• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

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  • Poland has joined the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative within the EU but still has many doubts, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in Brussels on Monday. He did not rule out that Poland would give up this cooperation.

    Poland and 22 other EU countries informed on Monday that they would join PESCO. These countries accept specific commitments to strengthen their defence capabilities.

    "We will see how this experiment will work out. According to the Lisbon Treaty, we can always leave this cooperation if it is unsatisfactory for Poland,” Minister Waszczykowski told journalists in Brussels.

    Together with the accession notification the head of Polish diplomacy and Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz submitted a letter in which they stated that cooperation within the EU must not duplicate or rival NATO. Poland has pointed out that cooperation within PESCO must also cover threats from all directions, including threats to the Eastern Flank.

    "Europe already has an alliance, it is called NATO. The question is whether we really need to have a second defence structure in the EU, especially when NATO’s calls to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence systems are only fulfilled by five countries and only a few European countries, such as Poland,” Minister Waszczykowski said. 

    Increasing defence expenditure to about 2 per cent of GDP is one of the commitments made by the countries joining PESCO. The other commitment is spending 20 per cent of these funds on investments.

    Minister Waszczykowski noted that PESCO must contribute to the sustainable development of the defence industry of all EU countries. 

    “Several months ago at the European Council, the Prime Minister (Beata Szydło) managed to influence the Council's decisions, in that this enhanced defence industry cooperation will not only affect major corporations and defence companies but will also be open to small and medium-sized enterprises. If the conditions are conducive to the cooperation of our industry, we will participate in it,” Minister Waszczykowski said. 

    He added that the country’s leadership would strive to keep Poland’s armaments industry in Polish hands.

    "We, of course, think that the more defence in Europe, the better. So we do not protest, we are joining this institution, but under certain conditions: that it will not duplicate NATO’s work, that it will not be a race with the US, it will not rival the US defence industry, which sometimes produces things that Europe doesn’t,” Minister Waszczykowski said. 

    Constant structural cooperation in the area of defence has been provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon. It gives member states the opportunity to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in joint projects and prepare for participation in operations.

    Of the EU’s "28" the following countries decided not to join PESCO: the United Kingdom, which is leaving the EU, Denmark, which used the opt-out clause excluding it from EU military cooperation, as well as Ireland, Portugal and Malta.

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