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Friday, 26 May 2017

President Andrzej Duda: CE in favour of EU, NATO open-door policy

  |   - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda - Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security - said President Andrzej Duda


Pres. Duda's address at the GLOBSEC 2017
Forum in Bratislava (full text)
Honourable Mr. President, Honourable Madam President, Dear Friends, Eminent Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen! I am grateful for this invitation and the opportunity to address the GLOBSEC 2017 Forum here in Bratislava.  


Organised for over a decade now, this extremely important event now gathers politicians, diplomats and international affairs experts from entire Europe and the world. This meeting and its debates have become a tradition. Today, in addressing the key contemporary issues of security and stability, I wish to focus on the global position of our part of the world, Central Europe.

Eminent Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


The value of cooperation in this region, our region lying between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas, has doubtless been rising steadily since we threw off the yoke of communist enslavement, since we again became fully independent countries, since we are a part of the Western world. In my belief, this growth contributes fruitfully to building global peace, political trust and economic stability. In practice this is especially visible in two cooperation formulas existing between the countries of Central Europe, including my country, Poland, and to which I personally have given great weight since the onset of my presidency.


The first formula involves cooperation within the North Atlantic Alliance, NATO, between a group of eastern flank countries known as the Bucharest Nine, the second is cooperation in development and cohesion on the EU platform, which has taken the shape of the Three Seas initiative. Here I would like to strongly stress that Poland wants to be a keystone and active participant of both of these regional cooperation formats within the two basic Euro-Atlantic organisations - the European Union and NATO.


Poland sees this as a strategic task of international policy, but at the same time a logical consequence of its EU and NATO membership. Poland wants to co-build the Euro-Atlantic community through regional community. For Poland, Central Europe is a natural political environment. Thus we want it to be secure, coherent and economically dynamic.


At the same time, Poland strongly wants NATO as well as the EU to remain a unity. Just as security is indivisible within NATO, also the development of Europe has sense only if it remains an entity.


As I said at the security conference in Munich "if the West is to be strong, then it will be strong only thanks to its unity, if it is to collapse it shall fall divided". Poland also wants the Euro-Atlantic community to remain, thanks to our region's contribution, a community open to new countries.

Being an advocate of the EU's and NATO’s „open door" policy is a very import task for Central Europe. It is in the best interest of our part of Europe not to become a permanent border region, but to expand Euro-Atlantic ties eastwards and southwards. This is why we argue for the expansion of stability. Last year's NATO summit in Warsaw was a vital step towards achieving our goals.


At the time, we made breakthrough decisions on strengthening of the entire NATO alliance's defence capabilities, and its further adjustment to 21st century challenges. In our decisions we were guided by the so called 360-degree principle. It means the indivisibility of security in the NATO countries. Its assurance should be the priority of all NATO members regardless of their geographical location. The Central-European countries have shown they learnt this important rule of building world peace.


Before the NATO summit, Poland together with Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, decided to consolidate cooperation within the "Bucharest Nine." Despite differences in national security concepts, we agreed on several fundamental defence policy issues.


Among them, the conviction about the indispensability of strengthening NATO's eastern flank through the deployment of the NATO countries' battalion groups in the Baltic Sea region within the enhanced forward presence, and raising NATO military presence in Central and East Europe and in the Black Sea region within the so called tailored forward presence. Thus as a region we have offered solidary answers to the question how to best ensure European peace and order.


However, this kind of solidarity would not exist without a sense of responsibility among the Central European countries. As reliable members of NATO and the European Union, we share the responsibility for global and European security.


We want to improve it basing on the expansion of non-aggressive deterrence and defence capabilities. We pursue this approach by, for instance, comprehensively modernising our own armies. We are increasing our defense expenditures, upgrading our military equipment, and expanding our territorial defence forces. In this way, Central Europe is trying to maximise security guarantees, optimise the military potential of its own armies and, naturally, minimise threats.


An important aspect of the message coming from Central Europe is that the region emphasises the importance of the international law towards which the respect we regard as a beacon in all international activities. For this reason, we are consistently calling for the cessation of aggression and for a peaceful resolution of all conflicts. We strongly oppose armed aggression. We are engaged in a global coalition against terrorism and the Islamic State. In the most conflict-ridden parts of the world we provide necessary humanitarian aid and training assistance.


Central Europe is not only a recipient, but – let me accentuate it – also a provider of security. Our region addresses this issue in a comprehensive manner. We do not limit ourselves to investing in the expansion of land, air and sea forces. Each country in the region participates in the development of missile defence systems. We are developing capabilities for the cybernetic protection of our states. We are counteracting hybrid threats, including disinformation. Our comprehensive approach to security is also evident in our activities as part of NATO whose centres of excellence are functioning effectively in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Poland. Their main task is to better prepare the Alliance in areas such as security services, crisis management, strategic communication and energy security.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Eminent Guests,


We are all aware of the close correlation between our countries' security levels and the pace of their economic growth. Peace cannot be lastingly guaranteed without a well-functioning market. On the other hand, economic progress will certainly be halted when confronted by a realistic military threat.


The pace of economic growth depends on many factors, one of the most important of which is the accepted development model. In recent years we could see which markets proved most resilient to the crisis and slowdown in global and European economy. This was a time when the rationality of fundamental economic principles was put to a global test.


Central Europe passed this test. The countries located between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black seas showed resilience, stability and economic energy. Our countries successfully cut their budget deficit and public debt, and lowered their unemployment rate.


We remain a region that draws investment, in which enterprisers from Western Europe, Asia and America pursue their business with success. In recent times, alongside a marked rise in our mutual trade, we have also deepened economic ties with the western part of the Old Continent. Thanks to instruments like the European Union's cohesion funding we have moved closer to the high living standards of Western and Northern Europe.

This impressive transformation would not have been possible without the huge potential which distinguishes Central Europe. We know how to - and, I believe, we want to - make use of a number of assets our region possesses.


This is a catalogue of advantages which are decisive for our countries' rising economic position. Central Europe owes its place on the global economic map to its characteristic features - the geographic and cultural closeness of its countries, high discipline in public finances, and our societies' industriousness along with high skills. However, the modernisation of our economic systems is still an open process.


In view of the above I decided to make the Three Seas Initiative one of the priorities of my presidency. At this point I wish to stress very strongly that the initiative, which I have been overseeing from the very outset with the here-present Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, is not so much political as infrastructural and economic in character.

Ladies and Gentlemen,


We have established the Three Seas Initiative with the aim of creating an informal cooperation platform between Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria. Our priority is to build infrastructural and economic cohesion on the North-South axis. This will complement the already advanced East-West relations and reinforce the positive effects of our EU membership.

This way, we want to be not just a beneficiary, but first of all a co-author of European unity. Unity expressed in a dense network of roads, railways, air connections and energy links. The success of the Three Seas Initiative will ensure the positive functioning of the European market and is to raise our region's credibility not only in the eyes of our European partners, but also globally. These issues will be debated at the upcoming second Three Seas Initiative Summit in Wroclaw this July.


We want the Three Seas to bear fruit in the form of raised innovativeness in our economies and societies. The pursuit of such ambitious goals requires continued cooperation between the Three Seas countries. This initiative is directed to many addressees - business circles, experts, local government, and state enterprise. This openness to different milieus is the DNA code of the Three Seas Initiative.

Eminent Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


I notice a meaningful similarity between today's security talks here in Bratislava and Poland's July meeting, during which we will discuss economic growth. Regardless of which regionally crucial issues we take up, we are bound by the belief that a secure and subjective Central Europe is a significant stability and growth factor in the Euro-Atlantic world.


Therefore, I once again convey my thanks for inviting me to the GLOBSEC conference, and would like to direct your attention to the July Three Seas Initiative Summit in Wroclaw. We will therein be able to continue the debates initiated today, tjhe debates on the dynamic Central-European community, a community of aspirations and ambitions. (PAP)


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