And why do they have the biggest pull?
Why>? Money! You ask the wrong question here. It doesn't matter why Germany has the biggest influence. What matters is the way Germany uses it.
We talk not only about Germany but the EU. It looks like the EU is doing Germany's and France's bidding.
So if the EU is a way those countries facilitate their interests and their influence it cannot be a project where the United European States emarge.
That is clear.
Also, you talk about alliances and building connections. Yes during the cold war while Germany grew economically and build upon its alliances. connections, and common interest. Poland was a Soviet puppet.
To take Germanys place or to be on an equal footing it would need a lot of time and help. The thing is why would Germany or another country helped to build up its competition, They can help to the point where their interest say they should and not a step more.
What you are implying is a typical catch 22.
I think it is high time for Poland to get out of the EU.
Poland is notoriously excruciatingly bad with!
Well, they should put me in charge! Also, I would think that DDR left to its own devices would do much better, I say it would do much worse than Poland.