• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



  • Poland is ready to work with Italy within the EU and NATO to solve conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa that generate "either migration waves or terrorism," Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said after Wednesday's meeting with his Italian counterpart Angelo Alfano.


    At a press conference at the Palace on the Island in Warsaw's Łazienki Park following his meeting with Alfano, Waszczykowski stressed that the agenda of their discussions was "very extensive".


    Within this context, he mentioned bilateral and European issues, including Brexit and the future of the EU after Brexit.


    He said that another important subject of the talks was the issue of migration, which is important both for Italy and for Poland.


    "We explained to each other that migration waves from the south are just as important as migration waves from the east, which are of significance to our country," he said.  


    "We also talked about other dangers both from the south and the east: from the south there is a wave of terrorism, in the east there is the unresolved Russian-Ukrainian conflict," the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.


    He pointed out that Rome and Warsaw are ready to "work together to solve these conflicts."


    "Poland and Italy are states that are in the EU as well as NATO and both institutions are responding to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict – including through sanctions, and by reinforcing the deployment of NATO allies in the Eastern Flank," Waszczykowski added.


    He said that Poland is also ready to "cooperate with Italy within the EU and NATO to secure the southern flank of Europe, strengthen the European borders from the south" and "participate in various military and political operations."


    The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that Poland would help "resolve conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa," that generate "either migration waves or terrorism”.


    Alfano also spoke about accelerating Polish-Italian relations. The Italian Foreign Minister voiced his conviction that his Wednesday visit would be a sign of such acceleration.


    Alfano pointed out that he and Waszczykowski agreed to work to strengthen economic and industrial cooperation.


    He said that Italian presence is "not only strengthening in Poland it is also diversifying".


    He added that the expansion of Italian participation in the Polish economy is taking place in both traditional sectors such as the automotive industry, household appliances, agro-food industry as well as new sectors, such as the service sector.


    Alfanso went on to say that the topics of his talks with the head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also touched on the situation in Syria and the Mediterranean, and included "very delicate issues, such as the common European border guard".


    Journalists asked both ministers about the possibility of compromise between reforming the EU in the spirit of a "multi-speed Europe" – among whose supporters is Italy – and Poland's demand for the unity of the EU.


    Waszczykowski pointed out that "we have a paradoxical situation in Europe, in that appeals for the unity of Europe now come most often from our part of Europe."


    "We will do all we can to preserve this unity for as long as possible," he declared.


    The minister said that it is good that the jubilee Declaration of Rome was based more in line with the Visegrad Declaration, which emphasized the desire to maintain the unity of the EU, rather than the Declaration of Versailles, in which the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain favoured the vision of an EU of different speeds.


    According to Waszczykowski there are many areas where European unity can be maintained.


    First of all, he said, "one such area is security and defence cooperation."


    “Here not much divides us, on the contrary, there is more that connects us. Also the concept of maintaining the common market, this backbone of the EU is widely shared throughout Europe,” the head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs added.


    He said that Poland and Italy also agree that an area that connects them could be the EU's foreign policy, including “similar views” of both countries regarding transatlantic relations.


    He noted that in other countries in Western Europe, there are other concepts of reforming the EU, based on, amongst other things, the monetary union.


    The Polish minister said however that it is not known whether they will gain the support of all countries.


    "Also in the euro zone, seeking the strengthening of this zone, the creation of a budget for the creation of a euro zone institution is not unequivocally shared by all, because it is a very costly solution and not all euro zone countries approve," Waszczykowski said.


    Alfano agreed that the Rome Declaration, adopted by the member states in March, represents "an important path towards the Union, which is based on what connected us, not on what divides us".


    "The most important pillars are common ones," stressed the Italian minister.


    He mentioned, among other things, security, the common market and Euro-Atlantic relations.


    "We want a Europe that is aware of its role in the world and in Europe, where there is more prosperity and more security for citizens," the Italian Foreign Minister said.


    Alfano was asked by one of Italian journalists whether the Italians should worry that Poland is the biggest beneficiary of European funds, has its own currency that it can arbitrarily shape, and thus we already have a Europe of different speeds.


    The journalist also pointed out that many students after graduating from universities in Italy come to work in Poland and that our country is attractive to them from a labour market perspective.


    "I am convinced that our homeland can only gain from being part of a larger European homeland - Poland is also part of this European homeland," the head of Italian diplomacy said.


    He said that the fact that young Italians come to Poland is proof that its market is open, common, based on European standards and gives "excellent opportunities" to these young and talented people.


    "We can only be thankful for the opportunities offered to young Italians," stressed the minister. He added that his country also offers "such opportunities" to young people who come to Italy from Poland.


    “As far as ideological disputes over a multi-speed Europe are concerned, I am a pragmatist. The European Union consists of 27 countries, the euro zone, which not all EU members belong to. There is Schengen - not all member states belong to this zone however non-EU members are also members. There is also the OSCE, which in turn has more members than the European Union,” Alfano said.


    "We also have a system of agreements in Europe that is organized around the European Union, but also around other countries outside the Union, and we have to deal with that. And, on the other hand, we have to value the common pillars, the market, the security, the whole range of rights. These are pillars on which the future of the European Union should be built,” the head of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.


    Referring to the comments made, the head of Polish diplomacy told the representative of the Italian media that he was "touched".


    He said that Poland has been "praised for several years" - among others things for its development, for "the success of the NATO summit" as well as for securing a seat in the UN Security Council.


    "But I did not expect that after years of tough transformation I will hear a comment from an Italian journalist accusing his own minister that Poland is better off than his own country. This is a great achievement of our transformation efforts. Thanks a lot,” Waszczykowski said.


    Source: PAP




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