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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

President's speech at the NATO Defense College

  |   President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) President Andrzej Duda in Rome at the NATO Defence College (photo by: Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP)

I am truly delighted with this opportunity to share my thoughts on the Alliance’s future here in Rome, at the NATO Defense College, on the eve of the Warsaw Summit. Let me express my appreciation to the NDC authorities for the invitation and the kind words of introduction.

 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 

This year the NATO Defense College celebrates a double anniversary – 65 years since its inception and 50 years of its presence in Rome. Throughout all these years NDC has played an important role both in educating NATO civilian and military leaders, and in promoting cooperation, interoperability and unity among Allies.

 

It is a great privilege and pleasure to address people who on a daily basis contribute to the allied security by improving their skills and knowledge. I think that it would be highly inappropriate to lecture you on strategic, operational, logistic or any other aspects of purely military nature. After all, you know a lot more about this stuff than myself. Therefore, let me share with some thoughts about security in NATO`s territory from the perspective of a politician.

 

Europe is facing a radical change in the international security environment, both in its Eastern and Southern neighborhood. The annexation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine have undermined the foundations of European security, that is: respect for international law, internal sovereignty and territorial integrity. Simultaneously, instability in North Africa and the Middle East results in growing terrorist threats and generates a continuous flow of migrants into Europe. These threats and challenges remind us that we need to stay strong and united to preserve our security, our values and our way of living.

 

In this spirit, the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw needs to send a clear and loud signal of our cohesion, political will and ability to defend our freedom and to promote stability. There is one Alliance and equal security for all its members is a must. However, as Allies, we also bear major responsibility for shaping security outside our borders.

 

This is why the NATO Summit in Warsaw must have a universal agenda, offering response to the full spectrum of challenges to the allied security, no matter which direction they are coming from. Three aspects of the comprehensive Warsaw Summit agenda seem to be critically important to me.

 

First, we have to ensure an absolute credibility of defense and deterrence. This is the bedrock of NATO and an indispensable foundation for any other activities undertaken by the Alliance.

 

Second, we should remain open for dialogue even with those, who do not share our values. While today a truly constructive engagement with such countries might be hard to achieve, we should still be striving for a more predictable coexistence with all European states.

 

Third, we need to advance our open door and partnerships policy. Since the end of the Cold War NATO’s outreach has been a real success story. We should keep the momentum and further develop cooperative arrangements with all partners willing to work with us.

      
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 

NATO must be able to fully implement the well known concept of the indivisibility of Allied security.  In order to do so, we need to strengthen the defense and deterrence of the Alliance.

 

At the 2014 Wales Summit we decided to bolster NATO`s readiness and responsiveness. In Warsaw we should continue with this process, but we also need to take a step forward. We need to establish an enhanced forward presence of NATO troops and defense infrastructure on the Eastern Flank. Let me be very open about it: given the current security situation, it is only through a real presence that we are able to guarantee real defense and deterrence.

 

I hope that solutions worked-out in Warsaw on that matter will be both militarily effective and politically acceptable for all Allies. And let me stress that in this endeavor Poland is not merely a recipient, but also a provider of capabilities aimed at strengthening NATO`s Eastern Flank.We have fulfilled the Wales Pledge with a defense spending of 2% of our GDP. Currently we’re pursuing the modernization of our Armed Forces. We are actively participating in the Assurance measures in the Baltic States including Baltic Air Policing mission.

 

It is also crucial for NATO to keep up and develop a full spectrum of measures to tackle complex challenges from the South. This should include adjusting NATO capabilities to deter non-state actors but also continuing our engagement in crisis response operations, such as the one currently conducted in the Aegean See. Poland fully recognizes how serious these challenges are.

 

Finally, at the Warsaw Summit we need to declare our readiness to increase defense spending. This is a sign of the Alliance’s credibility. Without adequate resources, we will simply not deliver, neither on deterrence nor on defense.

 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We do not intend to isolate Russia. We have no interest in coming back to the Cold War. The balance of fear is not a good recipe for shaping contemporary international relations.

 

We need a focused dialogue to reduce the risk of miscalculation, to avoid conflicts and to increase predictability in our relations. But the nature and scope of NATO-Russia dialogue should in no way undermine NATO’s deterrence and collective defense arrangements. We need to bear in mind that in order to have a constructive engagement, this dialogue must be based on the principle of international law and respect for territorial integrity of all states. Otherwise, the dialogue will simply boil down to an empty word.

 

I very much hope that at the Warsaw Summit we will be able to agree on such a pragmatic approach. An approach based on a sober analysis rather than on over-optimistic illusions. With the latter ones so often interpreted as a sign of weakness  in the history of Europe, and hence provoking an aggression.

 

The Warsaw Summit should also open a new chapter in relations with our partners. Both those willing and able to act with us, as well as those who need our assistance in building resilience against threats and challenges in our Eastern and Southern neighborhood.

 

Montenegro’s accession to NATO is going to be a visible proof that the door to our Alliance does remain open. It is an important factor contributing to stability of the whole Western Balkans and the aspirant countries from other regions.

 

I believe that in Warsaw we will manage to adopt a comprehensive defense support package for Ukraine and will further strengthen our relations with Georgia and Moldova. On the other hand, we need to better connect with partners from North Africa and the Middle East. Defense Capacity Initiative offers new opportunities in this regard, which should be fully exploited by all Allies, including Poland. I am sure that the southern dimension of Alliance`s cooperative security efforts will be adequately addressed at the Warsaw Summit.

 

Obviously, from the Polish perspective, the Northern partners, namely Finland and Sweden, are of special importance. They have been with us in all NATO-led missions and operations. They constitute an integral, indispensable part of European Defense within the European Union. To my mind, it is in the best interest of the Alliance to develop special, tailored relations with them. The upcoming Summit provides an opportunity to go down that path.

 

For the last decades we’ve managed to establish a strong and firm transatlantic bond within the Alliance. No doubt that the extraordinary engagement and commitment of the United States of America is crucial for European security. However, in Warsaw we should also take note of a real progress in cooperation between NATO and the European Union. Not only because the Summit is scheduled just two weeks after the European Council. I strongly believe that NATO and the EU should work hand in hand in addressing security challenges such as the migration crisis, terrorism, hybrid threats, cyber defense or energy security. I am aware of political obstacles and deadlocks that have prevented us, for years, from fully exploiting the potential of the strategic partnership between our two organizations. Nevertheless, I believe that common sense will eventually prevail and hopefully, the Warsaw Summit will lay the foundation for such a change.

 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 

 

There are less than two months left to the Warsaw Summit. As Head of the host country, I’ve been visiting our Allies for a couple of months now to get acquainted with their perspectives and expectations. The discussions and meetings I`ve had, make me optimistic about the success of the Summit and its truly meaningful results. We just need to remember about the core principles of our Alliance. Having said it in Washington, I will also repeat it in Rome: We are strong and effective only when we act together and stand at each other’s side.

 

But I also know that Warsaw is not the end of the journey. It is just a stage, not the final destination on the path of NATO`s strategic adaptation. Defense and deterrence, dialogue, as well as NATO partnerships will continue to top our post-Summit agenda.

 

As I indicated at the outset of my speech, I am hopeful that the NATO Defense College will help us to shape and implement that agenda.

 

Thank you very much for your attention.       
 
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