Warsaw – Poland wants to get back 368 hectares of land from the Czech Republic, over which the dispute has been going since the 1950s. The Polish daily Rzeczpospolita writes about it. According to him, the Polish conservative ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) takes the matter seriously and hopes that the government of Petr Fiala will see the matter through. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský briefly discussed the topic of territorial debt today with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ČTK. The department’s lawyers are analyzing the matter.
Already in March 2021, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reminded his then Czech counterpart Andrej Babiš of the debt at the border. However, the answer was “general and evasive”, writes the Polish newspaper. Now PiS MP Jarosław Krajewski intervened in the matter, who in a letter to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior recalled the Czech debt to Poland from 1958, when the borders between Poland and Czechoslovakia were adjusted on the basis of an international treaty. Czechoslovakia acquired 1205.90 hectares of land and Poland 837.46 hectares. The subject of the dispute is the difference to Poland’s disadvantage, i.e. 368.44 hectares.
“I regret to state that the Czech Republic has not yet compensated the Republic of Poland for this unauthorized territorial surplus,” Krajewski wrote in the letter.
Rzeczpospolita writes that the Czech authorities have undertaken to draw up an inventory of land intended for transfer to Poland. In 2014, such a land inventory was even created, but the Czechs retreated from it. Already in 1992, a Polish-Czech commission was established to deal with the case. In 2005, the Czech government offered financial compensation to Poland, but it was rejected.
Rzeczpospolita emphasizes that PiS takes the matter seriously. The party is said to hope that the matter will be brought to an end because the conservative government of Petr Fiala has taken over power in the Czech Republic, with which it has already managed to negotiate, among other things, an agreement on the power plant in Turów.
“Today, Minister Lipavský briefly addressed the topic of territorial debt with Polish Minister Rau during their meeting before the opening of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum. Our lawyers are analyzing this matter and we will return to the issue during further negotiations with the Polish side,” Mariana Wernerová from the press department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to ČTK .
MEP from the People’s Party and former mayor of Těšín, Poland Jan Olbrycht criticized PiS for choosing an inappropriate time to resolve the dispute. “Without questioning who is right and what we deserve, I believe that at a time when Europe and the world have found themselves as a result of Russia’s war with Ukraine, it is not good to solve controversial issues with our neighbors,” the politician emphasized in an interview with the Polish a diary. Krajewski countered that there would never be a suitable time to make claims and that Poland could not “wait another 200 years” for the transfer.
Even after the Second World War, Poland tried to raise territorial claims that concerned Těšínsk, Orava and Spiš. At the instigation of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, it finally agreed to establish the current border in a treaty. However, it set a condition that the border line must be straightened and shortened as much as possible. Under the 1958 treaty, the border was straightened, shortening it by 80 kilometers. 85 major and minor changes in the course of the boundary line were associated with this. When the territorial gains and losses of both states were compared, it turned out that the former Czechoslovakia was left with roughly 368 hectares. The then foreign ministers Jiří Dienstbier and Krzysztof Skubiszewski agreed to settle the claims in 1992.
In the past, representatives of the Czech Ministry of the Interior informed that the plots of land selected for compensation are located in the Králové Hradec Králové, Liberec, Moravian-Silesian, Olomouc and Pardubice regions.
“The Polish side will consistently strive for this issue to be the subject of further negotiations with the Czech side for the purpose of agreeing on the list of lands and the subsequent negotiation of an international agreement that would form the legal basis for the transfer of lands to the Republic of Poland,” said the Deputy Polish Minister, according to the Polish newspaper abroad Piotr Wawrzyk. He emphasized that the Czech authorities do not dispute the Polish claim, and therefore the “lack of concrete steps from the Czech side is incomprehensible”. However, Wawrzyk pointed out that critical voices are being heard from among Czech deputies, and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is therefore counting on the help of the Polish Sejm.
Poland diplomacy land