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06-21-07, 12:39 PM #1
Poland blames Germany for reduced population.
We'd have more power in EU if Germans hadn't 'reduced our population' in World War II, says Polish PM
The Polish PM has stunned European leaders today with an astonishing attack on Germany for starting the Second World War.
In a spectacularly undiplomatic outburst, he said his country was losing out in today's European Union as a direct result of the millions of deaths that followed its invasion by Germany in 1939.
"We are only demanding one thing - that we get back what was taken from us," said Jaroslaw Kaczynski at the opening of the EU summit in Brussels, chaired by German chancellor Angela Merkel.
"If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million."
The issue of population is at the heart of a heated row over voting rights that could wreck Tony Blair's last EU summit.
A proposed new system of sharing out votes rewards countries such as Germany with the biggest numbers - and Poland is angrily demanding more.
Poland's population is 38 million - implying that Mr Kaczynski blames the Germans for the loss of 28 million people.
German tanks roll into Poland in the Second World War
Mr Kaczynski and his twin brother Lech, Poland's president, are said to be Second World War obsessives, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of their country's sufferings under occupation.
The identical twins, whose father fought in the 1944 Warsaw uprising, have become infamous for their unrestrained comments and dislike of EU integration.
Luxembourg's premier, Jean-Claude Juncker, said they should stop living in the past. "You have to jump into the present," he told FT Deutschland. "You will not be happy in the long run if you are always looking in the rear-view mirror." It sets the scene for a rancorous dinner tonight when leaders of the 27 EU states need to thrash out a series of disputes to avoid a crisis.
Mr Blair, notching up his 47th EU summit, told his Cabinet in London that he was prepared to walk away from the table unless his own demands were met in full. (Yeah right!)
Mr Blair came under fire for trying to water down the EU's "son of constitutionÓ treaty. Mr Juncker a veteran federalist, fumed: "We will not stand by and see all the substance removed from the treaty."
New French president Nicolas Sarkozy said there were multiple disputes. "We don't just have problems with Poland," he said. "We have problems with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, a little bit with the Czech Republic. The problems are numerous."
How Poland suffered
After the Second World War Poland emerged around 20 per cent smaller with the borders being shifted westwards.
The changes to the size of the country led to millions of people seeking new homes abroad.
Over half a million fighting men and women, and six million civilians (22 per cent of the total population) died during the war.
Up to 1.5 million people died in Auschwitz, in southern Poland, the largest of the concentration camps.
The People's Republic of Poland was officially proclaimed in 1952 after a shift towards Stalinism following the war which led to years of totalitarian rule.
France has a problem with us?Never approach a bull by the front, a horse from behind, or an idiot from any direction.
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