Poland calls for enhanced cooperation between EU and NATO against a backdrop of Russian strengthening



WARSAW, Poland – Poland hopes that enhanced cooperation between the European Union and NATO, combined with a further expansion of the alliance, could spur a more robust approach to Moscow, according to senior Polish defense officials.

Speaking at the Warsaw Security Forum, an event organized by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation think tank, Polish President Andrzej Duda said on October 5 that closer ties between NATO and the EU are necessary to combat Russian military expansionism.

“We need a strong partnership between NATO and the European Union that ensures synergy between the two organizations,” Duda said. “Russia is expanding its military presence and endangering NATO not only from the east, but also from the north and south.”

Duda said the EU’s Strategic Compass, a strategy under development that should define the bloc’s security and defense policies, should be aligned with the policies of NATO’s strategic concept document.

The president’s remarks were echoed in the speech by PaweÅ‚ Soloch, head of Poland’s National Security Office.

“There is a continuous development of the military potential of the Russian Federation. On our side, this creates a need for further adaptation of NATO’s capabilities, also with the use of instruments held by the European Union, ”said Soloch. “Naturally, NATO has a much greater potential than Russia, but at the borders of the alliance, the forces accumulated by Russia give a tactical and, for a definite time, also operational advantage to this country.

From this perspective, Europe “needs to have a single strategy that merges the potential of NATO and the European Union”, he said.

Speaking in the presence of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who also took part in the forum, Soloch said that “NATO and the European Union must remain open to new members”.

In 2017, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law that restored NATO membership as a strategic objective of the country’s foreign and security policy. The move came about three years after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula in an attempt to undermine Kiev’s Western ambitions.

“The whole Russian policy towards NATO rests on the assumption that the presence of NATO itself is a provocation. Whatever we do, Russia will consider it a provocation. So their only question is, will you do something, or won’t you? said Kuleba.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a visit to Washington on October 5 that he had discussed options for increased support for Ukraine with US President Joe Biden. With real membership still in the future, alliance members could further strengthen Ukraine’s aspirations in the areas of security sector reform and anti-corruption, for example, Stoltenberg said.

Sebastian Sprenger in Washington contributed to this report.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Polish correspondent for Defense News.


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