Energy Infrastructure / Innovations pgnig 26 June, 2024 7:35 am   

Jakóbik: Should Poland welcome the female version of chancellor Schroeder?

Manuela-Schwesig-i-Wolodymyr-Zelenski-twitter Manuela Schwesig and Volodymyr Zelensky. Picture by Twitter.

Manuela Schwesig’s visit to Kyiv sets an important precedent for Warsaw. If this female version of Schroeder were to visit Poland, she should seek derusification of the country’s energy sector, with the Schwedt refinery leading the way – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief at

  • Manuela Schwesig visited Kyiv and met with the Prime Minister of Ukraine and the mayor of Kyiv
  • Schwesig’s warm welcome in Ukraine sets a precedent for Warsaw, which has so far refused a visit from the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
  • If Schwesig were to be accepted in Poland, she would have to confirm her new anti-Russian policy by seeking the derusification of the Schwedt refinery and other forms of Polish-German cooperation to cut off Russian influence.

“Ukraine must win the war and Russia cannot get away with this aggression,” said Mecklenburg – Vorpommern Prime Minister Maunela Schwesig on her way to Kyiv. Schwesig has been the president of the Bundesrat since November 1, 2023. She was directly involved in defending the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project from Russia to Germany against US sanctions. As the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern she established the Stiftung Klimaschutz, which was officially supposed to deal with nature conservation, but actually completed the construction of Nord Stream 2 with the help of the chartered Blue Ship and thus protected the pipe from US sanctions, which could not include entities associated with allied governments, like the land foundation created by Schwesig.

Now, however, Schwesig is trying to change her image, going further than chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is her party colleague from the SPD. So far, Scholz has said that Ukraine cannot lose the war, and Schwesig is talking about victory. She was warmly welcomed in Kyiv by Prime Minister Denis Schmyhal and mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko. They thanked her for the expression of solidarity and the last Ukraine Recovery Conference 2024 organized in Berlin, which was also attended by Schwesig. Schwesig’s visit to Kyiv is a challenge for Warsaw. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s Prime Minister has hitherto been treated as persona non grata – rightly so – because of her involvement in the Nord Stream 2 project, which, once launched, would allow gas deliveries to Germany to bypass Ukraine and facilitate the use of this fuel as a political weapon during the energy crisis. However, Kyiv breaking the taboo, which is the obvious reference point of international relations after the Russian invasion, may prompt Poles to treat Schwesig, whom I myself call Schroeder in a skirt, differently.

The Polish Senate cancelled Schwesig’s visit in January 2024 due to her pro-Russian past. If the visit were ever to take place, the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern should offer a similar change of tone as she demonstrated in Kyiv. Schwesig calls on East Germans to support Ukraine, which does not have much public support there. She should therefore also call for the derusification of the Schwedt refinery (located in the nearby Brandenburg) and the cancellation of Berlin’s trusteeship over Rosneft’s 54 percent of shares in this strategic oil processing plant to end the stalemate. If Schwesig were to visit Poland, she should also be expected to declare cooperation in the gas and oil sector with the use of Polish infrastructure for the needs of East Germany: the naftoport in Gdańsk, the LNG terminal, and the hydrogen pipeline project that is being analyzed by operators of countries from Germany to Finland.