German-Polish bilateral relations are based on three main pillars: civil society cooperation, economy, and political dialogue. Proud of the accomplishments made during his mandate in the past three years, Rolf Nikel, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Poland, discusses the political and economic cooperation between the two countries.
European Times: How would you describe the relations between Germany and Poland?
Rolf Nikel: The reconciliation process between our countries after World War II has enabled us to establish good relations. Last year was the 25th Anniversary of the Neighbourhood treaty of 1991, through which our governments and the civil society managed to reinforce the cooperation and establish a very strong relationship on many levels. As NATO and EU members, we have a strong, open and friendly dialogue regarding all the issues on the agenda, specifically the future of the EU after Brexit.
European Times: Could you elaborate on the economic cooperation and the bilateral trade?
Rolf Nikel: Germany is Poland’s biggest trade partner. With more than €28 billion German direct investments, Poland is a strategic commercial and economic partner for Germany. There is significant potential in the Polish economy, and I believe that the Vice Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s plan is good for the economic development of the country and for improvement of the economic relationship. As a member of the EU, Poland has an annual net influx of €10 billion, to which Germany contributes around 20%.
With good macroeconomic conditions and a trade turnover exceeding €100 billion in 2016, I am confident that the economic cooperation will continue to prosper and that the figures will grow. Politically speaking, more trade and investments, as fundamental pillars of cooperation, bring a closer bilateral relationship.
European Times: Which sectors are interesting for German investors?
Rolf Nikel: The piling up of investments from numerous companies, including global entities like Mercedes and Volkswagen, shows that Poland is competitive as a country, which is mainly due to the highly educated and qualified people, the good infrastructure, the competitive wages, and the vicinity to Germany which provides easy access for investors.
Volkswagen has been very active in Poland, opening a new plant in Wrzesnia which brought 3,000 jobs. Mercedes Benz recently decided to invest in a plant in Jawor, in the Lower Silesia region. Furthermore, we have BASF, Lufthansa etc., as well as many smaller companies. We also have numerous Polish companies investing in Germany; it is a two-way street.This year, Poland will be a partner country of the Hannover Fair, the biggest industrial fair in the world. It is an excellent opportunity for Poland’s promotion and it will further intensify the bilateral relationship between our countries.
European Times: Why should potential investors choose Poland?
Rolf Nikel: Poland is a very dynamic country, with skilled workforce, good infrastructure, and great potential of its scientific and research institutions, factors that create positive framework conditions for developing businesses and increasing economic intertwining.