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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland
  • NEWS

  • 17 November 2017

    “Over the past two years, Polish diplomacy has sought to define our national interests. We have succeeded,” said Polish foreign policy chief Witold Waszczykowski during today’s press conference at the MFA headquarters.

    During his speech, the minister took stock of foreign policy goals and tenets that the foreign ministry has been implementing for the last two years.  

    • Security of Poland and the region and strategic dialogue with the US 


    “The programme that we have been carrying out focuses on reinforcing the security of Poland and all of the eastern flank,” stressed the Polish top diplomat. He recalled that following the 2016 Warsaw NATO Summit decisions, Poland hosts a battalion combat group, a US armoured combat brigade team and air logistics unit in Powidz, while the Redzikowo US missile defence facility is under construction. “A dream of generations of Poles has come true, to see Poland protected by the most powerful global alliance,” he stressed. 


    The minister also recalled that Poland is not only a consumer, but also a supplier of security. “We are engaged in many NATO initiatives. We are part of the battalion group in Latvia, we participate in the Global Coalition Against Daesh, we are returning to the UN peacekeeping operations. Our allies welcome all these measures,” he said. 


    The minister said that another success of Polish foreign policy is this year’s Warsaw visit of US President Donald Trump and intensive cooperation for the sake of Poland’s energy security. 


    Empowerment of Poland’s European policy


    “Delivering on our declarations, we have been reinforcing our country’s empowered European policy,” said Minister Waszczykowski speaking about the MFA’s European policy. “We call for a greater role of national governments and parliaments in the EU decision-making process,” he observed. He also recalled that it is our part of Europe, including Warsaw, that calls for maintaining the EU’s unity, strengthening the four freedoms, and upholding and developing the single market. The foreign minister emphasized that major EU decisions, such as the European Council’s Rome Declaration, accommodated the Polish standpoint. 


    The MFA head highlighted the fact that Poland has largely contributed to reaching an EU-NATO agreement at the Warsaw summit. “The EU-NATO cooperation led to launching the PESCO Permanent Structured Cooperation on Monday, which can be a useful tool to build EU armed forces,” he added. 


    The main goal of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework review process has been reached: sustaining the level of spending on cohesion and agricultural policy. The minister also noted that the European Union has to a large degree agreed with Poland on mandatory migrant relocation.  


    The Polish top diplomat said that economic cooperation with EU states is growing fast, specifically with Germany, which remains our main economic partner. “We continue to have close political and economic cooperation with France,” emphasized Witold Waszczykowski and announced a forthcoming Paris visit of Prime Minister Beata Szydło. The minister also recalled that Poland continues its close cooperation with the UK, also within the Quadriga security policy format. He went on to say that “Poland is an active player that contributed to developing the guidelines on Brexit negotiations.”


    “We are also involved in EU actions to combat propaganda and disinformation, in particular Russia-sponsored disinformation,” Minister Waszczykowski told the press conference. 


    Central and Eastern Europe’s regional solidarity 


    “We have managed to rebuild and deepen our regional cooperation. Most of all, Polish diplomacy has returned to the traditional Visegrad Group format, but it has also created new initiatives,” stressed the minister and mentioned in this context the so-called Three Seas Initiative, Bucharest Nine, and Poland-Romania-Turkey Triangle. He also emphasized that our active presidency of the Visegrad Group helped strengthen Poland’s and the region’s position in Europe. “The Visegrad Group has great ambitions to work together with the Eastern Partnership, the Balkan states aspiring to EU membership, and the Baltic Sea states,” he added.

     

    • Increasing Poland’s global presence 


    “We have been working to increase our global presence,” emphasised the chief of Polish diplomacy, recalling major international events co-hosted by the ministry of foreign affairs over the past two years, including World Youth Day accompanied by the Holy Father’s visit to Krakow, the NATO summit in Warsaw, and the 41st session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. Minister Waszczykowski observed that stable legal conditions have been established for international organisations and agencies to operate in Poland, among others the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX). 


    “Thanks to a robust campaign by the Polish President and, first of all, this government, we have been elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2018-2019,” recalled Minister Waszczykowski, and said he believes that it is an essential leverage tool of Polish diplomacy for the next two years to come. 


    The MFA head underlined that Poland has been rebuilding its physical presence worldwide. “We have opened embassies in Senegal, Tanzania, and Panama. Consulates are being opened in Houston, Texas, and Belfast,” said the foreign minister. He went on to say that diplomatic presence was restored in Bagdad and the embassy in Damascus reopened, with another one planned in the Republic of the Philippines.


    The chief of Polish diplomacy also noted that humanitarian policy is being constantly expanded. He recalled that in 2016 Poland increased fourfold the volume of its humanitarian assistance.


    Active eastern policy 


    When taking stock of the MFA’s eastern policy, Minister Waszczykowski said that Poland has been successfully seeking to consolidate the sanctions policy within the EU and to strengthen the Eastern flank within NATO, in the face of Russia’s flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of international law. Our assessment of the situation in the East has been broadly accepted by both the EU and NATO,” he said.


    Commenting on Polish-Ukrainian relations, the chief of Polish diplomacy stressed that we offer Ukraine far-reaching help, but not without conditions. “We have been assisting Ukraine in the political, diplomatic, military, and economic dimensions, as well as in political transition. But we insist on respecting historical truth and cultural heritage,” he said. Speaking about relations with Belarus, the minister said that after the EU lifted sanctions that had been imposed against that country, Poland has been catching up on a backlog of treaty and technical issues in a number of areas in bilateral relations.


    In the minister’s view, Poland breathed new life into the Eastern Partnership project as focused on transport, infrastructure, energy and digital projects. He went on to recall his joint Polish-Swedish visit to Georgia and an earlier visit to the South Caucasus. “I had the opportunity to discuss bilateral issues and those countries’ problems, representing the Founding Fathers of the Eastern Partnership,” he stressed. 


    Relations with non-European countries


    The ministers recalled that Poland has strengthened its strategic partnership with Asian countries, in particular with China, as well as Japan and the Republic of Korea. The foreign ministry has also been consolidating relations with non-European countries, notably with those of ASEAN, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.


    “We are open to contacts with both the world’s largest and smaller countries,” emphasised the MFA head.  

     

     

    • Promoting Poland abroad and contacts with Polish communities and Poles across the world 


      Summing up the ministry’s efforts to protect the good image of Poland, Minister Waszczykowski said that Poland has now a more effective system of promotion abroad, mentioning as a good case in point the effective communication through the Poland.pl website and the content at www.Thenews.pl. 


      Referring to Polish diaspora-related matters, the minister underlined that meetings with Poles and Polish communities abroad are a regular item on the agenda of all foreign visits. “We have also amended the Pole’s Card law, to be able to take in greater numbers of repatriates,” he added.


      Reforming the foreign service 


      Finally, Minister Waszczykowski noted that the MFA has embarked on a project to reform the foreign service, with the aim of, among others, attracting highly specialised experts. He furthermore recalled that the government bill amending the foreign service act was referred for Sejm work in this year’s first quarter. “We are looking forward to the outcome of the legislative process to get equipped with tools for upgrading our service,” he added. 


      MFA Press Office

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