Sold to Germany
“Twenty years ago, during first pilgrimage to my country, together with the throngs assembled in prayerful community on Victory Square, I called upon the Holy Spirit, praying: ‘May your Spirit descend on us! May you renew the face of the land. This land!’” With these words, Pope John Paul II opened his address to the joint session of the Polish parliament and senate gathered in Warsaw on June 11 of this year.
He went on to claim that it was by the very power of God (in answer to his 1979 prayer for Poland) that the country had been liberated from the repression of Communist rule and the way made clear for Poland to take its place in the European Union. “For the first time, a pope speaks to a joint session of the Polish parliament—a Polish pope,” he said.
This pope, born in the Polish city of Krakow, has placed Poland high on his agenda throughout his papal tenure. Put simply, the pope wants Poland in the EU, and he will do all in his power to speed that process.
The late Herbert W. Armstrong warned for years of Germany’s European ambitions being aided by the Vatican in raising, for the last time, the Holy Roman Empire. Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Many of the present Pope John Paul II’s activities point to the fact that he can be the pope that will initiate this European reunion, in a ‘United States of Europe.’ As a matter of fact, his having come from Poland, and the effect of his visit there, indicate that…the coming ‘resurrected’ Holy Roman Empire may include such nations…as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia” (co-worker letter, Sep. 20, 1979). Read that again. Mr. Armstrong wrote that 20 years ago.
In his Warsaw address this year, the pope went on to say, “Poland has every right to participate in the progress and development of the world, especially in Europe. The integration of Poland with the European Union has been supported by the Apostolic See from the beginning. The historical experience of the Polish nation, its spiritual and cultural richness, can effectively contribute to the common good of the entire human family, especially towards the strengthening of peace and security in Europe. And here, I renew my plea to the Old Continent: ‘Europe, open your doors to Christ!’”
EU Responds to Pope’s Request
With 95 percent of Poland’s population Catholic, the power of this papal speech soaked deep into the hearts and minds of Poland’s political elite. The Polish government has made integration with the EU a top priority, seeing benefits for Poland in its potential access to Europe’s consumer and labor markets, bringing a free flow of goods, services and capital. Surveys show that 62 percent of Poles are in favor of joining the EU.
In addition to the enthusiastic response at home, the pope’s June 11 Warsaw message was well-received in Brussels—EU headquarters.
At the time of the pope’s speech, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had recently completed the second Polish-German intergovernmental consultations, focusing on increasing German-Polish business and industry initiatives. In early September this year, Schröder paid a two-day visit to Warsaw on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II and promised that Germany would do everything in its power to ensure that Poland becomes an EU member within the next few years.
Further, EU response to the pope’s continuous prod came on September 5 when German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer acknowledged that Poland would be likely to make the economic reforms necessary for early EU membership. Hard on the heels of this encouragement, Romano Prodi, head of the European Commission, traveled to Poland on September 30 for his first foreign visit since taking office. While in Poland, Prodi met with President Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek to discuss EU membership.
On October 4, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen firmed up the EU position by declaring, “I strongly support Poland’s ambition to become an EU member.”
The Germans want Poland in the EU and are doing everything in their power to make it a reality.
With a country just smaller in size than the U.S. state of New Mexico and a population of 38.6 million, the previously communized Poland has had to find a way to swiftly transform its unproductive industry into savvy Western capitalism.
For Poland to fulfill the membership requirements of the EU, it must ensure that a stable democracy and a market economy are in place and that human rights are honored. It must also demonstrate the ability to amend its laws to fall in line with the EU’s legal system. Poland’s key tasks have been privatization, modernization and restructuring of their telecommunications, coal mining and steel industries, along with air and railway transportation.
To accomplish these goals, Poland has looked for investment help from the West. Poland was caught in a balancing act: on the one hand with a need for foreign investment and capital; on the other with a desire to control the amount of foreign influence necessary to attain the required economic strength for its coveted EU membership.
Germany Fulfills Papal Prophecy
In his speech to the Polish ruling elite, the pope referred to the “third way” of government administration, based on Catholic social dogma. The third way has been touted as an alternative to communism and capitalism by the flower-power triumvirate of U.S. President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. It means different things to different people. In reality, the third way is a disguised form of national socialism.
It is third way politics that have enabled Germany, by stealth, to become the most dominant force in Poland. And Germany’s economic and military gains in Poland are the means by which the papal prophecy for Poland is being fulfilled.
William Drozdiak of the International Herald Tribune acknowledged the troubling eastward focus of Germany: “The new focus of Germany’s attention and resources is viewed suspiciously as a discreet crusade to expand the nation’s influence and penetration into new markets emerging as a potential ‘Teutonic Bloc’ from the remnants of the defunct Soviet Empire” (Sept. 11). Simply put, we’re seeing shades of the old German lebensraum policy, its eastward push for “living space.”
The vast Polish plain lies at the crossroad of Europe, bordered by Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. It has long been the meat in the European sandwich—caught between the seesawing might of Germany and Russia.
The success of the papal-cia initiatives, using Lech Walesa’s “Solidarity” movement as a front, led to the collapse of communism in Poland. Then with Russia’s economy imploding by 1991, Poland needed a strong trading partner. The German-led EU filled the void.
Today, Poland is the most successful ex-Soviet satellite nation to transition its economy from communism to private-investment-funded free market economy. The EU is now Poland’s biggest market, accounting for over 66 percent of its exports and 63 percent of its imports. In 1996 alone, EU trade with Poland stood at $7.6 billion, with EU exports to Poland rising beyond 30 percent. The real shock came when Eurostat reported on June 5, 1998, that Germany’s share of EU exports to Poland was 43 percent and its imports from Poland were 51 percent, making Germany Poland’s chief trading partner. The only other EU member country to rank anywhere near German exports to Poland was Italy, with 13 percent. The Germans are dominating the Polish economy.
Polish Banks in German Hands
Without a doubt, Polish banks have greatly benefited from foreign investment; however, it is this very investment that is taking the banks out of the hands of Poles and putting it into the hands of foreigners. Only now are various politicians waking up to the fact that Polish banks are falling under foreign—mostly German—control. Foreign investors hold over 57 percent of the Polish banks. There now remain only two state-owned banks in Poland. The largest, BIG Bank Gdanski SA, is in the sights of German banking giant Deutsche Bank. This culminated in a hostile takeover bid, which was met with intense opposition by Polish banking officials who see majority control of the industry swinging far too heavily to Germany.
Polish columnist Jacek Dzierwa reported in an August 22 article titled “Polish in Name, Foreign in Capital,” that the situation was spinning out of control. He wrote, “Andrzej Szkalski, chairman of the Union of Polish Banks, believes the extent of foreign involvement is a major issue. ‘We have found ourselves at a dangerous point and crossed a certain border. And now all decisions about further admission of foreign investors should be very cautious.’”
Opponents of the bank sell-off claim that this policy has been short-sighted, driven by the government’s lust for EU membership, giving preference to foreign investors at the expense of Polish investors in the privatization of banks.
The sovereignty of the Polish economy is in grave danger. Germany’s blitzkrieg of banking takeovers is a prime example of Teutonic third-way politics in action. Banks are the main source of capital for business development. Now, with the sale of their banks, Poles are left to sit and watch predominantly German officials make the banking decisions in their home country.
Selling Their Soil to Strangers
In addition to the German banking takeovers, Poland is suffering another crippling symptom of EU membership mania—losing its land to Germany. Deutschland has always craved lebensraum.
German citizens are increasingly purchasing of vast tracts of land in western and northern Poland. In addition, emotions are spilling over as word reaches Warsaw that foreigners are purchasing land using Polish citizens as straw men to sidestep government limitations on the purchase of real estate.
“‘It is difficult to check all these reports,’ says Andrzej Kosiñski, deputy director of the real estate, permits and concessions department at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. ‘However, we know that such situations indeed take place.’ Most often, they occur in Pomerania and involve the purchase of farmland, because such purchases are normally the most difficult for foreigners. One such case, with the purchase of several hundred hectares of land in Szczecin province by supposedly Polish-funded companies, in reality owned by German shareholders, has even attracted the interest of prosecutors” (The Warsaw Voice, Aug. 30).
In 1998, corporations accounted for two-thirds of all real estate buyers. The largest number of permits was obtained by companies based in Germany. Among individuals purchasing Polish real estate, until 1990 Soviet citizens dominated, but since 1991 the Germans have led the way by far.
Recently this culminated in a strong letter-writing campaign by German citizens demanding the return of areas that belonged to them prior to World War II. The Polish parliament is now arguing over whether to impose stricter laws of foreign ownership of land. All such efforts have been struck down as Poland strives to align its current land sale policy with the required EU standard.
The irony of this Polish loss of land and internal government wrangling is that the Germans have already put into law barriers to the purchase of their own land by foreigners: a blatant double-standard.
With the loss of large portions of its land to German ownership, Poland’s domestic compromise to predominantly German investment is beginning to cause social unrest at home. In late September after the zloty (Polish currency) fell 15 percent, 50,000 people—mainly farmers, steelworkers, teachers, nurses and the unemployed—gathered in central Warsaw to protest the selling off of the country and economic sacrifices for EU membership. The rapid reforms Poland has had to make to come into line with EU policy are the prime cause for such social disorder.
The international community has raised its eyebrows. But with a native-born pope backing Europe’s expansion and a bevy of German investment in Poland, Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek knows that he has enough high-profile support to see through his EU-driven policies.
German Military in Poland—Again
Poland’s formal accession into the nato fold came at nato’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Washington D.C. this year. Poland had long sought integration with nato, and with 90 percent of public support at home and strong support abroad, Polish inclusion was a mere formality.
Integration of Polish forces into nato operations has been swift. The Polish military is the most capable among the Eastern European states and has already served in multinational forces in Haiti and ifor/sfor in Bosnia. This, combined with Poland’s very active involvement in the Partnership for Peace exercises (230 events in 1997 alone), has aided its operability within nato.
Ironically, in the light of World War II Nazi occupation only 54 years ago, Germany’s military is again on the ground in Poland—and under German command!
In his June 1998 speech at the nato workshop in Vienna, Austria, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski dropped the following bombshell: “Poland’s participation in nato will help accelerate the process of Polish-German reconciliation. Poland is a neighbor and soon will become an ally of Germany. The evil we suffered is now a thing of the past.”
In the wake of its former British allies (see “No to nato” in last month’s issue), Poland has had various nato exercises under the banner of the Partnership for Peace program. German General Joachim Spiering is Commander of the Central European nato forces. Polish and German troops have worked side by side since early 1995 (under German supreme command), conducting many exercises in Poland. In addition, both countries are involved in the 10,000-strong German-Danish-Polish corps headquartered in the Polish port city of Szczecin.
German military leadership, via nato, is back in Poland! Much to the frustration of Russia, the Polish plain is again under German-led security. Although the Poles are now waking up to this, it is far too late.
Prussian Empire Returns
Germany is now in the driver’s seat in Poland, economically and militarily. Soon the world will realize that the Germans have perfectly positioned themselves to extend their dominating influence even further eastward in the establishment of the “eastern leg” of the EU empire. As it has done before, Germany has simply incorporated Poland into its backyard. This time it was not by military blitzkrieg but by stealth, economic genius and with papal encouragement that Germany has practically taken control of the economic, political and military structure of Poland.
Andrej Lepper, leader of the growing Polish movement “Self Defense,” summed up the German takeover of Poland this way: “Our industry and land are being sold off, much of it to Germans. I often say that what Hitler failed to do by murdering millions is today being achieved by economic means.'’
The pope’s crucial June 11 speech in Warsaw put the Vatican’s stamp of approval on the German economic takeover of Poland, and sent a powerful message to EU headquarters in Brussels to quicken the pace of Poland’s incorporation into the EU family.
The world is blind to the global ambitions of this rising German-dominated European empire. The EU and nato are simply being used as convenient cloaks for Germanic ambitions.