Addressing a panel devoted to the future of defence cooperation, the minister said he agreed with opinions that "we, especially EU countries who are also NATO members, should increase our defence capabilities and raise spending." "We should improve our interoperability so that our armed forces can be more effective under NATO command," noted Czaputowicz.
He pointed out that Poland supports and will support the building of military synergy within the European part of the Alliance. However, he stipulated that the term "European strategic autonomy" may suggest the pursuit of self-sufficient forces ensuring global security independent of NATO.
"If we explain that this is not the case and that we want to create a synergy within NATO, that is fine. But if de facto we are starting to talk about forming a European army independently of NATO, we have a problem," said the Polish minister adding that "in order to prevent threats faced in Europe, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, we need American presence on European soil. This is very important," he argued.
The Polish minister also pointed out that with Brexit, the European Union is losing a country which has the second largest army in Europe, is a nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an ally which has a similar perception of the Russian threat. According to Czaputowicz, this is objective proof that Europe needs a transatlantic alliance.
"I would like to emphasise this: today we will not manage in Europe without strong transatlantic ties," stressed the Polish minister.
Czaputowicz also pointed out that Poland's perception of threat differs from that in Western European countries. "We feel threatened by our eastern neighbour, that is why we are ready to invest more in our security," said Czaputowicz, praising NATO's decisions taken in Newport and Warsaw which led to the rotational deployment of allied troops in Poland as part of the enhanced forward presence initiative. According to the minister, this is a manifestation of solidarity within NATO.
The Munich Security Conference, organised since 1963, is the largest event of this type in the world. The 55th conference is being attended by about 30 heads of state and government and around 90 ministers. (PAP)