Today, the Federal Minister for the Environment and Consumer Protection, Steffi Lemke, met her Polish counterpart, Environment Minister Anna Moskwa. Various topics of environmental protection and nature conservation were on the agenda, including controversial issues such as the nuclear power plants planned by the Polish government. The ministers also agreed to resume the work of the Programme Council of the Lower Oder Valley International Park. The Council is intended as a platform for discussing important and sometimes controversial issues regarding the protection of the Oder river. Afterwards, Steffi Lemke had the opportunity to meet her counterpart in the field of consumer protection, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Tomasz Chróstny.
Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment and Consumer Protection: "Poland and Germany look back on three decades of successful cooperation in environmental policy. Naturally, there have been and always will be topics on which we disagree or where we have different goals. To me, it is important to always continue our dialogue, also regarding the issue of a better conservation of the Oder. Only this will enable us to find good solutions for both countries. Fortunately, Poland and Germany cooperate within robust and proven structures. Time and again, the German-Polish Environment Council has demonstrated its importance as a platform for cooperation. We will meet again at the next session of the German-Polish Environment Council before the end of this year. If we want to achieve ambitious environmental objectives in Germany and in Europe, consumer protection must also play an active part. This is why I look forward to good cooperation with my Polish colleagues."
Environmental impacts do not stop at borders. This is why a coordinated approach is crucial in border regions. More than 30 years ago, in 1991, the German-Polish Environment Council was formed in parallel with the signing of the German-Polish Neighbourhood Treaty. The Council provides a good foundation for tackling the upcoming challenges of environmental protection in Europe together as neighbours. The German-Polish Environment Council meets annually at ministerial level with the participation of the German Federal States, Polish voivodeships and civil society. Today, the two ministers agreed to hold the next German Polish Environment Council on 11 and 12 July 2022 in Germany.
On 11 December 1992, by decision of the German-Polish Environment Council, the International Park Lower Oder Valley was created as a transboundary nature reserve. To facilitate cross-border coordination regarding development of the protected area, a special body was created – the German-Polish Programme Council. The Council has not met regularly of late. The ministers agreed to hold a meeting in Poland this year to intensify the exchange on the protection of the Oder valley.
After her meeting in the Polish Environment Ministry, Steffi Lemke, in her capacity as Minister for Consumer Protection, met her Polish counterpart for this area. As President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Tomasz Chróstny has far-reaching powers when it comes to consumer protection. He has the right, for example, to issue decrees, impose fines and warn the public against harmful practices. The German Environment Minister then visited the Ringelblum Archive in the Jewish Historical Institute. The documents displayed in the collection provide striking record of the reality of life and the suffering of the Jewish population in Warsaw and throughout Poland under Nazi occupation. .