RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report (excerpts)

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Subject: RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report (excerpts)

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RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report (excerpts)

RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report
Vol. 2, No. 8, 22 February 2000
A Survey of Developments in Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine by the
Regional Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.
- an association established on an initiative of 16 people, including
Justice Minister Hanna Suchocka, Deputy Interior Minister Bogdan
Borusewicz, and Jerzy Rejt, former chairman of the Union of Ukrainians
in Poland - held its inaugural session in the parliamentary building
on 19 February, PAP reported. The forum is headed by Henryk Wujec, a
lawmaker from the Freedom Union.

"The forum's main goal is to translate the strategic partnership of
Poland and Ukraine into practical actions in all spheres, from
bilateral trade through security and defense issues to scientific and
cultural cooperation," Wujec commented. Wujec noted that a twin
organization, the Ukrainian-Polish Forum, has already started its
activities in Ukraine.

Wujec declared that the forum will be seeking to "neutralize and
counteract" any possible negative consequences for Ukraine following
Poland's accession to the EU. However, Jerzy Osiatynski, Wujec's party
colleague, noted that there is a great discrepancy between Poland's
intended goals in its policy toward Ukraine and Poland's ability to
achieve those goals. "We are not able to take Ukraine into our arms
and carry her to the EU," Osiatynski said, adding that a policy of
"small steps" is advisable.

According to Marek Ziolkowski, chief of the Eastern Europe Department
in the Foreign Ministry, Poland's assistance to Ukraine on its path
toward Europe will consist largely in organizing programs to educate
the Ukrainian public about the EU and sharing Polish experience in EU

The forum also discussed the issue of establishing a Polish-Ukrainian
university. The rectors of five institutions of higher education in
Lublin, eastern Poland, have declared their willingness to organize
such a university in their city. The forum set up an expert team to
work out an appropriate project and present it to the government and
the parliament.

and Cultural Association of Germans (TSKN) in Opole Province,
southwestern Poland, has issued a resolution calling on the German
authorities to begin talks on the future of Germans in Poland, PAP
reported on 20 February. Helmut Pazdzior, one of the two deputies
representing the German minority in the Polish parliament, commented
to the agency:

"The document describing Germany's external policy for 2000 contains
clauses that may be interpreted in Silesia as urging toward permanent
emigration to Germany. We want to keep as many people of German origin
here as possible. That is why today, having received support from
representatives of all TSKN circles, we would like the German
authorities to sit down to discuss our future, in keeping with the
idea of 'nothing about us without us.' "

According to Pazdzior, one of the most effective ways of keeping the
Germans in Poland's Silesia, other than creating new jobs, is the
development of local infrastructure, including the water-supply
network, sewage system, health resorts, and cultural establishments,
"at a reasonable level."

"We still need three-four years to create a proper social and cultural
infrastructure in Silesia. However, to achieve this, a proper level of
co-financing for these activities by the German side is needed. We
hope that during these talks we will be able to clarify all the issues
connected with the financing of our projects by the German side,"
Pazdzior added.

According to various estimates, there are between 180,000 and 300,000
Germans in Opole Province. Some 70,000 Silesians with dual citizenship
currently work in Germany, while their families remain in Poland. In
the 1970s and 1980s, some 200,000 people left Poland for Germany,
where they set up a permanent residence.

Meanwhile, some 200 TSKN delegates held a congress on 19 February to
mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of their organization. "Our
greatest success was the recognition of our existence. Eight years
were needed for the maturing process of the two nationalities living
next to each other. The effect of this process was the joint defense
of the province from liquidation (ed.: by the 1998 administration
reform). I think that what happened in the Opole Silesia is an example
of mutually advantageous cooperation of Poles and Germans," PAP quoted
TSKN Chairman Henryk Kroll as saying.

In the 1998 local elections, the TKSN won some 600 seats on communal
councils. The TSKN has a majority in 31 communal councils and five
district councils.

Copyright (c) 2000. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report is prepared by Jan
Maksymiuk on the basis of a variety of sources including reporting by
"RFE/RL Newsline" and RFE/RL's broadcast services. It is distributed
every Tuesday.
Direct comments to Jan Maksymiuk at maksymiukj@rferl.org. For
information on subscriptions or reprints, contact Paul Goble in
Washington at (202) 457-6947 or at goblep@rferl.org. Back issues are
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