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Monday, 14 June 2021

Statement by the President at the meeting with the media

Meeting of the President of the Republic of Poland with the media [Photo Wojciech Król]

Good afternoon,

 

A very warm welcome to you at the media briefing following the closing of the NATO Summit.

 

First of all, I would like to say that I am very pleased  that this Summit has taken place and I thanked the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance on that account: that it has taken place the way we used to hold NATO summits all those years. It is an honour and great pleasure to represent Poland here in the North Atlantic Alliance. It is gratifying that we have met directly. The fact that we have been talking with each other has also shown all our fellow citizens that international politics, too, is returning to normal after the coronavirus pandemic. I have made this point, by the way, in the first words of my speech today.

 

See also: President at the NATO Summit in Brussels In my opinion, the Summit has been a very good one, especially from our Polish vantage point. The matters that concern us directly have been thoroughly discussed: that is, security along the Eastern flank, the importance and weight of Article 5 being de facto the central article of the North Atlantic Treaty, that is, collective defence. Potential threats have been discussed at length, let me be straightforward about it, they have featured importantly in the vast majority of speeches, including that made by President Joe Biden.

 

Unfortunately, the threat from Russia, represented by its various aggressive behaviours, by its aggression against Ukraine, continues to be present, and this is one of the greatest challenges of today in the geopolitical sphere in general, and obviously especially for our part of Europe.

 

We have also discussed a very important document adopted today – concerning the future challenges for the North Atlantic Alliance. This document is called "NATO 2030." Works on it have been ongoing since the NATO Summit in London. I can note with some satisfaction that our representative, Minister Anna Fotyga, participated in the work on this document developed by the group of experts.

 

The document has identified the most important issues, namely the future of the North Atlantic Alliance and the future policy to be pursued by NATO. So we should be expecting growing engagement in the functioning of NATO on the part of its member states.

 

Moreover, we can also expect the Alliance's higher profile in our part of the world, in our part of Europe. Of course, this also has a bearing on the matters we have been discussing for years, namely an increase in member states’ defence spending : this point is also reiterated.

 

Then, preparation of a new strategy for the North Atlantic Alliance has been announced. Of course, the North Atlantic Alliance  has a strategy dating from 2010 which is still being implemented,. The assumption is that by next year, before the Summit to be held in Madrid in 2022, a new strategic concept will be developed, and we hope that it will be adopted in Madrid. So this is the task for the very near future.

 

These are the major issues that have come under discussion today in our meeting. As I have pointed out before, these are the issues that have been addressed eventually by all the heads of state and government taking the floor today. And all participants from all member states have taken the floor.

 

So one can say that the key message the NATO members are unanimously sending out to the world today is absolutely clear: security, security, and security again. Above all, security for our citizens, above all, our collective security.

 

As I have noted before: a very strong emphasis laid by President Joe Biden on the importance of Article 5 and the responsibility of the United States for global security, something for which I thanked the President in my speech. And from our Polish point of view this has been an absolutely vital issue.

 

All the more so because, in the earlier conversation that I had with President Joe Biden the President made it very clear that our security - the security of Central and Eastern Europe, of Poland, of the countries that have been accepted to be NATO members, having emerged from behind the Iron Curtain - is very important to him. As he observed, he was once the architect of the admission of these countries to NATO, and he himself worked to make sure these countries are accepted. So the sense of security among their citizens today and the sense of security of those countries as members of the Alliance is very much in his heart, undoubtedly a very good news from our point of view.

 

We also spoke with President Joe Biden about deterrence, and about military cooperation between Poland and the United States. We also talked about what concerns our neighbour, Russia. We expect to get some information from the American side following the conversation with President Putin - this was initially signalled.

 

Apart from that, I have had a whole series of bilateral meetings - more and less formal, because that is how things work at such meetings, where there are so many leaders present: it is an opportunity to talk with colleagues in an organized format, but also in a less organized format, more informally: simply stepping aside, stopping by to address the most important issues.

 

And I had a whole range of subjects prepared for discussion, so I have addressed with President Emmanuel Macron the prospects of furthering Polish-French cooperation - economic, military, energy cooperation, since these are currently the most relevant priority topics for us.

 

I have spoken with UK Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Boris Johnson, about cooperation, primarily economic, but also military. But I have also spoken with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia. Indeed, there has been a whole series of talks today.

 

For me, the problem of our gas pipeline: the Baltic Pipe, now under construction, is also important - so I have addressed this with Madam Prime Minister of Norway and also with the Prime Minister of Denmark. I have its success at heart, so I asked them for their political support on that count. I pointed to the fact that this investment is the one we care a lot about;, we would like it to be implemented efficiently.

 

I also have spoken briefly with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about supporting Ukraine. Canada’s commitment to helping Ukraine is universally known.  I assured the Prime Minister that we also support Ukraine and that they are not left alone in the difficult situation in relation to Russia.

 

So there have been many, many talks today - mostly, on issues related to military security - there has been a whole series of them. I am very satisfied with the course of this Summit, with all the meetings that have taken place today.

 

I can say that it has all run in a very good atmosphere. Evidently everyone was eager to meet and talk. As a matter of fact, there have been many discussions in the lobbies today. I would even go as far as to say there were more talks than ever:  everyone was much more disposed to talk.

Obviously, we have also had exchanges about our struggle with the coronavirus pandemic: what the state of play in our respective countries is, what the fight with pandemic looks like. There are many indications that the struggle with the pandemic is moving ahead, hopefully to its victorious end.

 

So these have been the most important issues that we discussed today. As I have noted: an intense day. As you could see, the plenary sessions themselves also lasted quite a long time. But I don't think there was a single leader who - using the time allocated to them, and everyone had theoretically three minutes to speak - would not prolong their speech by at least two or three minutes, and sometimes longer. As a result, everything has been delayed.

 

It has been an important and much-awaited Summit, where everyone stressed the resilience of the Alliance, very much needed as it is; and also the need for a certain reopening: having taken stock of the reality at hand, also bearing in mind what we have all experienced: the coronavirus pandemic, this unheard-of turbulence in our social and political life. The need for a fresh look has been pointed out..

 

Hence, the challenges identified for NATO in the future - "NATO 2030" - have a very symbolic dimension in this context. I am convinced that intensive works will continue to address them.

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