Dr. Maria Skóra


Maria Skóra war Leiterin des Programmbereichs Internationaler Dialog des Progressiven Zentrums. Sie hat einen Masterabschluss in Soziologie und promovierte in Wirtschaftswissenschaften. 2018 Alumna des Young Leaders Program des Aspen Institute Central Europe in Prag. 2019 Visiting Fellow beim German Marshall Fund of the United States und AICGS, Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. Sie arbeitete zuvor für die Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform in Berlin und als Expertin für den Gesamtpolnischen Gewerkschaftsverband in Warschau.

Selected Publications

Maria Skóra, Germany, "Poland and the EU", International Politics and Society (IPG), 12.02.2020

Sophie Pornschlegel, Maria Skóra, "The European Election 2019: A Comparative Outlook at the European Election Campaigns in France, Germany and Poland". Discussion Paper, Das Progressive Zentrum, Berlin 2019

Maria Skóra, "The European Parliament Elections and Beyond". German Marshall Fund, 5.04.2019

Maria Skóra, "EU Dispute with Hungary: What’s Next?". Policy Brief, DPZ, Berlin 2019

Ania Skrzypek, Maria Skóra, "The Future of the Visegrad Group". DPZ/FEPS, Berlin/Brussels 2018

Maria Skóra, "Social and Fiscal Policy in Eastern and Central Europe – Two Sides of One Coin". Discussion Paper, Das Progressive Zentrum, Berlin, 2015



Discussion Paper New Progressive Ostpolitik for Europe 2021 | Dr. Maria Skóra
22. Februar 2021 | Maria Skóra

Inspired by the 50th anniversary of Willy Brandt’s historical gesture in Warsaw, the so-called “Warsaw genuflection”, we reflect upon the principles of his original strategy towards the Eastern Bloc. Which of these principles could guide us today in search of a new progressive Ostpolitik? We recognize that the world has significantly changed: the “Cold War” and the ideological rivalry between Russia and the United States has passed. Today, we live in a far more fragmented political reality, with new challenges, such as cyber warfare. Looking at what is happening inside the EU, just outside of its borders and with regards to a new reality in transatlantic relations, one thing is clear: the need for a new generation of Ostpolitik.
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Key Take-Aways
The complexity of today’s situation should not discourage us from thinking bold. We advocate for “daring more democracy” in shaping Europe’s Eastern policy, both when it comes to defending values as well as engaging more with society. In other words: being ambitious, but not naive. The task is to combine the value-driven approach with progressive pragmatism.
In particular, we call for:

A Value-based Foreign Policy: Contesting malign activities of Putin’s Russia, be it the annexations in Ukraine or Georgia or the support of recent actions by Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus;
Striving for European Unity: organizing and mobilizing the European community around common goals in foreign policy;
Assuming Responsibility in the Neighborhood: Recognizing the EU’s moral duty to revitalize the Eastern Partnership and support the defence of human rights and civil liberties in Eastern Europe;
Normalization through Dialogue: Striving for a principle-based exchange in the countries of Eastern Partnership and Russia on two levels: with political leaders and civil society.

The underlying principle of the new Ostpolitik should be that it is not exclusively a German project but a European initiative, with equal engagement of all member states as well as inclusion of the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood. Eastern policy cannot be developed in a void: it needs to be embedded into the framework of existing alliances and neighbourhood policies and a broader consensus of all EU states is required. The next Ostpolitik must be a European one.
Background: Celebrating 50 Years of the „Kniefall von Warschau“
In 2020, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Willy Brandt’s historical gesture in Warsaw, a symbol of reconciliation and dialogue between the East and the West. This publication draws upon the main arguments and conclusions met during an international roundtable held online, on December 8th, 2020, debating the heritage of Brandt’s Ostpolitik. The event hosted Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the former President of Poland; Kati Piri, MEP and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Max Bergmann, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress and Liana Fix, Head of International Politics, Körber-Stiftung. This paper was inspired by that lively debate.

About the Rapporteur
Maria Skóra, PhD is Head of International Dialogue at Das Progressive Zentrum in charge of international projects, with her own focus on CEE and transatlantic relations. She formerly worked for the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, Berlin, and supported the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions in Warsaw as an expert.

This is a joint publication of

This publication was published with the financial support of the European Parliament. The views presented in this paper do not represent those of the European Parliament but only of the respective authors.

Veranstaltung Invitation: 50 Years “Kniefall von Warschau”
29. November 2020 | Maria Skóra

“Kniefall von Warschau” was a symbolic and historic gesture that occurred during Chancellor Willy Brandt’s visit to Poland in December 1970. At a monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Chancellor Brandt unexpectedly knelt. The trip and that moment was one of the stepping stones towards a new Ostpolitik, aiming at improving relations with the Eastern Bloc while consolidating the West. It significantly contributed to easing geopolitical tensions and has become a blueprint for a paradigm of “change through rapprochement” in foreign policy.
50 years later, we again find ourselves in a turbulent situation. We face the ongoing escalation between the West and Russia. The EU has been struggling with a political crisis, best manifested by the unclear direction of further integration (Brexit) or disputes on shared values (Poland, Hungary). We also seem to lack a smart strategy for an Eastern Partnership, once a flagship foreign policy initiative of the EU. Last but not least, the transatlantic bond weakened by the last four years of the Trump administration demands immediate attention.
With a change of leadership in the US, there is a glimmer of hope that things will change. Inspired by this important anniversary, we want to seek a progressive answer to the challenges we face. What is left of Willy Brandt’s daring and dialogue-based foreign policy today? Do we need a new progressive Ostpolitik?

Please join us for a conversation with:
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the former President of Poland,
Kati Piri, MEP and Vice-Chair, S&D Group/Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Max Bergmann, Senior Fellow/Director of the Moscow Project, Center for American Progress,
Liana Fix, Head of International Politics, Körber-Stiftung,
with an introduction by László Andor, Secretary-General,
Foundation for European Progressive Studies,
on 8 December 2020 at 3:00 pm CET // 9:00 am ET.
The event will take place online. Registration for this event is closed, for late registration please contact

This event is co-hosted by

This event is organized with the financial support of the European Parliament. The views presented in this debate do not represent those of the European Parliament but only of the respective speakers.