Dr. Maria Skóra


Maria Skóra was Head of Programme International Dialogue at Das Progressive Zentrum. She is also actively involved in the Progressive Governance (#PGS) event series. She holds a master’s degree in Sociology and a PhD in economics. 2018 Alumna of Young Leaders Program of Aspen Institute Central Europe in Prague. 2019 Visiting Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and AICGS, Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC. She formerly worked for the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, Berlin and supported the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions as an expert. Earlier, she was also involved in the activities of the United Nations Development Programme Project Office in Warsaw.

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 February 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.