Financial TimesFinancial Times

Poland and Germany: the feud at the heart of Europe

By Laura Pitel and Raphael Minder

02 May 2023 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

German-Polish relations are critical to Europe's stability. But ties between the two nations are at a post-Cold War low, threatening the unity of the Western alliance. The FT reports.

On a windswept field in eastern Poland, a contingent of German soldiers has been operating Patriot missile defence systems since January. It forms the most significant German military presence in Poland since the second world war.

The Germans are part of Nato’s efforts to bolster its eastern flank and help Ukraine fight Russia, but their presence is also testing a German-Polish relationship that many consider to be at its worst since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, their deployment was preceded by political feuding, with Berlin rejecting a Polish request for its Patriots to be installed in Ukraine rather than Poland.

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