– Classic threats have not disappeared. To improve NATO deterrence and defense capabilities, a more efficient Alliance command structure is needed. We also need to create more detailed plans for defense – the defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak stressed at the meeting of the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Warsaw.
The speech of Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, devoted to NATO’s tasks in responding to the challenges faced by the allies, opened the third day of the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in the Polish parliament.
The head of the National Defense Ministry spoke about the development of the Polish Armed Forces and their involvement in counteracting common challenges. – I would like to emphasize that our troops are being prepared to operate in an allied system, in cooperation with other NATO and EU countries. Of course, the priority is to ensure that they will be able to defend the territory of our country. We make sure, however, that they are also ready to defend other countries and carry out tasks outside the treaty area – he stressed. In this context, the Minister pointed out that last year Poland was among the allies who accepted all of NATO’s planning goals.
Minister Mariusz Błaszczak drew attention to the fact that in 2017 Poland managed to provide a solid foundation for the long-term financing of its armed forces. According to the adopted law, our defense expenditures, which now reach the level expected by the alliance of 2 percent of GDP, will continue to grow. The minister underlined that the defense budget in Poland is calculated in accordance with NATO standards, that is in relation to the current year.
Poland a committed ally
The minister presented the current and planned involvement of Polish soldiers in allied military operations. – Poland not only proposes specific actions of the Alliance to strengthen the eastern flank and counts on the broad participation of our allies, but also participates in them – he reminded. The head of the Ministry of National Defense added that we are the host country for the eFP battle group and the Multinational Division North-East; we issue significant contributions to the eFP battle group in Latvia and tFP in Romania; and we will also be a framework state for the so-called NATO spearhead (VJTF) in 2020.
– We support our eastern partners, in particular Ukraine and Georgia. We belong to the group of key allies supporting defense reform within the Advisory Council at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. This is also served by the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Ostrogski Brigade, with the command in Lublin. We are the leader of allied actions in Georgia in the field of special forces and military police – he stressed.
Minister Mariusz Blaszczak pointed out that Polish soldiers also serve away from our borders
– We continue to engage in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan; we support the Global Coalition against the so-called islamic state in Operation Inherent Resolve, designating our F-16 aircraft for reconnaissance operations and training contingent from special forces; we were involved in NATO activities in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Last year, we also took on the leading role in training of Iraqi forces in the modernization of post-Soviet equipment. We also intend to delegate officers to the hub for the South in Naples – said the head of the Defense Ministry.
Poland wants to strengthen NATO-EU cooperation
Referring to the cooperation of the North Atlantic Alliance with the European Union, the minister expressed the opinion that it becomes particularly important in connection with the establishment in 2017 of the mechanism of permanent defense cooperation with the EU – PESCO.
– Poland believes that this initiative will meet the hopes placed in it. We want to look for opportunities to engage in eight of the 17 existing PESCO projects. However, PESCO should be complementary to the activities undertaken by NATO, it is extremely important – he stressed and added that the cooperation of both organizations should serve to ensure that this happened.
Several hundred parliamentarians from NATO countries, as well as representatives of associated countries and observers, have been meeting from Friday 25 May in the Parliament and the Senate. The presence of 260 representatives from 29 allied countries, delegates from 16 associated countries and 8 delegations of observers is symbolic and promotes Poland’s activity, our contribution to allied efforts and international engagement, in the NATO forum.
Minister Mariusz Błaszczak pointed out at the meeting of the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly that parliamentarians play an important and practical role in the process of strengthening NATO, among others by supporting defense efforts with specific legislative solutions on the national level.
– Achieving the agreement at the national level will always be easier, the deeper and more intense will be the parliamentary debate at the international level among the NATO and the EU allies – said the minister.
During the meeting of the commission, detailed information on “Polish Armed Forces – tasks and development” was presented by the Major General Adam Joks, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army. The Minister of National Defense also took part in a panel discussion of the Defense and Security Committee, answering questions from parliamentarians.
Source: Ministry of National Defence