The new German ambassador for the rule of law: a case between the EU and the government in Warsaw

  • Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven became the new ambassador after a long trial, during which the Polish side did not want to issue agrément – official consent to take a diplomatic position in the country
  • According to media reports, the PiS authorities were concerned about the family history of a candidate whose father, as a staff adjutant, was preparing reports for Adolf Hitler at the end of World War II.
  • According to the ambassador, Germany recognizes the threat that Russia currently poses to world peace, and Poland is forced to maintain strong ties with the USA
  • The diplomat also referred to the rule of law in Poland. – This is a matter between the EU and the government in Warsaw – he comments

Delayed agrément ambassador: I did not receive any substantive justification

– It is a real honor for me to be an ambassador to this wonderful country. Poland and Germany have a lot in common. As important partners at the heart of the Union, we have a challenging agenda ahead of us. I approach my mission here with enthusiasm and look forward to cooperation, assured the new German ambassador to Poland in an interview with Rzeczpospolita. However, as he emphasized, he never received a substantive justification for the decision to delay his agrément. – I can only rely on the media debate in Poland – admitted the ambassador.

Berlin submitted von Loringhoven’s candidacy in May, but Poland for over three months did not grant him the so-called agrément, i.e. the consent of the host country to the arrival of the ambassador. Although issuing agrément is a sovereign decision of each state, such a long delay is almost an unprecedented practice in the world of diplomacy, especially between countries with such close relations as Poland and Germany.

Doubts about the new ambassador were to be raised by his past. The father of the diplomat, Bernd von Freytag-Loringhoven, served in the Wehrmacht during World War II, and at the end of World War II, he was an adjutant to the next chiefs of the general staff of the Third Reich. In April 1945, he personally prepared reports for Adolf Hitler, locked in a Berlin bunker, and was one of the last people to meet with the Nazi dictator

Von Loringhoven: I don’t want to judge my father

As the diplomat emphasizes, he has no intention of condemning or justifying his father’s behavior. – Who can say how we would behave in a totalitarian dictatorship? It was a generation brought up in the spirit of Prussian militarism, used to absolute obedience. He never supported Nazism, but at the same time was convinced that it was his duty to fight for his country, even if this war was criminal from the first day – argues von Loringhoven.

The father of the new German ambassador to Poland, at the end of the war, found himself in Hitler’s bunker and once spoke to the dictator. – My father devised a fictional mission for himself to leave the bunker and avoid certain death. The condition for this was the consent of Hitler. The risk was enormous, because my father was convinced that Hitler would see through his plan and consider him a defector. Amazing, but Hitler swallowed the hook, even advised him how to confuse the Russian vigilance – he says.

Von Loringhoven wants to make young Germans aware of the crimes of World War II

As Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven emphasizes, experience and expert knowledge are the factors that determine the nomination to the position of ambassador. He was already an ambassador to the Czech Republic and acted as an assistant secretary general of NATO, where, as he notes, “he maintained very close cooperation with the Polish services”.

The diplomat also stressed the importance of the past in shaping the current relations of both countries. – As a diplomat and historian, I know how decisive the past is for today’s Polish-German relations. I believe that Poland’s expectation of respecting the special historical sensitivity of a country so experienced by suffering is very justified, he said in an interview with Rzeczpospolita.

– That is why I have set myself the goal of deepening in Germany – especially among our young people – the knowledge of what the Germans did in Poland between 1939 and 1945. This is a great challenge that we face, he emphasized.

About relations with Russia and the USA

“The German government has always stressed that this is a business project with political implications,” said the diplomat. He stressed that support for this project was questionable due to recent events related to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. – Chancellor Merkel condemned the attempt to kill the leader of the Russian opposition in the strongest words and called on the Russian authorities to explain what happened immediately – stressed von Loringhoven.

According to the ambassador, the world should pay more attention to what Moscow is doing: “We see how Russia’s behavior is evolving in a dangerous direction,” he emphasizes. – The threat posed by Russia goes far beyond its immediate neighborhood: for example, in a clash in cyberspace, geography does not matter. The Navalny case shows that Russia uses combat gases that are banned under the conventions Moscow has acceded to, he says in an interview with Rzeczpospolita.

Ambassador on the Polish rule of law

When asked for his opinion on whether he perceives the authorities in Warsaw as nationalist, von Loringhoven replies that he does not, because nationalism, in his understanding, means an anti-European policy. – Polish authorities are by no means anti-European, let alone Polish society – he argues.

When asked about the rule of law, he replies that “this is a matter between the EU and the government in Warsaw.” – However, the issue of respecting fundamental values ​​concerns us all. (…) The rule of law is the foundation on which integration is built, it binds the Community together and makes practical cooperation possible at all – she adds.

As he noted, the German government is closely following the preparations for the media distraction. – We expect that each change will be in line with European law, the principle of non-discrimination, and will preserve media pluralism and freedom in Poland, emphasizes Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven.

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