From farewell to a new Eastern policy and towards a new development

Poland and Germany were both initiators and drivers of a New Eastern policy linked to the Eastern neighborhood and Russia/Soviet Union.

After WW II, Jerzy Giedroyc — a Polish writer, political activist, publisher, and editor of the magazine Kultura — promoted good relations with Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus as a guarantee for Poland’s freedom. Building a linkage between an independent Polish state and good relations with Eastern neighbors was an idea for developing an Eastern policy.

On the German side, coming to terms with historic legacies is closely linked with Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr developing rapprochement with Moscow, Warsaw, Prague and East Berlin. This included symbolic acts such as Willy Brandt falling to his knees in Warsaw in 1970, which became the symbol for reconciliation with Germany. It also included signing the treaties with West Germany’s Eastern neighbors and the Four-Power Treaty with the Allies, which were completed between 1970 and 1973. Although Giedroyc and Brandt, in their respective countries, were both important actors for a New Eastern Policy, they had very different roles: intellectual and politician. The New Eastern Policy has been initiated by Poland and Germany from different perspectives. Now, the impact of the conflict with Russia and in Eastern Ukraine has led to a farewell to balancing relations with Russia and the Eastern neighbors of Poland and Germany[1]. Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz published a paper about the Giedroyc farewell and its impact on Eastern policy, which should be debated in detail. It would be worth creating a discourse about Giedroyc’s ideas and the current situation of a New Eastern Policy in Germany.

View Full Article


This article was originally published by the Centre for European Transformation in October 2017.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.
Iris Kempe

Iris Kempe

Iris Kempe is a political scientist and policy adviser currently working with the Global Challenge Foundation. She has published widely on European affairs, foreign and security policy, the EU’s Eastern Policy, and is a frequent commentator in the international media.

Dr. Kempe started her career in the think tank world at the Centre for Applied Policy Research at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich (1995-2008), where she focused on the EU’s Eastern policy and the development/transformation of the EU’s Eastern neighbors. She then worked as director (2008-2011) of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in the South Caucasus. Two weeks after her arrival in Tbilisi, the Russia-Georgia War broke out. Her tenure in the South Caucasus thus focused on European and transatlantic cooperation, regional conflicts, and transformation.

In 2011-2012 Dr. Kempe relocated to Moscow as director of a British NGO in the Russian Federation. The squeeze on civil society shortened her time in Moscow, and she transferred to Stockholm as a senior adviser to the Council of Baltic Sea States. The Council is an intergovernmental organization with 11 members from the region and 10 observers including the United States. Since late 2017, Dr. Kempe has been advising the Global Challenge Foundation on the feasibility of projects with the potential for global transformation.