“Poland to the EU: Count in the war dead,” reads a recent typical newspaper headline in Germany. Germany reacted calmly to Polish demands that World War Two casualties should influence EU vote re-calculations. Warsaw has insisted that if the Germans had not killed so many people, today Poland would have a much larger population.
Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczinski said this week: “We are only demanding one thing: that we get back what was taken from us.” Now he says he does not remember saying that without Hitler’s invasion Poland would have had 66 million citizens today instead of 38 million.
Meanwhile in Brussels, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany was adamant that any agreement on the issue should not be seen as “some sort of historical compensation”. The German conservative president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering gave a muted response: “I am very sad about remarks concerning the European history which we heard from Warsaw. I am very sad about this.”