a PiS MP, and in 2023 the head of the Presidential Office of International Policy, and previously the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This is probably a novelty, because the head of state has always traveled, if it was held in this presidential format,” said the host of the program. To which Przydacz replied: “Looking at these photos coming from Washington from his visit to the White House, you can see that Donald Tusk feels a little uncomfortable on red carpets in Washington, but very comfortable on red carpets in Berlin. Perhaps he is on his way improve your self-esteem.” Then he added:

The Weimar Triangle, remember, has always been a presidential format and met twice last year. I see that Prime Minister Donald Tusk is trying to disturb some good traditions of Polish diplomacy. It's hard for me to approach this with full acceptance.

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Przydacz's words are an example of the Law and Justice narrative that Donald Tusk is pursuing German interests in Poland. Let us recall that on December 12, 2023, Jarosław Kaczyński said to Donald Tusk: “You are a German agent.”

“First Necessity Format”

Should President Andrzej Duda go to the Berlin summit, and Prime Minister Tusk somehow invited himself? He explained the behind-the-scenes of organizing this meeting on March 13 on TVN24 BiS Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, former Polish ambassador to Germany and the European Union, Marek Truth. “Everything is happening very quickly. The German-French meeting was planned a little earlier. Yesterday (March 12 – ed.) we learned that the inviting German Chancellor decided that it would be very interesting to talk to the Polish Prime Minister now for the reasons I mentioned, but also because he is returning from Washington,” Pravda reported. So it was the German Chancellor who invited the Polish Prime Minister, not the President. “It is known that the key to solving today's biggest problems has always been – and is now even more so – in Washington. I think that the bosses, the head of the French state, the German chancellor, decided that it was worth finding out first-hand what they think about it in Washington. “- added the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Marek Truth also explained that “The Weimar Triangle is becoming a format of first necessity.” “This means that it occurs to heads of governments of large countries that it is worth meeting Poland suddenly, without any preparation, just to react to what is happening,” said the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In turn, “Gazeta Wyborcza” On March 14, she wrotethat “information from diplomatic circles shows that during the Weimar Triangle summit in Berlin, Poland is to play the role of a mediator between France and Germany.” According to the newspaper, “the dispute between Germany and France concerns what happened two weeks ago in Paris after the end of the conference on supporting Ukraine.” “French President Emmanuel Macron said that nothing can be ruled out when it comes to sending NATO troops to Ukraine,” we read in the text. And further: “Macron's words were treated in Berlin as an irresponsible provocation of Russia, which resulted in direct reactions.”

The diplomatic tradition of the Weimar Triangle. Not only presidents

From the protocol point of view, Prime Minister Tusk's meeting with the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany is unusual, because so far the Weimar Triangle summits have actually been held in the following arrangement: the President of France, the President of Poland, the Chancellor of Germany. This does not mean, however, that it was always like this.

The Weimar Triangle – an informal forum for cooperation between the three countries – was established on August 29, 1991 in Weimar by the ministers of foreign affairs of Poland (Krzysztof Skubiszewski), Germany (Hans-Dietrich Genscher) and France (Roland Dumas), signing the declaration “On the future of Europe”. Until 1998, the summits of the triangle were held only at the level of the heads of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And they met most often – a total of 30 such meetings took place, the last one in France on February 12 this year.

Raising Weimar cooperation from the level of heads of foreign ministries to the level of heads of state and government was proposed in 1996 to French President Jacques Chirac by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski. Chirac responded positively to this idea, as did German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The first Weimar Triangle summit in this format took place in Poznań on February 21, 1998. So far, 11 such meetings have been held.

Interestingly, in July 2006, the then president Lech Kaczyński – due to health problems after a satirical text about him in a German daily “Tageszeitung” – he resigned from the summit and was to be replaced by the then Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. “Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz had the powers of the president. The Polish Constitution absolutely provides for a situation in which the prime minister represents the Republic of Poland,” he said. July 6, 2006 in a radio interview, Maciej Łopiński, then Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President. “It is completely normal that both the president and the prime minister can represent the Republic of Poland,” he said.

As the current deputy minister of foreign affairs, Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski, noted, the issue of representing leaders at the Weimar summits “has always been partly problematic.” On January 17, at a meeting of the Sejm Foreign Affairs Committee Bartoszewski wondered “who should represent Poland, or even who should represent the countries in the Weimar Triangle.” “It is assumed that these are heads of state, but the German Chancellor is not the head of state, and the President of Poland does not create Polish foreign policy, because Polish foreign policy is created by the Polish government,” said the deputy minister.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the government conducts foreign policy, and the president is to cooperate with the prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs. In this context, from a political point of view, Prime Minister Tusk's participation in the meeting in Berlin should not be surprising.

The Weimar Triangle meetings are not only a summit of leaders, but also talks at the level of various ministers: e.g. of finance (the last one took place on June 27, 2023); defense (in March 2015); presidiums of parliaments (three times, the last one in June 2016).

Main photo source: Leszek Szymański, FILIP SINGER, LUDOVIC MARIN/PAP

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