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  • 14 July 2016

    “NATO Summit in Warsaw was Poland's huge success; this event will go down in history,” Prime Minister Beata Szydło claims.

    Head of the Ministry of National Defence, Antoni Macierewicz, declared that the government will strive for spending on defence to amount to at least 3 per cent of GDP.On Monday, Prime Minister Beata Szydło and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Witold Waszczykowski, of National Defence, Antoni Macierewicz, and of the Interior and Administration, Mariusz Błaszczyk, during a special press conference summed up the NATO Summit, which was held in Warsaw on Friday and Saturday.


    “The most important thing that we should all repeat, should be proud of, should boast of, talk about all the time is that the NATO Summit in Warsaw was Poland's huge success. This is a great success of Poland, this is an event that will go down in history as the Summit which drew a new map of global security, strengthened security of Poland,” emphasised the head of the government.


    According to the Prime Minister, today Poland should be proud, because NATO came out strengthened of the Summit in Warsaw. “It was a Summit which strengthened the NATO's organisation,” the head of the government stressed. As she assessed, “we will have a real presence of NATO in Poland.” “All the assumptions which we adopted as strategic ones for our country before the Summit have been met,” the Prime Minister said.




    As she noted, the Summit was also a huge organisational success. “Many participants of the meeting in Warsaw acknowledged that no NATO Summit has been so well prepared,” she added.


    Prime Minister Szydło noticed that thousands of people were involved in this project. “Many services, many ministries which have been working for months so that the NATO Summit in Warsaw went without difficulties, ran safely, efficiently in terms of organisation,” she said.


    According to Minister Antoni Macierewicz, from the point of view of the Polish raison d'état and the history of Poland, the NATO Summit “is an event anticipated by generations of Poles probably from the outbreak of World War II, wishing that we could finally be safe, that in Poland we could decided on our own what armies will defend us, and what allies we do not wish to have.”


    “From the point of view of NATO, it is a reorientation of the existing structure and the current effort of this great, almost billion-person community which focused on defending the eastern and southern flank,” the head of the MND added. As he assessed, there would be no success of the Summit, if Poland did not emphasise that although the threat from the east is the most important for us, we understand and will participate in the effort to defend the southern flank.


    According to the Minister, the NATO countries “come from this Summit strengthened, and not divided or satisfied with only a short-term compromise.”


    Minister Macierewicz pointed out that the command of the American heavy brigade, which is to be stationed in Europe rotationally, “will be located in Poland.” He added that the brigade will also be stationed in Poland, although its battalions will be deployed in other countries as well.


    The head of the MND said that NATO's battle group (which will be composed of four battalions deployed in Poland and Baltic countries – PAP) will not only have command in Poland, but will be built on the basis of one of the divisions of the Polish army and will be in command of all battalion groups – from Estonia to the south of our borders.


    Minister Macierewicz stressed that the decision to locate “permanent warehouses of weapons” in the region, the construction of which is to be financed from the common budget, has also been taken.


    “It could have been otherwise,” he emphasised. In his opinion, “actions of various countries aimed to belittle the Russian threat could really have been effective.” And this line was supported by politicians in Europe, including in Poland, who – as the Minister said – “wanted to settle for the training and immediate way of reaction on the eastern flank.” “If it happened differently, it is because the political configuration in Poland has changed,” he emphasised.


    Minister of the Interior and Administration, Mariusz Błaszczyk, pointed out that due to the joint work of the services the NATO Summit in Warsaw went safely. The Minister stressed that the experience acquired during the organisation of the NATO Summit will be used during the World Youth Day.


    Minister Macierewicz added that during the Summit the system monitoring the security of the entire area was used. He also announced that the security system which proved itself during the NATO Summit will be used during the WYD. “I have in mind the system patrolling, monitoring and supervising from the air – at a height of 3 thousand meters over the protected area – the whole territory,” he said.


    In turn, Minister Waszczykowski noted that only after the decision of the NATO Summit in Warsaw it can be said that Poland is obtaining real allied guarantees. “Only today we can say that we are obtaining real allied guarantees by deployment of allied forces, which will be a symbol of determination and deterrence, a symbol of security of Poland and other countries making up the eastern flank,” he stressed.


    At the conference Prime Minister Szydło was asked about the statement of the USA President Barack Obama who, after the meeting with President Andrzej Duda, spoke, among others, about the situation centred on the Constitutional Tribunal. When asked to interpret his words the Prime Minister said: “Poles do not pay me to interpret, but to govern and that is what I am going to do.” “The NATO Summit was Poland's success and it is the most important thing that we need to emphasise today,” she declared. “Due to the NATO Summit Poland will be safer and – I hope – the world will be safer. And above all, I suggest that we focus on this when speaking of the NATO Summit,” she added.


    The Prime Minister and ministers were also asked about the reaction of the Russian MFA to the decisions of the NATO Summit.


    “Russian Propaganda was active before the Summit, during the Summit and, as you can see, it is also active after the Summit,” stressed the head of the government. As she added, the decision on strengthening the eastern flank was taken “due to the fact that Russia is a country currently pursuing a very aggressive policy.”


    Minister Waszczykowski noted that NATO's communiqué assessed Russia's behaviour as “aggressive and confrontational; behaviour which aims to change the security architecture through force.”


    “The decisions of NATO are the answer to this policy. We expect that Russia will go through some reflection, that its behaviour towards Georgia, Ukraine, confrontational behaviour on the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, all kinds of incidents, aggressive exercises conducted for years, even with a simulated nuclear attack against our countries will be abandoned,” said the head of diplomacy.


    He emphasised that NATO's response to these actions is “defensive movement which does not assume any offensive actions against Russia.” “NATO responds with the smallest possible military response, which shows determination to defence, but does not give any reason for the Russians to think that any offensive action against Russia is behind this,” said the head of the MFA.


    According to Minister Macierewicz, it would be good if public opinion knew at least some of the messages which are brought on his desk and show how Russian armament in the Kaliningrad Oblast looks like, what troops are gathering in the area of the Smolensk Gate and what is the situation in the front in Donbas “where soldiers and civilians – women and children – die every day by the hands of the soldiers of the Russian Federation.”


    Journalists also asked about the statement of the Chairman of Law and Justice, Jarosław Kaczyński, who estimated that spending on defence should be higher than the current 2 per cent of GDP.


    “Mr Chairman rightly said... that in order to rebuild the army to such an extent so that it is capable of effective, independent defence of the Polish territory, at least 3 per cent (of GDP) of expenditure on the army is required. And we will aim for this in the implementation of social programmes which have been launched, and within the budgetary capabilities resulting from the new economic dynamics pursued by the government of Prime Minister Szydło, the government of Law and Justice,” Minister Macierewicz said.


    As he noted, the current budget is sufficient for the Polish army to consist of about 115 thousand, up to 120 thousand soldiers. “This is obviously too little. The minimum that should be, I hope, next year should be around 150 thousand soldiers. Will we be capable of such a great effort so quickly – I do not know, but I will pursue this aim,” the Minister of Defence added.


    At the same time he explained that most of the costs associated with the announced presence of NATO troops in Poland will be borne by the countries which send their troops here – both commanding the battalions (i.e. the member nations), and the remaining ones, as well as NATO. “In this regard, the Polish government will participate, but in the secondary scope,” he said.


    Minister Macierewicz talked about Polish participation in the battalions located in the eastern flank of NATO. The Minister declared that Polish soldiers will support Canada, which will command the rotating, multi-national combat group of NATO in Latvia, and Romania. When asked about the number of soldiers who could land in Latvia and Romania, he replied that it will be a company (i.e. approx. 100 soldiers – PAP).


    The Prime Minister reminded that currently expenditure on defence amount to 2 per cent of GDP; at the same time, she pointed out that it has not been calculated as so far, but with the method used by NATO. “Therefore, it will be approx. one billion zloty more,” she noted. “This decision has been made and this year this amount of funds was assigned, and will be, in a similar amount – 2 per cent – in next year's budget,” the head of the government added.


    She said she agrees that spending on defence should be increased and that it will certainly be gradually increased. “It will, of course, depend on the capabilities of the state budget. If we have faster growth, higher budget revenues, these capabilities will be much greater. Regardless, we will carry out this policy of increasing expenditure on defence,” Prime Minister Szydło said.


    The Prime Minister was also asked by journalists about the financial cost of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. “If we talk about the cost, first of all it must be said that safety is priceless and regardless of the amount of expenditure incurred, the fact that today Poland is safer, the Poles are safer, is priceless,” she said.


    On Friday, leaders of the NATO countries decided to strengthen the eastern flank of the Alliance through deployment of four battalions including approx. 1000 soldiers each in Poland and the Baltic countries. Strengthening of the presence in the south-eastern part of NATO was also confirmed, the preliminary operational readiness of the anti-missile shield was announced, and the cyberspace was recognised as a new sphere of operations.


    On Saturday, NATO confirmed support for Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity. It was also decided that the Alliance will make AWACS aircraft available to the coalition fighting against the so-called Islamic State and start a new mission in the Mediterranean Sea. NATO also decided to extend the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan after 2016.




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