Relations with London will remain strong after Brexit - Polish senator

2019-01-08, 17:32 update: 2019-01-11, 16:09
Photo: PAP/Adam Guz
Photo: PAP/Adam Guz
Polish government's international dialogue commissioner, Senator Anna Maria Anders said in the British parliament on Monday that the close relations between Poland and Great Britain will survive the planned exit of this country from the European Union.

The London-born minister argued that "Poland and the United Kingdom have a unique bond" and assured that "despite the fact that Britain may finally leave the EU, it will not leave Europe, and cooperation in defence and security within NATO will continue."

Anders noted that annual British-Polish intergovernmental consultations at the level of prime ministers and key ministers, as well as the Belvedere Forum for the dialogue between the civil societies of Poland and the UK are proof of the close cooperation between the two countries. 

During a broad discussion on security policy, the Polish senator said that she shares the criticism of the British Eurosceptics regarding the plans to create a European army within the European Union. She stressed that Poles are skeptical about this issue because in 1939 Europe did not help when Poland was invaded by Germany and hence Poland's current military dependence on the United States. She added that she is afraid the creation of a European army could harm the transatlantic alliance.

Anders also pointed to the growing understanding of Polish concerns about the threat from Russia. She observed that although Poland's warnings about such a threat were not taken too seriously by other countries before the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, today the situation is different with over 7,000 NATO soldiers stationed near the Russian border. She pointed out that Great Britain has 800 soldiers in Estonia and 150 in Poland. 

While discussing the importance of NATO for Poland, the international dialogue commissioner stressed the need to gradually increase defence spending, noting that Poland and the United Kingdom are among the only five countries of the alliance, which are fulfilling their commitment to spend at least 2 percent of GDP for this purpose.

Referring to the UK's exit from the EU, planned for March, the senator assured that the Polish government is "preparing for every option", having special concerns about the future of over one million Poles living in the UK and several thousand Britons living in Poland. At the same time, she expressed hope that the relations with London will remain strong. "The ties that have been developed over the years are difficult to break," she said.

The United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29 this year. (PAP)