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NRW and Silesia strengthened ties

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In the picture far left, Marshall Jakub Chełstowski and far right Dr. Holthoff-Pförtner – Picture by Tomasz Żak, UMWS.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020, Katowice, Silesia, Republic of Poland: North Rhine-Westphalia’s Dr. Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner, Minister for Federal, European and International Affairs, travelled to Poland to mark the 20th anniversary of the partnership between North Rhine-Westphalia and Silesia and to partake in a dialogue on the rule of law and European values. 

During meetings with Jakub Chełstowski, Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship, and representatives from politics, culture, science, business and civil society in Katowice, the Minister thanked all those involved who contribute to the success of the partnership: “Our lively and active relationship thrives on the commitment of a wide range of actors. Political dialogue alone does not make a partnership. Municipalities, associations, schools, experts, artists and many others fill our cooperation with life”. 

With a view to the 30th anniversary of German Unity on 3 October 2020, the Minister underlined Poland’s great contribution to the fall of the Iron Curtain: “Poland’s struggle for freedom, from the founding of the trade union ‘Solidarność’ in 1980 to the Round Table in 1989, made German reunification and the enlargement of the European Union possible in the first place. We have every reason to be grateful to Poland.

The friendship between Silesia and North Rhine-Westphalia ties in with this common historical heritage, among other things. This heritage gives rise to a shared responsibility for the future of Europe”. To deepen cooperation with Silesia and dialogue, the Minister metin Katowice the Mayor Marcin Krupa, the Evangelical Bishop of Katowice diocese Marian Niemiec and the former judge and rule of law activist Jarosław Gwizdak.

The minister: “A sign of our close and diverse partnership is to openly address issues such as the rule of law and tolerance, with government representatives, opposition representatives and civil society actors. For Germany, Europe is a community of values, which is why we are committed to a common understanding of the rule of law”. In Krakow, Minister Holthoff-Pförtner continued this exchange with the former Polish Minister of Justice Prof. Zbigniew Ćwiąkalski and with the Deputy Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship Tomasz UrynowiczNRW and Silesia 
North Rhine-Westphalia has for many years worked closely with the Silesia region and the French region of Hauts-de-France within the regional Weimar Triangle. 

Silesia, with its capital Katowice, is one of the 16 voivodships of the Republic of Poland and has about the same population as the Ruhr area. The region lies in the south of Poland and borders on the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Among Poland’s regions, Silesia has the highest population density and the highest degree of urbanisation. At the same time, it is the most industrialised part of Poland (Silesia accounts for 17 percent of Poland’s industrial production) in the sectors of coal mining, iron and heavy metal works, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and the automotive industry.

For further information:
Government of North Rhine-Westphalia:
Silesian Voivodeship:

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