Davos. Opening remarks for the discussion „NATO on the road to 2023 Vilnius Summit”
NATO should implement the new baseline for deterrence and defence as agreed in Madrid. It needs to take into account Russia’s increasing politico–military control over Belarus.
It is my pleasure to open a very important discussion here – in the Polish House in Davos. I am happy that this year our informal Polish representation hosts many events during which we can both promote Poland and Polish priorities but also to discuss the main challenges we are facing.
I hope that the topics raised during today's discussion on NATO's achievements and challenges will be continued soon in Vilnius, and that they will be turned into action.
One year after the Russian aggression against Ukraine, NATO member states are more united than ever, truly focused on NATO’s primary task of collective defence and persistent in their support to Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has proven that NATO members are reliable and loyal partners who do not give up their support despite crises. NATO is an irreplaceable element of ensuring security in Europe.
Last year NATO adopted its new Strategic Concept, in which all Allies agreed that ,,the Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies security and to peace and stability in the Euro–Atlantic area”. Now, on the road to the Vilnius Summit we should make sure that the Alliance is fully prepared to face this threat.
Nearly a year after the outbreak of the war, we still see new needs and challenges for us as member states, but also for NATO as a whole.
Three issues are particularly important in that context.
NATO should implement the new baseline for deterrence and defence as agreed in Madrid.
It needs to take into account Russia’s increasing politico–military control over Belarus. NATO–Belarus border needs to be protected the same way as NATO–Russia border. It is very important! Just to remind you about Lukashenko regime`s migration crisis on the Polish–Belarusian border shortly before the war. I have no doubts that Russia's attack on sovereign Ukraine has accelerated the need to strengthen NATO's external flank, located on the eastern borders of Central and Eastern European countries.
NATO should demonstrate that every nation in Europe has a sovereign right to choose its own security arrangements.
We need to finalize the accession of Finland and Sweden. I hope we will be able to welcome them as NATO members as soon as possible.
We also need to respond to Ukraine’s membership aspirations. Now it’s high time to give Kyiv answers on how the accession process should look and what steps are required to guarantee the desirable end result. The support for Ukraine needs to be continued.
NATO deterrence and defence should be appropriately resourced in the long term.
Therefore, we need to update NATO guidelines on defense spending. The goal of 2% of GDP was agreed in 2014, after the first Russian invasion of Ukraine and was supposed to be met by 2024.
This year Poland will spend more than 4% of its GDP on defence. This is an enormous effort taking into account the current economic situation in Europe and the efforts we are all undertaking to help Ukrainians. But I know that this is an investment in the future and safety of the whole region!
We must be prepared for a period of uncertainty in Europe.
There is no quick solution to the security crisis on the continent. Nor should we expect one in the nearest future. We should be ready to reject Russian false proposals regarding the peace negotiations, as they would only consolidate Russian territorial gains in Ukraine.
We must not allow Russia to have a sense of victory, as this would mean that its aggression pays off. The war has shown us how valuable cooperation and neighbourly assistance are. I am grateful to all of you who, from the first day of the war, have been involved in helping the Ukrainians.
I assure you that Poland will continue to help Ukraine as far as possible.
Once again thank you for this debate and I am looking forward to hearing your comments and remarks.