For over half a century now, Europe has experienced an unprecedented period of peace. But it would be naïve to think that today’s world is without serious challenges. Aggressive imperialist Russian policy, political instability in the Middle East and international terrorism are just a few examples. These global threats must be answered with unity of purpose that drives decisive action – we need solidarity more than ever before.
Solidarity, properly understood as the resolution to promote the common good while maintaining mutual respect for individual members, threatens no one. A lasting solidarity not undermined by particular interests can only be built on a foundation of sovereign nations united around shared values. Recognizing this truth, Poland has been and will continue to be a champion of international solidarity.
This past February Poland and the United States, in the name of the global community, took on the task of organizing the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. Sixty-five international delegations gathered in Warsaw for open dialogue on pressing issues. We’re hopeful that the discussions will continue within the working group format in order to provide meaningful recommendations.
That Poland and the US, allies from across the Atlantic, hosted this historic event reflects how the community of values isn’t limited to one continent. America plays an essential role in Europe’s security, and while Poland supports initiatives such as PESCO, our focus will continue to be on the North Atlantic Alliance. As US Vice President Mike Pence reminded on the eve of the Ministerial in Warsaw, “To confront the threats that we face today, the people of Poland know, and the people of the United States know, that the free world needs the members of NATO to be strong and united.” There’s much to be said for NATO’s approach of “one for all and all for one” as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of NATO’s establishment and the 20th anniversary of Poland’s membership in the Alliance.
In this spirit Poland is consistently demonstrating its commitment to fair burden sharing as one of the few Alliance members who meet NATO guidelines for defense spending of 2% GDP and beyond. Given the importance of our trans-Atlantic cooperation, we also want to see an increased American military presence in our country.
America is a natural partner for Europe. For decades the US has been integral to European security, and the two are bound by deep political, economic and cultural ties. It’s in the best interests of both sides to uphold this unity, and any weakening of our partnership undermines the peace and prosperity of all European nations. Poland is for a united EU, strong NATO and an everlasting transatlantic bond.
This is why the absence of unity Europe has sometimes demonstrated in response to external threats should be treated with all seriousness. Nord Stream II is the best example of how lack of unanimous condemnation of Russia’s dangerous and damaging project has put some European countries in a hazardous position.
Threats from outside the EU remind us that Europe doesn’t exist in a bubble and that in today’s world challenges as well as opportunities are global. Situated at a geopolitical juncture, Poland has a unique role in building the international community. Our experience proves that solidarity is strength. We can’t forget this as we take on the challenges of today and those that still lie ahead.